So where does Romney stand on Afghanistan? “I will speak with our generals in the field, and receive the best recommendation of our military commanders. The force level necessary to secure our gains and complete our mission successfully is a decision I will make free from politics.” How’s that for clarity?

The bald truth is this. Given America’s massive financial problems—which are doing far more to undermine our world power than anything in Afghanistan ever could—spending billions more dollars, and losing dozens more American lives so we can “degrade” a Taliban movement that may or may not have significant ties to a Qaeda network that is itself in free-fall is sheer lunacy.

And politicians on both sides of the aisle know it. But there’s no advantage for them in pushing for a rapid, and potentially ugly and humiliating, withdrawal now, when they can defer the discussion until after the election. After all, no one is focused on Afghanistan anyway—no one, that is, except for the Americans who go to sleep every night worrying that their sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, husbands, or wives will die in a war that America’s leaders no longer believe in but lack the courage to end.