March 24th, 2008
05:50 PM ET

How is America affected by death toll of 4,000 U.S. troops in Iraq?

Corporal William Ward, a combat correspondent with the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, holds the dog tags of fallen companions as the Marines of Regimental Combat Team 5 memorialize 100 Marines, soldiers, and sailors who died during the regiment’s Iraq deployment. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Only days after marking the 5th anniversary of the United States-led invasion of Iraq, the U.S. reached a tragic milestone – a death toll of 4,000 U.S. troops.

Four American soldiers were killed in roadside bombings yesterday, a day when the Green Zone was hit repeatedly by rocket and mortar fire. The ability of insurgents to attack a supposedly protected area shows just how fragile the security situation in Iraq remains.

The military insists that "no casualty is more or less significant than another”, that each loss is equally precious and tragic. And the White House calls it a "sober moment”, adding that President Bush spends time every day thinking about those who have lost their lives in the war. The president also insisted last week that he has no regrets about starting the war.

It's not clear how this latest news will affect the American public or impact the presidential campaign. Both Democratic candidates have called for a timetable for withdrawal. John McCain says it's important to finish the fight and even suggested we could have troops in Iraq for 100 years.

One expert tells Reuters that the 4,000 troop death toll could trigger another wave of heated debate at home. But others think it won't have as much of an impact as the 3,000 mark... which came at a time when the overall situation in Iraq was seen as going badly.

Meanwhile, as the war enters its sixth year, estimates of the Iraqi death toll range from 80,000 to hundreds of thousands. An estimated 2 million people have been forced to leave Iraq, and another 2.5 million are displaced within the country.

Here’s my question to you: How should the milestone of 4,000 U.S. troop deaths in Iraq affect the American people?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


March 19th, 2008
05:56 PM ET

How dangerous is it if Americans are less aware of Iraq losses?

Click the Play Button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say. An honor guard carries the casket of Army Maj. Alan Greg Rogers to his burial service at Arlington National Cemetery March 14, 2008 in Arlington, Virginia. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

On the 5th anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, the U.S. has lost 3,992 troops. But it turns out a lot of Americans don't know it.

A new Pew poll shows only 28% of those surveyed know that almost 4,000 U.S. service members have died in Iraq. Almost half think the death toll is 3,000 or less, and 23% think it's higher. Last August, more than half of those surveyed knew how many Americans had died in Iraq.

The poll found public awareness of what's going on in Iraq has dropped as the news media have paid less attention to the war. For example: during the last week in January, 36% of people surveyed said the story they were following most closely was the political campaign. 14% said it was the stock market. 12% said it was the death of actor Heath Ledger. And only 6% said the story they were following most closely was the war in Iraq.

And that's sad... because if people aren't paying attention to what's going on in Iraq, then maybe they aren't quite as outraged about the almost 4,000 young Americans we've lost, or the almost 30,000 U.S. troops who have been badly wounded, or the more than 80,000 Iraqis who have died, or the more than $500 billion the U.S. has spent on the war – money that would have paid for the economic stimulus package with more than $300 billion left over.

Here’s my question to you: How dangerous is it if Americans are becoming less aware of U.S. losses in Iraq?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?