Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Costs of War

Costs of War project

Video from 2011 about the costs of 10 years of war and the founding of the Costs of War project.

The Costs of War project is a team of over 60 scholars, legal experts, human rights practitioners, and physicians, which began its work in 2010. We use research and a public website to facilitate debate about the costs of the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and related violence in Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and elsewhere. There are many hidden or unacknowledged costs of the United States’ decision to respond to the 9/11 attacks with military force. We aim to foster democratic discussion of these wars by providing the fullest possible account of their human, economic, and political costs, and to foster better informed public policies.

Project Goals:

  • To account for and illustrate the wars’ costs in human lives among all categories of person affected by them, both in the U.S. and in the warzones;

  • To tell as accessible as possible a story of the wars’ costs in U.S. federal and local dollars, including the long-term financial legacy of the wars in the U.S.;

  • To assess the public health consequences of the wars, including for people in the warzones and for US veterans living with war injuries and illnesses;

  • To describe how these wars have changed the political landscapes of the U.S. and the countries where the wars have been waged, including the status of women in the war zones, the degree to which Iraq and Afghanistan’s fledgling democracies are inclusive and transparent, and the state of civil liberties and human rights in the U.S.;

  • To identify less costly and more effective ways to prevent further terror attacks.

Further information is available from project co-Directors Catherine Lutz, Neta Crawford, and Stephanie Savell.