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

After 6 years fighting in Iraq, Americans' interest wanes

[cnn-photo-caption image=,.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. Bob the Observer

    This war is historical. It's the first one we've waged without a draft. Our all-volunteer army (all branches, actually) continues to re-enlist, and the surge worked.

    War is never pleasant, and is not something any normal person is "interested" in.

    Isn't it amazing how, after the Cole incident and two World Trade Center disasters, suddenly, since 2001, nothing has happened?

    I hope the current administration will continue what has seemed to be a wise policy of protection.

    As "unpopular" as the wars might have been, Afghanistan and Iraq moved the nuisance out of our backyard and into the living room of the people who started it.

    March 13, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. Simmy

    American's interest simmered for a long time because the Bush administration kept it on the "down low." It only came back on the front burner during the primaries and the election. It's disgusting that so many deaths have occurred, and so many great men and women have been wounded, some for life, in a war that did not have to happen.

    Under President Obama's watch, I pray that it will come to a complete end. Forget leaving troops behind. It's past time for the Iraqis and Afghanis to get back to their own cultural norms. It's time we concentrated on the "sleeper cells" already in other parts of the world; and in our midst. Bush and Cheney should be ashamed of themselves.

    I don't see how any organization in clear conscience could invite Bush to speak, let alone pay him.

    March 13, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. ruth

    This is a Bush war.Let him pay for it.

    March 13, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Bob the Observer

    After 8 years during the Bush Administration of hearing Pelosi, Kennedy, CNN, CNBC, et. al. say "I hope he fails" every day, maybe Americans just got tired of it.

    Oh, Limbaugh didn't invent that phrase. Liberals did. They're not mad at Rush for saying it; they are mad at him for plagiarizing.

    March 13, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. Mel

    The war was NOT successful because it left the US domestically in much worse shape than it was when they went in.

    You have to take care of your own before you can take care of anyone else. The US has domestically be woefully neglected and now its paying the price.

    Yes, people are tired of war. Especially when its doing nothing at all to help anything anywhere.

    March 13, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  6. Shooky

    Nobody is buying this, CNN.

    Everyone KNOWS why soldiers killed Iraq isn't breaking news anymore: Since Iraq was such a dirty four-letter word while Bush was in office, the media and everyone else on the left couldn't POSSIBLY mention it now Obama is in office. I don't recall seeing Code Pink or any other war protests in the media since the election, but aren't the SAME two wars still going on? Are people that were completely opposed to the war in favor of it now? Didn't nearly 20,000 troops go to Afghanistan since Obama has been in office?

    I guess liberals like war when the President has a D by his name.

    March 13, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. Patricia Tharp

    Contrary to "Kevin's remarks in Ohio", we were not SUCCESSFUL over in Iraq, and still are not. We paid the Sunni's to colaborate with us and put enough soldiers in to keep it quiet-–the later part is simply emulating what Hussain did as a dictator. As soon as we leave, it will go back to the same tribal war that has been occurring for centuries. There is already evidence of this with renewed bombing. This war has been the ruination of of the USA. -–$800 billion and climbing! What in God's name would it take for Kevin and his ilk to admit Bush was the most mediocure President our country has ever had?

    March 13, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. Marilyn

    Didn't most of us know when this war started that we would be there forever??? It is a waste of American lives, Iraqi lives, American dollars, and our goodwill overseas. This has not changed and is not likely to change in the near future.

    My husband and I have lost almost half of our retirement savings since September. At this point in time, this is the ONLY issue that concerns me.

    March 13, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. E

    Um hey Shooky, Obama didn't START the war! He is trying to end it without the whole world collapsing in the abyss that Bush created. Obama has been in office for 50 days, how can he possibly be at fault for a war that started 6 years ago?!?!

    March 13, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  10. get well

    Some companies and people working for them, and that have investments with them, never want wars to stop.They love money more than American lives lost.

    March 13, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. Texan

    I`m sure there is a place in Hell reserved for "Dick" Chenny. The persuit of money and power should get him a front row seat alongside all the other meglomaniacs

    March 13, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. thomas

    What did we win? What are we winning? Are you a oblivious? Look around you. What do you see? Reduced violence does not a victory make. As long as you deny the truth you will remain a fool. Wake up. No one won. WE ALL LOST.

    March 13, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  13. Joe Unger, San Francisco

    War fatigue?? The average american wasn't too involved with the war in the first place. Bush never asked for a sacrifice and americans are usually too self-involved to reach out to try to find more. I recall all the complaints by returning soldiers that people just don't know what is going on. If you had family over there, of course you paid attention. Otherwise, people concern themselves with themselves. The slogan looking out for number 1 really applies.

    March 13, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  14. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    To all of saying that we lost this war because people died. Or Iraq did not attack us. Germany did not attack us before wwII but we still went there, was that a mistake? Can you point to any other USA led ground invasion That only saw 5000 Americans die? If you can't answer those questions then you have nothing to say.

    March 13, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  15. jeff

    Liberals and left wings only care about themselves and the money thats in there pocket as they continue to bash bush about Iraq but once the US leave Iraq then the country will fall apart and go back killing each other than the libs will just say its bush fault not obama

    March 13, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  16. cnnnewser

    NO, our interest hasn't waned – news networks stopped reporting on the wars and leave us in the dark.
    Don't blame the American interest – blame the news that stopped reporting.
    And stop relying on polls as your sources.

    March 13, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. cnnnewser

    NO, our interest hasn't waned – news networks stopped reporting on the wars and leave us in the dark.
    Don't blame the American interest – blame the news that stopped reporting.
    And stop relying on polls as your sources.

    March 13, 2009 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. cnnnewser

    Our country is paying the price for invading Iraq....just look at our crumbling economy and our disasterous fall in the world community. Karma at its finest.
    The people that are making billions off this war are the ones that don't want it to end – they're making billions off the backs of dead soldiers and dead innocents.

    March 13, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  19. Jesse, MA.

    To make such a bold statement like "we were SUCCESSFUL" one must provide a definition for success, and then show evidence of that definition being met.
    ÅAs for the people on here commenting that the surge worked, your lack of research is showing. The largest reason for the drop in violence during the surge had much more to do with the bribe money the Bush administration was paying the sectarian groups to not kill our soldiers. So if throwing money at a problem means the surge worked, fine, I'll admit that. But again, you have to define what you mean when you say it "worked."
    Also, it is inappropriate, and as far as I am concerned, completely inaccurate to say that Liberals/Progressives wanted Bush to fail. It's simply not true. I wanted him to succeed, as did everyone I know. The problem was that he failed in spite of my desire for him to succeed, and in an epic manner.
    Specifically to Kevin in Ohio, I think you should get that paranoia checked out. Left-wing sabotage? Interesting take. I didn't know the DNC had agents stationed in Iraq thwarting the efforts of our troops.

    March 13, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. Greg Pottstown, Pa.

    Around 200,000 American troops died during ww2 fighting the Germans. The Germans did not attack America in any way, shape or form. Was ww2 a failure? If not that puts a big hole in the boat liberals are trying to float. BTW ww2 carried the USA out of the great depression and if we have a good bond with Iraq going forward that will help our economy in the future.

    March 13, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  21. Justin from New Haven, CT

    I was tired of it the day "Mission Accomplished" was declared.

    March 13, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  22. Spirit of America

    Bring them all home. Now. Arrest the war criminals responsible for this disaster. Now.

    March 13, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. Seth

    Obama's stimulus costs more money and with less job creation!

    March 13, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. Gary

    Once Iraq started to stabilize and the violence decreased, the liberal press gave up interest in the story. Since it isn't the lead story everyday anymore the american public of course will lose interest. Add to that the terrible economy that Obama and the democrats refuse to try to fix and talk down every day and interest wanes even more.

    March 13, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  25. B.H.

    Gotta keep that Industrial Military Complex going to keep the economy energized folks! Every generation has to have at least one war so we can save the world all by ourselves... Only problem now of course is that we are broke.

    March 13, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
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