Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Costs of War

Resources for Teaching the Post-9/11 Wars

Costs of War Project research supports an interdisciplinary approach to teaching on the post-9/11 wars. This community is open to instructors, students, and researchers from all fields and the resources can be utilized for college, high school, and middle school educators. Do you have a resource that should be included on this page and shared with the Costs of War's community of students and instructors? Submit resource details here.

Table of Contents
Resource Spotlight 
Multimedia (Videos, Infographics) 
Lesson Plans
Slides & Presentation Templates
Background Reading

Resource Spotlight:

Costs of War Lesson, Choices Program - videos and class resources to teach the costs of war for Grade 9-12. From the Choices Program at Brown University. Also includes lesson plans, activities, and readings.


Budgetary Costs of Post-9/11 Wars - Infographic displaying the breakdown of the budgetary costs to date of the wars from 2001-2022, posted March 2023. 

Interactive Map and Other Infographics - USA Today feature on geographic reach of post-9/11 wars, drawing on Costs of War data. Published October 5, 2021.

Displacement Map - Infographic tracks the global numbers and movements of post-9/11 war refugees, displacing 38 million people in and from eight countries. 

National Priorities Project: Military and Security - Data, blog posts, and resources about military and security in the U.S.

Costs of National Security - Ticker displays a continuous update of how much the post-9/11 wars have cost since 2001 and what else the money could have gone to.

"Costs of War" (2011) - Co-Founders Catherine Lutz and Neta Crawford discuss the monetary and human costs of post-9/11 wars, 10 years in, in this 6 minute video. 

Map of U.S Military Bases in the Middle East - Map by Zoltán Grossman showing the relationship between oil fields, pipeline plans, and U.S. military bases in the Middle East over time.

"10 Ways to Teach About 9/11 with the New York Times" - Ideas and resources for helping students think about how the Sept. 11 attacks have changed our nation and world, 20 years after the fact. Published September 9, 2021.

Empire of the United States of America Coloring Map - Interactive Coloring Map created by Professor David Vine using Costs of War Data. 

The United States of War - A map displaying the U.S. Wars, U.S. Combat Actions, and U.S. Military Bases from 2001-2021, created using Costs of War data.

How does war damage the environment? - A blog summarizing the main ways that war and militarism harm the environment, written by the Conflict and Environment Observatory. Published June 4, 2020.

The Global Nonviolent Action Database -  A project of Swarthmore College, this Database catalogues 200+ methods used in cases of nonviolent struggle, based on the work of Gene Sharp. 

Beyond the War Paradigm Infographic - from contributor Jennifer Walkup Jayes' paper, this infographic separates state-led models of counterterrorism into the categories of “coercive,” “proactive,” “persuasive,” “defensive,” and “long-term.” Published March, 2022.

By the Numbers: Afghanistan before and after 20 years of war (2001-2021) - Examining data before the U.S. war in Afghanistan and after the U.S. withdrawal, this infographic displays indicators of poverty, food insecurity, child malnutrition, women's rights, U.S. spending, and more.

Human Costs of U.S. Post-9/11 Wars - The number of people killed directly in the violence of the U.S. post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere are estimated here. 

Human Toll Including Indirect Deaths - The number of people killed indirectly in post-9/11 war zones, including in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, are estimated at 3.6-3.8 million, though the precise figure remains unknown. This brings the estimated total of direct and indirect deaths to 4.5-4.7 million. The methods of accounting and various casual pathways leading to indirect deaths are described in this paper.

The Cost of War - A compelling graphic displaying 200,000 civilian deaths documented by the Iraq Body Count during the Iraq conflict from the period of 2003-2017.

The Missiles on our Land - An investigation into the human, societal, and environmental costs associated with the U.S. plans to modernize its nuclear weapon arsenal. Combines ethnography and journalism, including narrative storytelling, podcasting, photography and cinematography. A collaboration between the Princeton Program on Science & Global Security, Nuclear Princeton, and Columbia University’s School of Journalism, and published in parts as a special report on "the New Nuclear Age" by Scientific American.


After 20 Years, Measuring the True Costs of America’s Post-9/11 Wars - Costs of War Co-Director Stephanie Savell and contributor David Vine are featured in this episode of the Watson Institute's Trending Globally: Politics and Policy, discussing the multiple costs and consequences of the U.S. post-9/11 wars, 20 years in. Published September 8, 2021. Transcript available. (26 minutes)

For the U.S. Military, Fossil Fuel is the 'Lifeblood'. Here's What that Means for the Planet. - Costs of War Co-Founder Neta Crawford is featured in this episode of the Watson Institute's Trending Globally: Politics and Policy, discussing the size and scope of the U.S. military's carbon footprint. Neta discusses the long and complicated relationship between national security, fossil fuels, and climate change. Transcript available. (22 minutes)

The Cost of 9/11 - Costs of War Co-Director Stephanie Savell is featured on Vox Media's podcast, Today, Explained, discussing the costs of 9/11, 20 years later. (29 minutes)

Costs of War with Stephanie Savell - Costs of War Co-Director Stephanie Savell is interviewed on the Real Clear Defense podcast to discuss the project's research. (43 minutes)

The Domestic Costs of America's Post-9/11 Wars -  This episode from the Watson Institute's Trending Globally: Politics and Policy takes a closer look at how these wars have changed life in the United States, with Dr. Ben Suitt and Dr. Jessica Katzenstein. They discuss the militarization of America's police and the high suicide rate amongst servicepeople and veterans of the U.S. post-9/11 wars. Transcript available. (34 minutes)

How does war affect the climate? - Costs of War Co-Director Neta Crawford spoke to the BBC's The Climate Question about how war impacts climate change. (27 minutes)

Stephanie Savell on the Millions of Indirect Deaths Caused by the Post-9/11 Wars - Costs of War Co-Director Stephanie Savell speaks with The Scott Horton Show to discuss her report on indirect deaths in post-9/11 war zones. They discuss the research methods used, casual pathways that led to an estimated 3.6-3.8 million indirect death, what constitutes indirect deaths vs. direct deaths and how the devastation differs from country to country. (31 minutes)

Lyle Goldstein: Not feeling great about being right on Ukraine - Costs of War contributor Lyle Goldstein, Director of the Asia Engagement program at Defense Priorities, speaks with the Crashing the War Party podcast about the war in Ukraine and the fact of being at a stalemate. He has consistently called for a diplomatic pathway rather than a commitment to endless war and now, he says, he thinks with the war being at a stalemate, we might have a chance to see this form of engagement between Ukraine and Russia. (40 minutes)

Stephanie Savell on Why the West is Thinking about the coup in Niger all wrong - Costs of War Co-Director Stephanie Savell was interviewed on Trending Globally: Politics and Policy, regarding the 2023 coup in Niger and the history of coups in the Sahel. She speaks about what the West "gets wrong" about the history of coups and the role of U.S. military training and assistance in the region. (28 minutes)


Anthropology of Militarism Course Syllabus - Public Anthropology Clinic materials from Dr. David Vine of American University.

International Affairs Course Syllabus - Costs of War course materials from Dr. Catherine Lutz of Brown University.

Understanding War, Building Peace Course Syllabus - Anthropology course materials from Dr. David Vine of American University.

Understanding War, Building Peace: U.S. Military Bases Overseas Syllabus - Anthropology course materials from Dr. David Vine of American University.

War and the Asian Diaspora - International Studies course syllabus from Dr. Natassja B. Gunasena, Professor at Trinity College, examining how militarized conflict intersects with gender and sexuality to shape the politics and experiences of Asians in diaspora.

Twenty Years of War: The Causes and Costs of the Post 9/11 Wars - This six-week syllabus reflects on the causes and consequences of the post-9/11 wars, created by Dr. Jennifer Greenburg at Stanford University. Students will come away from the course better equipped to understand the expanding geography of war and conflict today, including the war in Ukraine.


For students in College and Grades 11&12

Costs of War Classroom Activity - 30-45 minute small group activity for students to explore Costs of War research and present their findings to the class.

Introductory Costs of War Discussion Questions - basic questions for small group or large class discussion for students in Grades 11 and 12.

Advanced Discussion Questions - higher-level questions for small group or large class discussion for students in College.

Engaged Learning Activities - examples of class activities, such as analyzing poetry and writing letters to members of Congress. Activities for Grades 11, 12, and College.

The Ukraine Crisis: An Opportunity to Teach on Nonviolent Resistance - classroom activities, resources, readings, and news articles to integrate into the classroom. Targeted towards all grade levels.

Teaching the 2003 Iraq War - Produced by Dr. David Cortright, Professor Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, this three-module curriculum has proposed topics, sources, and questions focused on the 2003 Iraq War for college students.

Teaching Beyond September 11th - A multimodal curriculum for High School and College educators and students about the ongoing global impact of 9/11, focusing on the years 2001-2021. Produced by the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.

Teaching on Peacebuilding - Professor Séverine Autesserre's resources, classes, and helpful tips and advice for students in Grades 11, 12, and College.

Slides & presentation templates 

Costs of War Overview Slides - essential facts and discussion questions to review Costs of War's research in class. 8 slides.

Costs of War Course Slides - course overview and important topics of class study. 27 slides.

Costs of War Glossary - definitions of important terms used in Costs of War work. 

War: Some Conclusions from Anthropology - Dr. Douglas P. Fry, Professor and Chair of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, developed this powerpoint presentation outlining the archeological and anthropological origins of war. 14 slides. 

Fighting War - Dr. Jennifer Greenburg, Assistant Professor in International Relations at the University of Sheffield, asks, "What are the costs of war born by soldiers and veterans?" in this presentation focused on 'The Embodied Soldier'. 35 slides.


Reading List Related to the Post-9/11 Wars - A Collection of reading materials about and related to the post-9/11 wars.

Costs of War Papers - research from Costs of War Project scholars.

U.S. Foreign Policy History & Resource Guide - essays on Peace History that aim to provide a more accurate portrayal of U.S. foreign policy and the ramifications of intervention in the global south.

Afghanistan, Iraq, and the "War on Terror" - a module created by the U.S. Foreign Policy History & Resource Guide covering the Post-9/11 Wars.