[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/02/art.anbar.signing.gi.jpg caption="U.S. Marine Maj. Gen. John Kelly and Anbar Province Governor Maamoun Sami Rashid al-Alwani sign papers during a handover ceremony in Ramadi, Monday."]
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
There was more good news from Iraq over the holiday weekend. The United States military has ceded control of Anbar province, once one of the deadliest places in that country, to the Iraqi military.
American casualties continue to be way down from their peak, and there seems now to be a growing consensus that the American military is going to be able to leave that country sometime in the next couple of years.
The situation has come a long way from the darkest days when millions of Iraqis became refugees, hundreds of thousands were killed and nothing approaching political stability was anywhere on the horizon.
The oil is flowing once again from Iraq – they have an $80 billion surplus sitting in banks now, and something resembling stability is threatening to return. With the tribal animosities that go back thousands of years however, it's too soon to declare victory. But there's no doubt about it: things are looking up. As evidence of this – a recent CNN poll indicates only 18% of Americans consider the war in Iraq to be the number one issue in November's election. 48% say it's the economy.
Here’s my question to you: How important will the Iraq war be to voters come November?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Paulette from Dallas, Pa. writes:
I believe Iraq will be very important in this election. The way we got into the war, how we handled the war, Iraq building up billions of dollars while draining the American economy, and how and when we will return home are all important questions that need to be answered and accounted for by the candidates.
Jack, The American people must come to realize that the Iraq war is linked directly to the economy. We spend $10 billion dollars a month in Iraq! Of course the Iraq war is going to play a monumental role in this year's election.
How important will the Iraq war be in the next election? Extremely important if you have a loved one fighting in it but despite the "We support our troops" bumper stickers, not so important if you don't. Sad to say.
It depends. If major bad news comes out of Iraq, then the media will be sure to jump all over it and elevate Iraq as an issue. If good news comes out of Iraq, then the media most likely won't report much of anything and the main "issue" will be the economy which most Americans are concerned with regardless of their politics.
Cheryl from Rockmart, Georgia writes:
People are currently concerned about keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table for their families, which makes Iraq fall farther down on the list. It will become an issue only if more people die as a result.
Americans are increasingly aware of how the past eight years have tarnished our reputation around the world. Although the war in Iraq might not be the most important issue, the candidates’ positions on Iraq reflect the role they want America to play in the world, and that is on people's minds.