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US global wars cost over 900k lives, $8 trillion over two decades

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Major General Chris Donahue, commander of the US Army 82nd Airborne Division, boards a cargo plane at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, on August 30, 2021. (Photo via AFP)

The US so-called war on terror has taken almost one million lives across the globe and cost the country $8 trillion, over the past two decades, says a new report.

A report issued by Costs of War Project at Brown University, at end of the disastrous US withdrawal from Afghanistan, estimated 897,000 to 929,000 people have lost their lives as a direct result of war, whether by bombs, bullets or fire, in some 80 countries.

“The war has been long and complex and horrific and unsuccessful... and the war continues in over 80 countries,” said co-director of Costs of War, Catherine Lutz on Wednesday.

The death toll, includes US military members, allied fighters, opposition fighters, civilians, journalists and humanitarian aid workers, the report said.

The figure, however, does not include the many indirect deaths the war has caused by way of disease, displacement and loss of access to food or clean drinking water.

“The deaths we tallied are likely a vast undercount of the true toll these wars have taken on human life,” said Neta Crawford, another co-founder of the project.

The project also revealed that the wars have cost the US an estimated $8 trillion in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria.

Of the $8 trillion, $2.3 trillion is attributed to the Afghanistan/Pakistan war zone.

“The Pentagon and the US military have now absorbed the great majority of the federal discretionary budget, and most people don’t know that,” said Lutz.

“Our task, now and in future years, is to educate the public on the ways in which we fund those wars and the scale of that funding,” she added.

Another researcher of the project, Stephanie Savell said, “Twenty years from now, we’ll still be reckoning with the high societal costs of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars — long after US forces are gone.”

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 as part of the so-called war on terror. While the invasion ended the Taliban’s rule in the country back then, it is now ended with the return of the group to power.

On August 31, the picture of US Army general Chris Donahue appeared on the news as the last US soldier to leave Afghanistan. US media outlets had headlines indicating that the US war in Afghanistan was finally over.

US President Joe Biden also addressed the nation, and defended his decision to withdraw, saying, “I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit” and “It’s time to end the war in Afghanistan.”

For the first time in 20 years now, there is no US military presence in Afghanistan, but observers say no troops on the ground does not mean that the US war in the country is over.

They said the withdrawal simply means that one method of waging war in Afghanistan is no longer occurring.


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