Iraq may dominate the headlines — but Americans have other concerns


Soldiers with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, perform a security check on their Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles near the Kuwaiti border as part of the last U.S. military convoy to leave Iraq on December 18, 2011.


Lucas Jackson/Reuters

We've been covering the news in Iraq pretty heavily for the last couple of weeks.

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And President Barack Obama says what's happening there is vitally important to the United States. But for a lot of Americans, Iraq is just not a top concern anymore.

“It’s not the first topic people would talk about right now,” says John Wisley, who reports for the Detroit Free Press.

Iraq may be in the news, says Wisley, but people in Detroit are more concerned with what’s happening locally. Right now, Wisley says, there’s more interest in doing nation-building at home, as the phrase goes, rather than spending more money overseas.  

“Detroit is going through a bankruptcy and there’s a lot of issues with that. That’s more of a topic than Iraq right now and I think its people focusing closer to home. There’s almost a feeling that they’ve spent enough time and emotion worrying about Iraq and they kind of want to avoid it now," he adds.

Still, Wisley is surprised people aren’t talking more about the current crisis in Iraq, considering the US involvement there engulfed the nation for almost a decade.

“There are still a lot of people here with family members in the military and still a lot of people who know veterans who have served,” Wiley says.

Wiley remembers before the Iraq fatigue set in.

“There was more of a unity of purpose then,” he says. “Now I think you’ve got a stalemate in terms of public policy, whether it’s a good thing or bad thing to try and fix the situation over there.”

So, what would it take to turn the public attention toward Iraq?

“I hate to say it but I think it would take some kind of violence in America, some kind of attack that would shock the conscious of the nation,” he says.