Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Choices Program Publishes "Costs of War" Lesson

February 28, 2012

The Watson-affiliated Choices Program has published a curriculum unit for secondary school deliberation of US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The curriculum unit, part of the Choices "Teaching With The News" initiative, is based largely on the work of the Watson-based Costs of War project. 

The Choices Program's "Teaching With The News" initiative provides online curriculum materials and ideas to connect classroom content to news headlines. Topics cover a range of foreign policy and international issues, including the Arab Spring, the death of Osama bin Laden, famine in Somalia, and the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster. 

The "Teaching With The News" Costs of War lesson allows for students to explore the human, economic, social, and political costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Drawing upon resources from the Costs of War project, secondary school students will consider how an analysis of the wars' costs should influence current and future US foreign policy, and discuss the importance of public knowledge of the costs of war in a democracy. 

The Costs of War research project, released last June, offers the most comprehensive analysis to date of the costs of America's wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan. The multi-university project, involving more than 20 economists, anthropologists, lawyers, and political scientists, concludes that the United States is on track to spend far more than anyone has recognized for these wars. The findings are elaborated in 22 in-depth academic papers, and summarized graphically online at costsofwar.org. A book compiling the research is also forthcoming.



The Choices Program, based at Brown's Office of Continuing Education, is known for bringing university-level research and innovative learning tools into secondary school classrooms across the country. With a library of 40 published curriculum units and an expanding collection of online materials, Choices develops teaching resources on historical and current international issues, provides professional development for classroom teachers, and sponsors programs that engage students beyond the classroom. 

By Watson Institute Student Rapporteur Lauren Fedor '12