The Cost Of Post 9/11 Wars Hit $5.9 Trillion
By Claudia Grisales
November 15, 2018 “Information Clearing House” – WASHINGTON — The price for America’s longest wars has surpassed more than $5.9 trillion and at least 480,000 lost lives, according to a new study released by the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University.
The figures highlight the toll of U.S. war operations around the world since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and the study projects the numbers could rise.
“It’s important for the American people to understand the true costs of war, both the moral and monetary costs,” said Sen. Jack Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, who helped introduce the report Wednesday at a meeting on Capitol Hill. “Our nation continues to finance wars and military operations through borrowing, rather than asking people to contribute to the national defense directly, and the result is a serious fiscal drag that we’re not really accounting for or factoring into deliberations about fiscal policy or military policy.”
The study’s death estimates include nearly 7,000 U.S. service members, nearly 8,000 U.S. contractors, more than 100,0000 military and police members from other countries, more than 244,000 civilians and more than 100,000 opposition fighters.
The $5.9 trillion U.S. cost includes Pentagon spending through fiscal year 2019, such as direct and indirect spending as well as future war-related costs for post-9/11 war veterans. It represents U.S. spending in the war zones of Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other locations designated as “overseas contingency operations.”
It also includes war-related spending by other agencies, such as the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security, costs of veterans care as well as debt used to pay for the wars.
“Veterans benefits and disability spending, and the cost of interest on borrowing to pay for the wars, will comprise an increasingly large share of the costs,” said Neta Crawford, a political science professor at the institute, who authored the study.
The institute’s “Costs of War” project, with 35 scholars, legal experts, human rights practitioners and physicians, began tracking the costs of the post-9/11 wars in 2011 and continues to release updated reports. The group, which does its work through Brown University, said it uses research and public data to facilitate greater transparency of the actual toll of the wars.
Even if the wars were to end by 2023, the United States is on track to spend an additional $808 billion, bringing the overall tally to at least $6.7 trillion, according to the study. That doesn’t include future interest payments on the spending.
War appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan are funded by deficit spending and borrowing, and not new taxes or war bonds, the study notes. This adds to interest costs, it concludes.
Those interest payments could shift with the winds of the economy and other factors, with some pundits estimating those fees alone could total trillions.
“The U.S. continues to fund the wars by borrowing, so this is a conservative estimate of the consequences of funding the war as if on a credit card, in which we are only paying interest even as we continue to spend,” Crawford said.
Tracking an overall cost for the post-9/11 wars is challenging because different departments take part in the spending.
In March 2018, the Defense Department estimated it had spent $1.5 trillion in war-related appropriations, but that only includes a portion of all war spending, the study argued.
With no single number for the budgetary costs of the wars, it makes assessing costs, risks and benefits difficult, Crawford said. Because taxpayers tend to focus on direct military spending, it discounts the larger budgetary costs of the wars and underestimates its greater significance, she added.
“In sum, high costs in war and war-related spending pose a national security concern because they are unsustainable,” Crawford said. “The public would be better served by increased transparency and by the development of a comprehensive strategy to end the wars and deal with other urgent national security priorities.”
The study also tallied the number of soldiers and sailors injured in the wars. Since 2001, more than 53,700 U.S. servicemembers have been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of those injuries, 62 percent were hurt in Iraq, while 38 percent were injured in Afghanistan.
Though the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq has been less intense than in recent years, the toll of civilians killed in Afghanistan in 2018 is on track to be one of the highest death tolls of the war, Crawford said in her study.
Most of these war deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have been caused by militants, but some of them are at the hands of the United States and its coalition partners, Crawford said.
Yet, the tally remains incomplete, and there are efforts by the United Nations to track and identify perpetrators of those deaths and injuries, she noted. Other organizations, such as the Congressional Research Service and the news media, are also attempting to track these figures.
“Indeed, we may never know the total direct death toll in these wars,” she said.
In addition, this tally does not include “indirect deaths” — people harmed as a result of long-term damage left in the war zones, such as lost access to food and water.
“This update just scratches the surface of the human consequences of 17 years of war,” Crawford said. “There are a number of areas — the number of civilians killed and injured, and the number of U.S. military and veteran suicides, for instance — where greater transparency would lead to greater accountability and could lead to better policy.”
firstname.lastname@example.org – Twitter: @cgrisales
BY THE NUMBERS
A Brown University study has found the human and financial costs of the post-9/11 wars continue to rise. These are some statistics highlighted in the report:
The U.S. government is conducting counterterrorism activities in 76 countries
More than 244,000 civilians have been killed as a result of the fighting
More than 480,000 have died due to direct war violence, and several times as many indirectly
The wars have created 10.1 million refugees and displaced persons
The U.S. cost for the post-9/11 wars is more than $5.9 trillion
Published on Jul 19, 2015
This video encapsulates the ridiculous assertions of the “official” story for those who believe the Government’s version about what happened on 9/11. It was also created to honor those who lost loved ones as a direct or indirect result of 9/11 in the hopes that the real criminals will be brought to justice.
Special thanks to James Corbett for granting permission to use his script for the making of this video.
Why has the British Ministry of Defence Tried to Ban Its Own Book on Afghanistan?
By Matt Carr
Global Research, April 17, 2014
Matt Carr’s Infernal Machine 13 April 2014
Attempts by democratic governments to ban books rarely work out well. If the book is banned on grounds of public morality (Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Tropic of Cancer), then the writer nearly always wins in the end and the government that tried to suppress their work is likely to end up looking puritanical, cloven-footed and often pig-ignorant.
If, like Peter Wright’s Spycatcher, the book is banned on ‘political’ or national security grounds then it is immediately going to attract a great deal more media interest than it might otherwise have done, so that if one publisher drops it another is likely to pick it up. When the Thatcher government tried to ban Spycatcher under the Official Secrets it ended up looking ridiculous and impotent when the book was published abroad – even in Scotland – for three years before the ban was lifted, so that anyone who wanted to know what was in it could find out.
Rather than silencing books, such efforts tend to generate more curiosity about them. And attempts at censorship and prohibition are almost guaranteed to attract attention when a government tries to ban a book that it has commissioned itself, as was the case last week, when the Ministry of Defense attempted to block the publication of An Intimate War – An Oral History of the Helmand Conflict 1978-2013, on the grounds that it breached the Official Secrets Act.
What makes this effort so extraordinary was the fact that the book was written by Dr. Mike Martin, a former captain in the Territorial Army, who was commissioned three years ago by the army to write a study of British military operations in Helmand. That study became a Phd dissertation, which the MoD has had in its possession for 14 months. Yet it is only in February that it raised objections to its content, to the point when Martin resigned his ten-year commission in order to be able to publish the book.
To its credit, Martin’s publisher Hurst & Co has gone ahead with publication, even though it was reduced to handing out flyers instead of hardbacks at the presentation of his book at Kings College London last Thursday. I should confess at this point that I have a dog in this hunt. Hurst is also my publisher, and I am proud to be associated with a company that has refused to buckle in the face of such idiotic and ham-fisted official pressure, which shames the army and the British government.
Read full article here
The Twitter equivalent of a bickering married couple, Times newspaper columnist David Aaronovitch and Huffington Post Political Editor Mehdi Hasan, recently alighted on a point of agreement during one of their regular Twitter exchanges.
The US/Nato invasion of Afghanistan was “UN-sanctioned,” they both said.
But are they right? With British forces formally handing over the military command of Helmand to US forces, it seems a good point to look at the legal status of the bombing and invasion in October 2001.
Written in 2010, the official House of Commons Library briefing paper on the subject provides interesting reading:
“The military campaign in Afghanistan was not specifically mandated by the UN, but was widely (although not universally) perceived to be a legitimate form of self-defence under the UN Charter.”
The paper goes on to explain that Article 2(4) of the UN Charter prohibits the “threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”
The accepted exceptions to this are where the security council authorises military action or where it is in self-defence under Article 51 of the Charter.
As the paper alludes, the UN security council did not authorise the military attack on Afghanistan.
Furthermore, there is reason to believe the US and Britain’s citing of Article 51 is suspect too.
Writing a month into the invasion, Marjorie Cohn, a professor of law at California’s Thomas Jefferson School of Law and a former president of the US National Lawyers Guild, described the US and
British attack as “a patently illegal use of armed force.”
The bombing was not a legitimate form of self-defence under Article 51 for two reasons, according to Cohn.
First, “the attacks in New York and Washington DC were criminal attacks, not ‘armed attacks’ by another state.” Indeed, as Frank Ledwidge argues in his new book Investment In Blood: The True
Cost Of Britain’s Afghan War, “the Taliban certainly were not aware of the 9/11 plot, and equally certainly would not have approved even if they had been.”
Cohn’s second criticism is that “there was not an imminent threat of an armed attack on the US after September 11, or the US would not have waited three weeks before initiating its bombing campaign.”
Michael Mandel, professor of law at Osgoode Hall Law School, is in agreement on the latter point, arguing: “The right of unilateral self-defence does not include the right to retaliate once an attack has stopped.”
Even if one were to agree the West’s attack was legitimate under Article 51, the House of Commons Library paper notes proportionality is central to the use of force in self-defence.
“It may not be considered proportionate to produce the same amount of damage” as the initial attack, the paper notes.
Writing in November 2001, Brian Foley, professor of law at Florida Coastal School of Law, maintained “these attacks on Afghanistan most likely do not stand up as proportional to the threat of terrorism on US soil.”
Having undertaken a systematic study of press reports and eyewitness accounts, Professor Marc Herold from the University of Hampshire found more civilians were killed during “Operation Enduring Freedom” than died on September 11 2001.
Moreover, the House of Commons Library briefing paper inadvertently highlights the crux of the issue.
“The USA might conceivably have gained specific legal support from the security council for its action in Afghanistan, but in the end did not seek such a resolution.”
With much of the world standing in sympathy alongside the US, why didn’t the US try to get UN security council authorisation for its attack on Afghanistan?
“An immediate need after 9/11 was to recover imperial prestige swiftly and decisively,” argue Sonali Kolhatkar and James Ingalls in their book Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords And The Propaganda Of Silence.
Speaking just after the bombing had started, the anti-Taliban Afghan resistance leader Abdul Haq concurred with this reason for the attack.
“The US is trying to show its muscle, score a victory and scare everyone in the world.”
The last thing a nation attempting to “recover imperial prestige” would want to be seen doing is asking the United Nations for permission to act — a sure sign of weakness to the watching world.
The likely illegality of the 2001 attack on Afghanistan remains one of the biggest secrets of the so-called “war on terror.”
No overt censorship is needed, just an intellectual culture and corporate-dominated journalism that has — often heated — discussion within a narrow set of factual and ideological boundaries.
But while it is perhaps right to be forgiving of those who lost their critical faculties during those days of high emotion immediately after September 11 2001, how should we judge the ignorance of two award-winning journalists repeating the official deception 13 years later?
Ian Sinclair is the author of The March That Shook Blair: An Oral History Of 15 February 2003, published by Peace News Press.
See more at: http://xrepublic.tv/node/7724#sthash.Yw6TiZGb.dpuf
Monday, March 3, 2014 – 17:27
OPINION: Afganistan remains a dismal country after 12 years of Western occupation. A United Nations report finds that it is once again becoming a narco-state, with a huge rise in opium poppy cultivation. Corruption is rampant. The Karzai Government controls only a small part of the country. Torture is widely used. The Western intervention in Afghanistan, in which New Zealand played an important role, comes to a dismal end.
The invasion of the country after September 11 was justified and New Zealand was right to back it. The Taliban Government was sheltering Al Qaeda, the terrorist group which had committed the outrage in New York. The United States and its Western partners were justified in responding.
Read the rest of the article here
Thursday, 19 December 2013, 10:12 am
Press Release: New Zealand Government
Hon Murray McCully
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Defence
19 December 2013
NZ to maintain support as Afghanistan mission transitions
New Zealand will maintain its current level of support for international efforts in Afghanistan until December 2014, the Government says.
Twenty seven New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel are currently deployed in behind-the-wire roles based in Kabul, including at the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters, ISAF Special Operations Forces headquarters, and Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA).
“The Government has reviewed the mandate for these deployments, which is due to expire next April. Our 27 personnel will remain in Afghanistan to December 2014 to support the final stages of the ISAF mission,” Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says.
The ISAF mission will be replaced by a training, advice and assistance mission.
“As previously announced, a small number of personnel are expected to remain at the UK-led Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA) in roles focused on training assistance and capacity building beyond 2014,” Dr Coleman says.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says New Zealand’s work in Afghanistan is business as usual.
“New Zealand remains committed to fulfilling our role as part of the ISAF mission to secure the gains made in Afghanistan over the last decade.
“New Zealand will continue to make financial and development contributions to Afghanistan. The nature of those contributions has not been finalised.”