The United States has been in a perpetual state of military action since the terrorist attacks on 9/11. From Iraq to Afghanistan to the intervention efforts in Syria and other “overseas contingency operations,” the US military has been ordered into some of the longest running interventions as part of the War on Terror. All those efforts have a very real economic cost and cost in human lives, and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University has just released a study that calculated the cost in real numbers.
The totals are staggering; being at war has cost 6 trillion dollars and 480,000 lives.
On the Stars & Stripes website, the story digs deeper into the specifics.
“It’s important for the American people to understand the true costs of war, both the moral and monetary costs,” said Sen. Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, who helped introduce the report Wednesday at a meeting on Capitol Hill. “Our nation continues to finance wars and military operations through borrowing, rather than asking people to contribute to the national defense directly, and the result is a serious fiscal drag that we’re not really accounting for or factoring into deliberations about fiscal policy or military policy.”
The study’s death estimates include nearly 7,000 U.S. servicemembers, nearly 8,000 U.S. contractors, more than 100,0000 military and police members from other countries, more than 244,000 civilians and more than 100,000 opposition fighters.
It’s staggering to think about the costs of these wars, how many lives were lost, how many people have been maimed or displaced or traumatized, how much good could have been done with that money.
BY THE NUMBERS
A Brown University study has found the human and financial costs of the post-9/11 wars continue to rise. These are some statistics highlighted in the report:
The U.S. government is conducting counterterrorism activities in 76 countries
More than 244,000 civilians have been killed as a result of the fighting
More than 480,000 have died due to direct war violence, and several times as many indirectly
The wars have created 10.1 million refugees and displaced persons
The U.S. cost for the post-9/11 wars is more than $5.9 trillion