Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Costs of War

U.S. Budgetary Costs: $8 Trillion

The vast economic impact of the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere is poorly understood by the U.S. public and policymakers. This paper estimates the budgetary costs of war, including past expenditures and future obligations to care for veterans of these wars.

Human Cost: Over 929,000

The number of people killed directly in the violence of the wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere are approximated here. Several times as many civilians have died due to the reverberating effects of these wars. The methods of accounting are described in this paper.

Geographic Reach: Over 85 Countries

From 2018 to 2020, the U.S. government undertook what it labeled “counterterrorism” activities in at least 85 countries, in an outgrowth of President George W. Bush's “Global War on Terror.” This map displays air/drone strikes, on-the-ground combat, “Section 127e” programs, military exercises, and operations to train and/or assist foreign forces.

People Displaced: 38 Million

38 million people have been displaced by the post-9/11 wars in Afghanstan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and the Philippines.