September 8, 2011
The Watson Institute has approached the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with works reflective, analytical, and forward-looking. As Institute Professor James Der Derian has written for the September 9 issue of Tagespiegel, “Ten years on, there is much to remember about 9/11, of the loss of innocent lives, the sacrifice of the first responders, the coming together of communities – from the local to the global level – against the terrorist attack on the US. But there also moments we might wish to forget, forged in fear, trauma, and vulnerability, of a disastrous, unnecessary war in Iraq, indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, illegal wiretaps, surveillance and suspension of civil liberties in the US, an abiding suspicion of the non-American, and a search for justice that became indistinguishable from a desire for revenge.” A fundamental motivation of the Institute-based Costs of War research project has been to resist this urge to forget – to “turn the page” on a decade of war in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. This summer’s release of the project’s extensive findings on (now updated) over 260,000 lives and $4 trillion in US spending has since resonated throughout the media around the world, informing commentary and individual engagement in understanding a level of human, economic, and social costs that has heretofore gone unacknowledged.