Opinion

Juliette Kayyem

What about the veterans?

Mitt Romney

John Tlumacki / Globe Staff

Mitt Romney did not focus on veterans issues or troops in his acceptance speech Thursday.

Over the course of the last year, I have written a lot about veterans issues, and there are a lot of them. I have argued for the modernization of veteran’s services, why we need a parade for Iraq veterans, and have consistently highlighted the challenge of military suicides. I have worked with the military throughout my career in government and know that service members do not easily talk about their own concerns. With less than 1 percent of our population serving in an all-volunteer force, it's easy for most people to forget about the issues facing the over 2 million Americans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Even then, I was struck last night when Mitt Romney -- the Republican nominee for president, no less -- failed to even give a passing nod to veterans issues, nor even a thanks to the troops. We’ve accepted a collective amnesia about the wars. But the focus on domestic issues has not only silenced most national security discussions; it has also left service members by the wayside.

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This isn’t mere quibbling over what or wasn’t said. Everyone knows that politicians can be effusive, to the point of sounding a little phony, when talking about the military. Indeed, political conventions are supposed to be that way. What is remarkable is that there wasn’t even an attempt to act the part. Ironically, Romney’s acceptance speech occurred on the eve of the two-year anniversary of the end of our combat mission in Iraq.

I'll explore the reasons why this all may be so in my column for Monday.

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