Contrary to Obama’s campaign rhetoric, the “tide of war” in Afghanistan is not “receding.” The number of insurgent attacks for the three months ending June 30 was up 11 percent over last year; in June, when 39 coalition troops died, there was an average of 110 attacks per day. Though both troop and civilian casualties are down compared to 2011, the summer fighting season is showing that, far from being defeated, the Taliban may be gaining some momentum.

Yet this may be the first presidential campaign in U.S. history in which an ongoing war fails to produce a significant debate. Explicitly or implicitly, the candidates have successfully encouraged much of the media to accept the following conventional wisdom: The war is a failure but is winding down; U.S. combat troops will be out by the end of 2014; and Obama and Romney agree on the strategy…

Obama’s history suggests that he would order more troops out before next fall: After all, he has rejected the commanders’ favored option on Afghan troop deployments twice before. Romney, for his part, has faulted Obama for not listening to his generals. But does that mean he would forgo any withdrawals next year? He’s offered no indication.