The war we forgot about

We are losing the war in Afghanistan, and nobody seems to notice.  As of Sept. 11  — the eighth anniversary of the tragedy that started the war — the Talibanremains a significant presence in 80 percent of the country.  This year was the deadliest year for the United States and its allies.  In fact, the last three years running have each been the deadliest, each year one-upping the last. If this information is new to you, I’m not surprised.   The conflict in Afghanistan has been receiving relatively little coverage compared to the health care debate and even pop culture news. America doesn’t want to hear about people dying in a war, especially not in a war we are currently losing.  People want to hear about Kanye West making a fool of himself at an awards show, or watch a 24-hour tribute to the life of Michael Jackson. I’m serious.  Between Sept.  13 and Sept. 16 of this year, 11 allied fatalities were reported in Afghanistan.  Seven of those fatalities were American soldiers.  What dominated the talk shows and news programs during those three days?  Kanye West’s display of egotistical stupidity did.   I don’t know about you, but I find that disturbing. According to the Media Research Center, a CBS evening news telecast in late June allotted 13 seconds of airtime to cover the deaths of seven American soldiers.  Can anyone guess what 13 minutes of the 22 minute news program were dedicated to? If you guessed Michael Jackson’s death, you are, quite disturbingly, correct.  It’s a sad day when seven men who gave their lives for our freedoms are overshadowed by a man who sang songs.  No one wants to hear about our young men and women fighting a war in the desert.  It’s depressing and it doesn’t draw high ratings.  But those young men and women — our fellow citizens — are dying.  In fact, 842 of them have died since the war began and 212 of those were this year alone.  They deserve our respect and the respect of the media.  If they hadn’t been out there in the desert holding those guns, you would’ve been.  It’s their sacrifice that keeps the students of UVM from being drafted. Maybe the recent call for troop increases will help put the spotlight back on Afghanistan, where it should be.  But the spotlight never should have strayed away in the first place.