Follow us on social

2001-12-10t120000z_1745375631_rp2driqvfvab_rtrmadp_3_afghanistan-attacks-marines

New post-9/11 wars cost estimate: $8 trillion

The US military role in Afghanistan is over, but the costs will continue to mount as the forever wars rage on.

Analysis | Reporting | Asia-Pacific

In anticipation of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Brown University’s Costs of War Project on Wednesday published an “updated estimates on the most comprehensive and widely-cited assessments of the financial and human costs of the past 20 years of war.” 

The Project’s last update in 2019 estimated that the post-9/11 wars cost more than $6 trillion and 800,000 lives. But its new assessment has found that between 897,000 and 929,000 have been “directly killed,” while the United States has appropriated and obligated to spend more than $8 trillion. 

The latest report comes as President Biden ended America’s 20-year war in Afghanistan, which was estimated to have cost U.S. taxpayers $2.313 trillion, while Washington has so-far spent $2.058 trillion on the wars in Iraq and Syria. But while the U.S. war in Afghanistan is now over, the so-called “forever wars” are still ongoing throughout the region in places like Yemen and the Horn of Africa, where the Project estimates that roughly $355 billion have been spent. 

The Project’s estimate includes the cost of veterans’ care from 2001 to 2050, which according to its report from August, will cost U.S. taxpayers between $2.2 and 2.5 trillion. 

“Many people don’t know the extraordinary toll these wars take, not just the cost of deploying troops, not just the cost in terms of human lives, but the costs in terms of benefits and in terms of our obligations for decades to come,” said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) in prepared remarks for the Cost of War Project’s online event launching their new findings. “Had we not stayed in Afghanistan for 20 years we would have had enough money to provide a free college education or vocational school for every American.”

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), also in prepared remarks for the event, noted that she voted “no” on the authorization to use military force in Afghanistan after 9/11 (she was the lone dissenting vote).

“I voted no because I feared the consequences of giving the president, any president, open ended power to use military force anywhere against anyone or any nation,” she said, adding, ”Those consequences have been devastating.”

Marine reinforcements fly towards an area somewhere near Kandahar December 10, 2001. The Marines have pushed closer to Kandahar to continue their mission of interdicting lines of escape. REUTERS/POOL//Earnie Grafton, The San Diego Union-Tribune DPW/WS
Analysis | Reporting | Asia-Pacific
Will stock trade ban curtail DOD budget corruption?

Billion Photos via shutterstock.com

Will stock trade ban curtail DOD budget corruption?

QiOSK

A new bipartisan proposal to ban members of Congress and their immediate family members from trading individual stocks looks to close a glaring conflict of interest between politicians who control massive government budgets, much of which go to private contractors.

The potential for serious conflicts of interest are quickly apparent when reviewing the stock trades of members of Congress's Senate and House Armed Services Committees, the panels responsible for the National Defense Authorization Act, the bill that sets recommended funding levels for the Department of Defense.

keep readingShow less
Where are Trump's possible VPs on foreign policy?

Aaron of LA Photography, lev radin, and Allssandro Pietri via shutterstock.com

Where are Trump's possible VPs on foreign policy?

Washington Politics

Donald Trump will soon be selecting a running mate for the general election, and his choices have reportedly narrowed to Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

All three have been auditioning for the role, and one of them will presumably be selected before the Republican convention next week. Whoever gets the nod has a decent chance of being elected the next vice president and in that role he will have some influence in shaping a second Trump administration. So it is worth reviewing the foreign policy views of Trump’s possible picks to see what the selection can tell us about the direction Trump will take if he wins this November.

keep readingShow less
Shutterstock_624917975-scaled-e1644615001666
Russian President Boris Yeltsin and U.S. President Bill Clinton shake hands at a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Washington DC., September 28Th, 1994. (mark reinstein / Shutterstock.com).
Russian President Boris Yeltsin and U.S. President Bill Clinton shake hands at a news conference in the East Room of the White House, Washington DC., September 28Th, 1994. (mark reinstein / Shutterstock.com).

Declassified docs: US knew Russia felt 'snookered' by NATO

QiOSK

This week at the NATO summit in Washington, alliance leaders are expected to sign a joint communique that declares that Ukraine is on an “irreversible” path to joining the alliance.

This decision is likely to be celebrated as a big step forward and a reflection of Western unity behind Ukraine, but a series of newly declassified documents show that the U.S. has known all along that NATO expansion over the last 30 years has posed a threat to Russia, and may have been a critical plank in Moscow's aggressive policies over that time, culminating in the invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

keep readingShow less

Israel-Gaza Crisis

Latest