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The Costs of War Since 2001- Iraq, Afghanistan, And Pakistan - June 2011 - Brown University

The Costs of War Since 2001- Iraq, Afghanistan, And Pakistan - June 2011 - Brown University

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THE COSTS OF WAR SINCE 2001:IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, AND PAKISTAN
EXECUTIVE SUMMARYEisenhower Study GroupEisenhower Research ProjectJune 2011
 
Executive SummaryThe Costs of WarEisenhower Study Group
 As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war — as onewho knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years — I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight. As we peer into society's future, we — you and I, and our government — must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage thematerial assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their  political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all  generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Farewell Address, January 1961
 
Ten Years, 225,000 Killed,and More than $3.2 - 4 Trillion Spent and Obligated to Date
 Nearly every government that goes to war underestimates its duration, neglects to tally all thecosts, and overestimates the political objectives that can be accomplished by the use of bruteforce. Eisenhower knew this, but we could have earlier found this truth in the record of war fromThucydides'
 History of the Peloponnesian War 
to Barbara Tuchman's account of World War I,
The Guns of August 
.
 
Over this long nearly ten years, the United States launched two major wars and engaged inthe largest reorganization of its government since the Great Depression. A new weapon, theremotely piloted "drone" aircraft was sent to kill militants in Yemen and Pakistan. More than 2.2million Americans have gone to war and over a million have returned as veterans. Some whohave returned have been honored, a small number have been tried for war crimes, and too manyhave committed suicide. Americans debated the costs of civil liberties lost at home and cringedat revelations of torture in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo. U.S. generals have switchedstrategies several times and most recently decided to emphasize "population protection" becausethey realized that, in the words of the new counterinsurgency manual, "An operation that killsinsurgents is counterproductive if collateral damage leads to the recruitment of fifty moreinsurgents."
1
But it is the wounded and the dead – the latter very conservatively estimated at
1
United States Army and Marine Corp,
U.S. Army/Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manuel: Field Manual no. 3-24: Marine Corp Warfighting Publication no. 3-33.5
(Chicago:University of Chicago, 2007) I-141, p. 45.
 
 2225,000 and the great majority civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan – who most urgentlyrequire that we not simply turn the page.It is appropriate as we approach the ten-year mark to recall some of the costs we may haveforgotten and to assess what has not been counted, cannot be counted, and the human andeconomic costs that will come due in the next decades.What have the wars that the U.S. has undertaken since September 2001 cost in blood andtreasure, opportunities lost and possibilities foreclosed? What are the ongoing consequences for the people who fought them, for bystanders, for democracy, human rights, and civil liberties, for the American economy, budget, and the deficit? How has the social and political landscape of Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan been altered? What do we know about the likely future costs of the wars?We found that in terms of those values that could be counted in dollars and in numbers, thecosts of war have been generally underestimated or uncounted. One reason for our underestimation of the costs and consequences of these wars, and their likely duration, was thefact that most assessments of the wars only examined one or two elements of the wars.Additionally, disagreements about who, what and how to count — about how to record the deathand injury in war or about whether future interest costs should be included as a war cost — hassometimes been the focus of attention, drawing our eyes away from the big picture and into theintricate and complicated details.For example, although the U.S. has been funding Pakistan to fight militants since 2001 andfighting there itself, many of the costs of the U.S. war in Pakistan have not been included intallies of war costs. This is despite the fact that the death and displacement in Pakistan is as or more severe than the war in Afghanistan.Thus, while we often think of these wars as discrete efforts, and divide the costs intocategories, the budgetary costs and human toll are much larger if we total the costs and think notonly of costs to the U.S. and its allies, but to the civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.Further, we found that although the consequences of wars do not end when the fighting stops andthe troops go home, many of the future costs and consequences of these wars have not beencounted or have been discounted or dismissed. Many bills will become due over the next severaldecades. Many social and political costs — to families and civil liberties — could not bequantified. We also found that the more we looked, the more costs of these wars were to befound, only some of which we had the time and resources to investigate and include.
Human Costs
The human toll — in death, injury and displacement — has been underestimated and in somecases undercounted. There are many difficulties in counting those who are killed and wounded incombat, as discussed in the individual reports by Neta Crawford and Catherine Lutz. Thus, anextremely
conservative
estimate of the toll in direct war dead and wounded is about 225,000 deadand about 365,000 physically wounded in these wars so far.More than 6,000 U.S. soldiers and 2,300 U.S. contractors have already been killed. Thedeaths of U.S. allies, including Iraqi and Afghan security forces and other coalition partners totalmore than 20,000. The numbers of Afghan and Pakistani military and police killed are probablyhigher than the totals given here.

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