by Jessica Corbett
A U.S. Army soldier fires an M4 carbine rifle
partnered live fire range training at
Tactical Base Gamberi, Afghanistan
Capt. Charlie Emmons
numbers continue to accelerate,
not only because
many wars continue to be waged,
but also because
wars don't end
War on Terror launched by
the United States
government in the wake of the
Sept. 11, 2001 attacks has cost,
at least 801,000
...according to a pair of
reports published Wednesday by the Costs of War Project at Brown
University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs.
continue to accelerate, not only because many wars continue to
be waged, but also because wars don't end when soldiers come
Costs of War co-director and Brown professor Catherine Lutz, who
co-authored the project's report on deaths.
provide a reminder that even if fewer soldiers are dying and the
U.S. is spending a little less on the immediate costs of war
today, the financial impact is still as bad as, or worse than,
it was 10 years ago," Lutz added.
"We will still
be paying the bill for these wars on terror into the 22nd
Cost of Post-9/11 Wars
report tallies "direct deaths" in major war zones,
grouping people by,
humanitarian and NGO workers
and media workers
of Defense civilians, and contractors
national military and police forces,
well as other allied troops and opposition fighters.
The report sorts
direct deaths by six categories:
The civilian death
toll across all regions is up to 335,745 - or nearly 42% of the
include indirect deaths, namely those caused by loss of access
to food, water, and/or infrastructure, war-related disease,
estimated to be four times higher," Costs of War board
member and American University professor David Vine
wrote in an op-ed for The Hill Wednesday.
that total deaths during the post-2001 U.S. wars in Afghanistan,
Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen is likely to reach 3.1 million
or more - around 200 times the number of U.S. dead."
"Don't we have
a responsibility to wrestle with our individual and collective
responsibility for the destruction our government has
inflicted?" Vine asked in his op-ed.
dollars and implied consent have made these wars possible. While
the United States is obviously not the only actor responsible
for the damage done in the post-2001 wars, U.S. leaders bear the
bulk of responsibility for launching catastrophic wars that were
never inevitable, that were wars of choice."
project's second new report,
United States Budgetary Costs and Obligations of Post-9/11 Wars
Through FY2020 - $6.4 Trillion, David Vine wrote,
we could have otherwise spent that incomprehensible sum - to
feed the hungry, improve schools, confront global warming,
improve our transportation infrastructure, and provide
"At a time when
everyone from Donald Trump to Democratic Party candidates for
president is calling for an end to these endless wars, we must
push our government to use diplomacy - rather than rash
withdrawals, as in northern Syria - to end these wars
responsibly," he concluded.
"As the new
Costs of War report and 3.1 million deaths should remind us,
part of our responsibility must be to repair some of the
immeasurable damage done and to ensure that wars like these
never happen again."
The project's $6.4
trillion figure accounts for overseas contingency operations
appropriations, interest for borrowing for OCO spending, war-related
spending in the Pentagon's base budget, medical and disability care
for post-9/11 veterans (including estimated future obligations
through FY2059), and Department of Homeland Security spending for
prevention of and response to terrorism.
Costs of War
co-director and Boston University professor Neta Crawford
co-authored the project's death toll report and authored the budget
For the latter, she
trends in the budgetary costs of the post-9/11 wars include:
less transparency in reporting costs among most major agencies;
greater institutionalization of the costs of war in the DOD base
budget, State Department, and DHS; and the growing budgetary
burden of veterans' medical care and disability care."
Both reports were
released as part of the project's new "20
Years of War" series.
Catherine Lutz, and fellow Costs of War
co-director Stephanie Savell were in Washington, D.C.
Wednesday to present the reports' findings at a briefing hosted by
U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services.
already seen that when we go to Washington and circulate our
briefings, they get used in the policymaking process," Lutz said
news story published by Brown Wednesday.
our data in speeches on the Senate floor, in proposals for
have made their way into calls to put an end to the joint
resolution to authorize the use of military force. They have
Lutz pointed out
"if you count
all parts of the federal budget that are military-related -
including the nuclear weapons budget, the budget for fuel for
military vehicles and aircraft, funds for veteran care - it
makes up two-thirds of the federal budget, and it's inching
"I don't think
most people realize that, but it's important to know," she
are concerned that the Pentagon's increased spending is crowding
out other national purposes that aren't war."