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“Few, it seems, do, except for service personnel and their families,” he wrote recently. “It is almost as if the war isn’t happening at all.”

One measure of how far the war has receded into the background in America is that it was not even mentioned by Mitt Romney in his speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination on Aug. 30.

President Obama has pledged to end the main U.S. combat role in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, but current plans call for thousands of U.S. troops to remain long after that to train Afghans and hunt terrorists.

The war remains at the forefront, naturally, for members of the military such as Marine Lt. Gen. John Kelly, whose son, 2nd Lt. Robert M. Kelly, was killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan in November 2010.

“America as a whole today is certainly not at war, not as a country, not as a people,” Gen. Kelly said in a speech Aug. 28 at the American Legion’s national convention. Gen. Kelly is Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta’s senior military assistant.

“Only a tiny fraction of American families fear all day and every day a knock at the door that will shatter their lives,” Gen. Kelly said.