Conflict & Justice

Soldier Complains War and Veterans' Issues Ignored in US Election Campaign

Three American soldiers were killed Monday in eastern Afghanistan.

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A man on a motorbike drove himself and his bomb into a joint US-Afghan patrol in the market area of the city of Khost.

Many Afghan soldiers and civilians were killed in the explosion as well.

US forces only resumed joint patrols last week.

Those patrols were suspended for a time because of the number of Afghan troops turning their guns on their allies.

It's a tough story and a tough issue.

But some veterans and current members of the military are concerned that, in this election year, the war in Afghanistan and other defense issues are being ignored.

Sergeant Jonathan Raab touches on that in his recent post for the New York Times "At War" blog.

Raab is currently deployed in Kuwait with the New York National Guard.

He's also a spokesman for the vets group, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Sgt. Raab talks about a horrible silence when it comes to the war, both on a personal level, as well as in the political arena.

"Most Americans," says Raab, "support the troops, which is great. But it means sometimes they're not asking the hard questions" about the war and American policy.

"After ten years of war, I'm not seeing a coherent policy."

Beside the war, Raab says, the number one defense issue that needs more attention is suicide.

Another key issue is unemployment among veterans, which is higher than people of the same age.

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    An Afghan policeman inspects the scene of the suicide bomb attack in Khost, Afghanistan. (Photo: REUTERS/Anwarullah)
  • Raab_WLC.jpg

    Sergeant Raab overseas. (Photo: Jonathan Raab)

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