Study: US Post-9/11 Wars Caused 4.5 Million Deaths

August 11th, 2023 - by Al Mayadeen

Study: US Post-9/11 Wars
Have Caused 4.5 Million Deaths
Al Mayadeen

Study finds that US wars caused at least
3.6 to 3.7 million “indirect” deaths
due to a variety of factors

(May 18, 2023) — According to recent research, the wars launched by the United States in the Middle East and North Africa in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks have directly or indirectly killed at least 4.5 million people and displaced millions more.

The study by Brown University Watson Institute’s Costs of War project detailed how almost one million people have directly died as a result of conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia.

The report released on May 15 noted that at least 3.6 to 3.7 million of the casualties were “indirect” deaths caused by a variety of factors such as failed economies, extreme poverty, malnutrition, disease, destroyed health infrastructure, environmental contamination, and reverberating trauma and violence.

After more than two decades, the number of direct and indirect war victims from ongoing worldwide conflicts continues to rise, according to the research.

“These wars are ongoing for millions around the world who are living with and dying from their effects,” it said, detailing how women and children “suffer the brunt of the impact.”

“A death from hunger mostly occurs at some distance from this attention to spectacle and it may happen months or years after war disrupts access to food. Often, people affected by war are displaced and transient, making them hard to track.”

The report added that “indirect deaths are devastating, not least because so many of them could be prevented, were it not for war.”

The research also stated that it is difficult to distinguish between indirect war death causes and those that may have happened in areas where people already face high rates of poverty, sickness, and starvation.

It singled out the United States for its participation in several post-9/11 wars, notably the losses in Afghanistan over the previous two decades.

Despite the fact that the US conducted a catastrophic withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021, Afghans are “suffering and dying from war-related causes at higher rates than ever.”

The US invasion and occupation of Iraq left many civilians dead.

The study also urged Washington to make reparations for the harm caused by post-9/11 wars, stating that “reparations, though not easy or cheap, are imperative.”

“The report’s goal is to build greater awareness of the fuller human costs of these wars and support calls for the United States and other governments to alleviate the ongoing losses and suffering of millions in current and former war zones,” it said.

Stephanie Savell, the report’s author and co-director of the Consequences of War project, also stated that “there are reverberating costs, the human cost of war, that people in the United States, for the most part, don’t really know enough about or think about.”

According to the author, the researchers used the Geneva Declaration Secretariat’s average ratio of four indirect deaths for every one direct death, and while that ratio may be lower in Iraq, it would be higher in Yemen or Afghanistan, so the ratio was deemed accurate to arrive at the “reasonable and conservative” estimate of 4.5-4.6 million.

20 Years of War: How Much Did
The US War in Iraq, Syria Cost?
Al Mayadeen

Study estimates that the war cost $2.89 trillion
and over 500,000 lives in Iraq and Syria

 (March 1, 2023) — The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, an interdisciplinary think-tank affiliated with Brown University, published a 27-page research paper that investigated the total costs of the US war in both Iraq and Syria, under the title Blood and Treasure: United States Budgetary costs and human costs of 20 years of war in Iraq and Syria, 2003-2023. 

The estimated $2.89 trillion cost of the conflict and the over 500,000 lives lost in Iraq and Syria are both examined in the paper. Additionally, it states that this budgetary sum accounts for expenses spent up to this point, which are projected to total $1.79 trillion, as well as expenses for veterans’ care through 2050.

Between 550,000 and 580,000 people have been killed in Iraq and Syria, the current theaters of the American so-called Operation Inherent Resolve, since the US invaded Iraq in 2003, according to the paper, with many more likely succumbing from indirect causes like preventable diseases.

It states that more than 7 million people from Iraq and Syria are currently refugees, and nearly 8 million people are internally displaced in the two countries.

The Watson Institute paper also estimates that between 2003 and 2021, US military activities in the conflict zone released 98 to 122 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (MMTCO2e), which is equal to 12 to 15% of the DOD’s overall operational greenhouse gas emissions.

The report mentions that most allies and US forces left Iraq in 2011, but the US returned to significant military operations in Iraq and Syria in late 2014 in fighting that was undertaken to allegedly remove ISIS from territory it had seized in those two countries. It is estimated that the war continued, with a nearly $400 million budget request from the Biden Administration this month to allegedly counter ISIS.

On that note, it is worth mentioning that the US presence in Syria played a bigger role in looting than anything else. The US occupation forces continued to steal Syrian oil, as they took on tanks filled with quantities of oil they stole in January from the fields of Al-Hasakah countryside and transported them to their bases in Iraq.

“Today, the US occupation forces took out tanks filled with quantities of oil that they stole from the lands of Al-Hasakah countryside, and transported them to northern Iraq through the illegal Al-Mahmudiya crossing,” local sources from Al-Yaarubiah countryside in Al-Hasakah told SANA on January 14.

“The US occupation forces, with the help of the SDF, sent in batches a convoy consisting of 53 tanks loaded with stolen Syrian oil through the Al-Mahmudiya illegal crossing to their bases in Iraqi territory,” the sources added.

On January 5, local sources from Al-Yaarubiah countryside in Al-Hasakah told SANA that “a convoy of 36 tanks loaded with stolen Syrian oil was taken today by the US occupation forces to their bases in northern Iraq, through the Al-Mahmudiya illegal crossing in the far eastern countryside of Al-Hasakah.”

It is worth noting that in mid-December, Syria’s Foreign and Expatriates Ministry said in a statement that the US occupation forces and their affiliated military groups’ systematic lootings of Syrian oil, wheat, and other national resources have amounted to direct losses valued at $25.9 billion and indirect losses valued at over $86 billionSANA reported.

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