About that Debate Last Night

Updated: October 17, 2012

By RU Contributor Mad Medic


If you’re like me, you like watching the news so that you don’t feel like a dumb ass when someone starts spouting off about this or that. I like to have the facts. So, you might understand, I actually like to know what the Commander in Chief, or potential Commander in Chief has to say. I was a soldier. The President of the United States was in my direct chain of command, so everything he says and does directly affected my whole world at one point in my life.

I hold great respect for the office. The men who have held it have not always been great, or even good, but at the end of the day, the office of the President is vested with the very best aspirations the people of the United States have to offer. Indeed all of the three major branches of government are deeply vested with the hopes, dreams, doubts and, fears of the American people. For that reason alone the men and women that run for office should always be squeaky clean, and should be the very picture of the virtues their electorate hold dear. They should also be very clear where they stand on issues, which is why debates are so important.

I liked the format of this debate. In fact I had written earlier on the Den that I would love a Thunder Dome style debate. I liked the candidates actually duking it out, uncensored, unfiltered and, unscripted. So we get some great points about the economy, energy policy, and you get to see the real differences between the candidates. I actually thought they might slug each other at one point. No doubt, Tim Kennedy would have appeared from somewhere to try to give tips so one or the other candidates so we could all see a decent submission.

Foreign policy, however, took almost an hour to get to. When we finally get to Libya, which most Americans were pissed beyond measure about. . . We got about 4 minutes of back and forth and then moved onto. . . the importance of women’s issues. Look, ladies, I get that what’s going on between your legs is important, and you’re passionate about it, but when you compare the struggles of American women to women of say Pakistan. . . There’s really no contest. Somehow we seem to be forgetting, people died in Libya.

This is the first time a US ambassador has been killed since 1979 when Adolph Dubs the ambassador to Afghanistan was kidnapped and killed (the post wasn‘t filled till 2002). In all there have only been 7 sitting ambassadors assassinated. This is, as Joe Biden put it, “a big fucking deal”. It’s about the point in the debate that I started to get pissed (read my tweets).

Something was missing. Did anyone else notice it? Something glaring. Something huge. Something that smells like shit, looks like hell, and has sucked up money and lives for the last 11 years? Hey kiddies, remember Afghanistan? Oh yeah! That place somewhere in the Middle East? The one where insider attacks and new strategies by the Taliban and affiliated groups have put the whole campaign in jeopardy? Yeah that’s the one!

I counted one mention, and that was by the President, at the END of the debate. That mention was pretty much just thanking the troops in Asscrackistan. I mean we had literally 90 minutes of two prospective Presidents duking it out and the word Afghanistan was said one time? I mean at least mention it.

It really saddens me that we can talk all day about energy, taxes, and whose trust fund is investing where, but when our Soldiers are in an honest to God war, there is silence. I haven’t personally been to Afghanistan, I went to Iraq, but I think like everyone else whose ever served a day in uniform, win lose or draw, I want the death of every service member, to be recognized and more importantly remembered.

It’s now October 16th 2012. The war began on October 7th 2001. That’s 11 years 1 week and 2 days for anyone who is counting. Anyone else think that maybe, we ought to be talking about this nonstop? Even Vietnam, which took the lives of 58,000 of our Brothers and Sisters, and was the most divisive issue in our country’s history, didn’t last that long. The Commander in Chief has direct responsibility for the conduct of the war. This is one of the major parts of Article II if you ever actually bother to read the Constitution. So why, why, WHY, wasn’t Afghanistan a centerpiece of every presidential debate?

I’m not going to tell you who I’m voting for. I am voting. I suggest you do to. Don’t take this as a stump piece for either one of the candidates. I am just tired of the American people forgetting that we’re still at war. I am tired of the people who are leading us, constantly jerking the troops around, using us as a center piece for rousing speeches, and touting OPSEC for the purposes of scoring a few political points. Both sides are guilty. Both sides should know better. Joe Biden’s son went to Iraq. So did Sarah Palin’s. Pretty much everyone that reads the Rhino Den has either been, is, is about to go, or knows someone “Over There”.

We owe it to the men and women in Walter Reed, Bethesda, BAMC, Tripler, and all the various Warrior Transition Battalions with major and minor wounds from the war. There are literally hundreds of thousands of veterans out there suffering from post-traumatic stress. The back log of the VA is getting longer and longer. The veteran unemployment rate is about twice as high as the national average. The VA is averaging at least 6 weeks behind paying the Post 9-11 GI Bill. None of these things were mentioned.

There is one more debate, a foreign policy debate. Hopefully there will be at least some mention of the troops, the struggles we have post career and, hey, maybe that war thing that isn’t going so well. I don’t care if President Obama has some new super duper plan, or if it’s just cut and run, I want to hear it and his rationale. If Mitt Romney is going to be the President, I want to hear what he has to say about being a war time President. I want to know he has the chops to make the hard calls.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your vote is your voice, it has power. If you’re a service member, that’s really the only time you can make your voice heard on policy issues. Use it wisely, and make sure that the team you vote for is going to do what’s right for the country. I would say this for every Presidential election. I would say this for every Representative, and Senator, and Governor, really every political office. Don’t just check the box that says D or R. Know the candidate, and make sure they’re worthy of the office they’re seeking!




  1. Zack

    October 17, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Thank you sir. No partisan politics and holding both candidates to the same standard. Seems to be rare on political discussions this election season.

  2. Brian

    October 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Well said Doc. I believe that military service should be a requirement for the office of the president of the united states. If you are goin to send troops into games way you should at least know what the game is about.

  3. Anthony Snow

    October 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Mad Medic, you are the shining beacon right now for Post Debate Response. THIS is what we need. Equal standing for both, expect the same, give the same, and deny the same. THAT is Bipartisan.

  4. Ben

    October 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    Great points. Would be interesting to look back at war-time elections in the country’s history and see how much the candidates made the conflict a centerpiece. The government has let the war go on for so long and the media have let it fall into the background so much so that the citizenry are ‘normalized’ to it. We are now a society trained/numbed into not caring what happens to our volunteer military instead calling for decisive actions and resolution (obviously those who serve or are family/close friends with those who serve are in a different place, this numbness is just a general qualitative assessment of the population at large).
    Worse still, if this continues we may be even less inclined to raise issue if the government picks a fight elsewhere when a constant state of ‘background war’ has become the new normal. Tragic, costly in lives and money, and a dangerous apathetic mentality to permit to continue. Its an elephant in the room and they both avoided it. disappointed

  5. Gunship Load

    October 18, 2012 at 10:09 am


    While the debate was pretty much a waste of my life, it was at least entertaining for a little while. I already know who I am voting for, so for me what they have to say is more political mumbo-jumbo and lies. “I didn’t say that.” “I’ll do this…” Blah Blah fucking BLAH!

    I don’t trust either one of them. I don’t like either one of them. But I am at least going to vote.

    The non-mention of Afghanistan and all of those who have been there, most of us multiple times, is just par for the course now. It doesn’t surprise me that it wasn’t mentioned. The questions were from the audience of undecided voters.

    The audience didn’t, and probably still doesn’t, care about those of us who have been, served, sacrificed. They only want to know how their lives are going to be better. I get it, shit, I want to know how my life is going to get better too. Oh wait, I know how it will get better… hard work and sacrifice. Damn shame those asking the questions didn’t seem to have much of a clue about that.

    I have heard multiple stories of how families, neighbors and whole communities would sit and watch the evening news during VietNam. Hoping for just a glance of their loved one, their neighbor, or maybe a young man that they once taught in grade school. I have NEVER heard of that for today’s Afghanistan, or yesterday’s Iraq, and am pretty damn sure that we won’t hear about it for tomorrow’s location “X”.

    I’m sorry, but anymore I feel that the majority of American public no longer cares about those things we do. They are to overpowered with the bullshit that runs their lives such as the Kartrashians, and Honey Boo Boo.

  6. Jane Chapin

    October 18, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Very well said. I certainly hope Afghanistan is more than a sound bite in the foreign policy debate. We just had another casualty locally here in St Pete, FL – a female soldier who was killed by “friendlies” who are now turning on us. Why this is not page one I don’t know. She is the only “war on women” I give a shit about!

  7. Mike Mc

    October 18, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    VietNam officially began in 1959 when President Eisenhower sent advisors to that country. Our involvement ended in 1973 when we cut and ran to “peace with honor”. 14 years total. Of course the RVN fell in 1975 after dems refused to honor our committment of air support if the north invaded. I sincerely hope senator kennedy enjoys hell; he has been sober for 3 years now.

  8. Patty Crack N' Pack

    October 19, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Now that you mention it, you’re right. I never heard anyone bring up Afghanistan and I think, quite frankly, that a lot of people have forgotten we even have troops there. Hell, my buddy’s headed over there and when he told his girlfriend, her response was “we still have soldiers there?”

  9. Hogan

    October 23, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Ok…here goes. I agree BIG TIME with this quote from the above. “…but at the end of the day, the office of the President is vested with the very best aspirations the people of the United States have to offer. Indeed all of the three major branches of government are deeply vested with the hopes, dreams, doubts and, fears of the American people. For that reason alone the men and women that run for office should always be squeaky clean, and should be the very picture of the virtues their electorate hold dear. They should also be very clear where they stand on issues, which is why debates are so important.” Afghanistan? The phrase that catches and ‘disturbs’ me is this. America is NOT at war. The United States Marine Corps (and all the rest) is at war. America is at The Mall…How can one be an honest citizen of this Republic and be so disengaged just baffles me.

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