Some of the Costs of War Project’s main findings include:
Over 480,000 people have died due to direct war violence, including armed forces on all sides of the conflicts, contractors, civilians, journalists, and humanitarian workers.
It is likely that many times more have died indirectly in these wars, due to malnutrition, damaged infrastructure, and environmental degradation.
244,000 civilians have been killed in direct violence by all parties to these conflicts.
Over 6,950 US soldiers have died in the wars.
We do not know the full extent of how many US service members returning from these wars became injured or ill while deployed.
Many deaths and injuries among US contractors have not been reported as required by law, but it is likely that at least 7,800 have been killed.
21 million Afghan, Iraqi, Pakistani, and Syrian people are living as war refugees and internally displaced persons, in grossly inadequate conditions.
The US government is conducting counterterror activities in 80 countries, vastly expanding this war across the globe.
The wars have been accompanied by erosions in civil liberties and human rights at home and abroad.
The human and economic costs of these wars will continue for decades with some costs, such as the financial costs of US veterans’ care, not peaking until mid-century.
US government funding of reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan has totaled over $170 billion. Most of those funds have gone towards arming security forces in both countries. Much of the money allocated to humanitarian relief and rebuilding civil society has been lost to fraud, waste, and abuse.
The cost of the Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria wars totals about $5.9 trillion. This does not include future interest costs on borrowing for the wars, which will add an estimated $8 trillion in the next 40 years.
Compelling alternatives to war were scarcely considered in the aftermath of 9/11 or in the discussion about war against Iraq. Some of those alternatives are still available to the US.