Mark it down: it was September 7, 2012.
The truth in question was an answer to the query, on that paragon of hard news, FOX, Why didn’t you talk about the troops in your nomination acceptance address? Romney’s answer was plain, real, and astonishing:
When you give a speech you don’t go through a laundry list, you talk about the things that you think are important and I described in my speech, my commitment to a strong military unlike the president’s decision to cut our military. And I didn’t use the word troops, I used the word military. I think they refer to the same thing.
Here’s the thing: “the troops” and “the military” are as different from each other as corporations are from actual people. That Romney thinks “the military” is the same as “the troops” betrays his vision that organizations are living beings that somehow or another work without worrying how the pieces of the institution function.
Let me illustrate my point this way. When one thinks of “the military,” one thinks of the jobs the military is designed to do. One thinks of making sure that “the military” has the equipment and money and training and personnel it needs to achieve its tasks. One thinks of making sure the military machine can function effectively as it does its work.
Don’t get me wrong: these are all important things to think about. As long as we have a military, we as a society have an obligation and an interest in making sure it is effective and efficient. This is a consequence of the choice to be a superpower.
But it’s not thinking about “the troops.”
When one thinks of “the troops,” one thinks of parents separated from spouses and children for multiple deployments. One thinks of physically and psychically wounded people struggling to make a new life for themselves. One thinks of the transition to civilian life and the need to support servicemen and women for the rest of their lives.
Here’s what you don’t think about if you really think about “the troops”:
- You don’t complain that we got out of Iraq and threaten a war with Iran without considering the lives and capacities of the men and women you expect to go do those things, and without knowing how to win both the war and the peace.
- You don’t cut subsidies for school districts in towns with military bases like George Bush did. (Since WWII, the US has provided additional funds to towns with military bases in them to subsidize the education of the soldiers’ kids whose parents live on base, and so don’t pay local property taxes, but whose kids are educated in the local community. Bush cut those funds out.)
- You don’t charge soldiers for rooms with air conditioning when they are wounded, as George Bush’s administration did.
- You don’t treat wounded National Guards men and women in substandard, lesser hospitals and facilities as happened in the Bush administration.
- You don’t imagine endless wars and endless deployments in search of a “victory” you can never define, much less reach.
Romney told the truth to FOX News on September 7, 2012. Mark the day. He cares deeply about the military.
He just doesn’t think the troops are important.