March 13th, 2009
10:29 AM ET
13 years ago

After 6 years fighting in Iraq, Americans' interest wanes

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/03/12/iraq.war/art.iraqtruck.gi,.jpg caption="U.S. soldiers patrol parts of Iraq in armored tanks years after the start of the war in Iraq."]

(CNN) - While economic issues affect almost all Americans, public interest in the ongoing military action in Iraq has dropped off over the past few years as conditions on the ground there have improved and the relevance to the average American family's pocketbook wears thin.

"This is already one of the longest wars in American history. There's nothing new in Iraq," said Steven Roberts, a professor of media studies at The George Washington University. "We've read the stories of instability in the government a hundred times. Every single possible story has been told, and so there is enormous fatigue about Iraq."

But while daily operations in Iraq may not pique the attention of Americans, the costs do.

Around $700 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office, has been appropriated from the 2003-2009 fiscal years. The figure, taking into account operations for 2010 FY, puts the price tag around $800 billion.

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soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Kevin in Ohio

    Perhaps the "interest" is waning because we were SUCCESSFUL over there, despite the left-wing attempts to sabotage the effort.

    March 13, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. Lush Limprick and Osama bin Laden share the same vision for America - FAILURE!

    I do not believe it is a loss of interest, but the fact that large numbers of American troops being killed weekly.

    Also, it is tough to be concerned about Iraqi children when you are trying to feed and keep a roof over the heads of your own kids when your unemployed. That will pretty much take all of your focus on a daily basis!

    March 13, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. Lush Limprick and Osama bin Laden share the same vision for America - FAILURE!

    I do not believe it is a loss of interest, but the fact that large numbers of American troops are not being killed weekly.

    Also, it is tough to be concerned about Iraqi children when you are trying to feed and keep a roof over the heads of your own kids when your unemployed. That will pretty much take all of your focus on a daily basis!

    March 13, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. Baze

    We just don't care about people that have no regard for life. If they want to continue to blow themselves up, fine. Our reputation as the world's best military is sound with the relative calm that we have achieved, and future instability will be blamed on the inherent barbarism of Iraqis.

    March 13, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. JB

    only of less interest to partisan hacks that prayed for us to lose.. you know, those that wanted bush to fail.. in a word... Democrats

    March 13, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. thomas

    This whole situation just turns my stomach. What a waste of lives, capital and resources these wars have been and they still make no sense. This is the spell of a discredited despot. Get out now! Iraq. Afghanistan. Bring all military forces home now.

    March 13, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. BeerMo

    look on the bright side. we have another golden age of military writing and there are some really great first person "i was there" books.

    March 13, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  8. a REAL American

    Good point Kevin.... the surge was criticized and hated so much, but it was such a success that even Obama had to admit it to Bill O'Reilly. Hopefully Iraqis will continue to build on that success and finally put the sectarian fighting behind them.

    I know it really burns up all the liberals that it succeeded, just admit it already!

    March 13, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  9. demwit

    America is tired of losing in Iraq.., at least thats what CNN says.

    March 13, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. Ex-Republican

    Did we find the WMD's yet? Ahhh, nah, but let's stay anyways...because Hussein is evil. Isn't he dead? Ahh, yea, but let's stay anyways, because...uhhmmm,....I"ll figure out another excuse soon, just give me time.

    I bought that we needed to go in there for WMD's. But then, when it turned out WE WERE WRONG...we stayed anyways. It's war crimes now that we are committing over there.

    March 13, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  11. Mike Syracuse, NY

    I guess when you are winning it's not as much news as when you are losing. The surge worked, troops can be withdrawn, and liberals have nothing to whine about but Rush.

    March 13, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. constantly amazed

    Don't forget also that now that we are winning, the MSM doesn't want to have to point out that the Bush strategy, rather than the Obama, Clinton Reid, Pelosi strategy won. That of course would also offend George Soros, ACORN, Code Pink and moveon.org which are vital parts of the liberal constituancy. Besides, CNN can cover more stories like the Obama girls swingset.

    March 13, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. NUNNYA

    Hey Kevin in Ohio ,spoken like a true civilian.

    March 13, 2009 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  14. S Callahan

    Is it really fatigue. I think not. Americans are not wimps..and stand up if the cause is just....At this point, I think there is empathy for a nation that has suffered so much. And concern for the children of our country who have invested blood to help them.

    Truth be told...conflicts will continue throughout the Middle East until the Peacemaker returns....

    March 13, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. Mari

    @ KEVIN.......... SUCCESSFUL? Please do explain. How has this war which should NEVER have happened been a success?

    How many Iraqi civilians killed? Or maimed?

    How many more recruits for Al-Qaeda?

    How many of our Troops maimed, psychologically damaged?

    How many of our Troops dead?

    How many families destroyed??

    And let's talk about Bush HIDING the COST of the war all these years!

    Let's talk about how Bush DOUBLED our National debt.

    How about ALL the NOBID contracts awarded to Halliburton and KBR....... how many BILLIONS LOST AND MISUSED?!

    How many people tortured?

    How is spending $10 BILLION A MONTH SUCCESS?

    IF THIS IS SUCCESS....... WE ALL NEED A REALITY CHECK!

    March 13, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    This Iraq catastrophe has gone on longer than American involvement in World War II and hasn't achieved a worthwhile result since Saddam Hussein was captured half a decade ago.

    Is it any wonder that Americans aren't interested in wasting more lives and money on George Bush's War? And Obama is saying we ought to stay for almost another three years? Ridiculous!

    March 13, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  17. RealityKing

    With a strikingly lack of bad news.., the lack of interest is obviously because of the progressive media's blackout of good news from Iraq

    March 13, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. John

    I still remember Baghdad.

    March 13, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  19. Ex-Republican

    So Kevin...we found the WMD's? If not, what success are you talking about? You can't just blindly and misguidedly errr your way into success. We went in looking for WMD's, we didn't find any. FAILED. Heck, I was for going in if they had WMD's. WE WERE WRONG. FAILED

    You go ahead and swallow the load of the non-ending excuses for remaining there, but there's been too many lame excuses from naive and easily manipulated people like you for staying there for the rest of us to continue to stomach.

    March 13, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. Yeah Kevin in Ohio!

    Kevin you are so correct! As hard as Hillary Clinton tried to convince the American public to pull our troops out in defeat, with the focused leadership of President Bush our troops showed how well they can do their job.

    Mrs. Clinton didn't fare so well since at the time she thought the oval office was hers for the taking, but at least she was successful as the second choice for Secretary of State. I liked Connie better.

    March 13, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  21. KC

    Please....Obama has spent almost twice that in just 50 days. It took 6 years to spend that amount of money on the Iraq war and you cannot tell me that the Iraqis and the world aren't better off without Saddam.

    Also, of course American interest is waning....American's have become shallow people who have to be entertained nonstop and have an attention span about an hour long. You know, the length of the average reality T.V. show?

    By the way, Obama has spent one billion dollars a minute since taking office. Think about that.

    March 13, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  22. WorldWideTerrorist

    Note to self: Americans lose interest when the media constantly attacks the traditional values of Ameirca..

    March 13, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  23. Ken Bernstein

    Let's not forget that we are in the financial mess we are in because of of that moron bush (who left office in shame) and his iraqi fiasco

    March 13, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  24. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    The interest is fading because we can't do much more to help them. At this point they have to take the ball the next 50 yards. we have given them every thing they need to move forward now they need to bring the country together around a set of principles to live and govern by. We can not do that for them. The Iraqi people must step in and say in one voice we will move forward to better times for us and our children.

    March 13, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  25. Faith Restored

    Successful at what Kevin in Ohio? We "liberated" another country but our own was raped and pilaged merilessly by the same saviors you are implying were running our last administration (Bush,Cheney, etc.)? Yeah...we left wingers It's all OUR fault.

    March 13, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
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