WASHINGTON (AP) – It was another week at war in Afghanistan, another string of American casualties, and another collective shrug by a nation weary of a faraway conflict whose hallmark is its grinding inconclusiveness.
After nearly 11 years, many by now have grown numb to the sting of losing soldiers like Pfc. Shane W. Cantu of Corunna, Mich. He died of shrapnel wounds in the remoteness of eastern Afghanistan, not far from the getaway route that Osama bin Laden took when U.S. forces invaded after Sept. 11, 2001, and began America’s longest war.
Cantu was 10 back then.Nearly every day the Pentagon posts another formulaic death notice, each one brief and unadorned, revealing the barest of facts – name, age and military unit – but no words that might capture the meaning of the loss….
One measure of how far the war has receded into the background in America is the fact that it was not even mentioned by Mitt Romney in his speech last week accepting the Republican presidential nomination. President Barack Obama has pledged to end the main U.S. combat role in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but current plans call for some thousands of U.S. troops to remain long after that to train Afghans and hunt terrorists.