The cost of the U.S. military campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan includes the loss of 225,000 lives and up to four billion dollars in spending, according to a study released this morning by Brown University.
The report, “Costs of War,” was done by the Watson Institute for International Studies and is the most ambitious effort to date to calculate the costs of the war decisions the United States has made since the attacks of September 2001.
The figures include the costs the government has incurred in regard to its men and women in uniform and the contractors and civilians who participate in the military campaigns. It also takes into account the “invisible costs” that medical attention for active soldiers and future veterans will require.
The study states that at least $3.2 billion have been spent in the last ten years, although that figure could possibly be closer to four billion.
The authors of the study point out that the figure does not include the “substantial probable future interest” related to the debt acquired to finance military campaigns.
“There are many costs and consequences of war that cannot be quantified, and the consequences of wars don’t end when the fighting stops,” said Neta Crawford, a professor at Boston University and co-author of the study.
The report categorically refutes the figure that U.S. President Barack Obama recently presented as the total cost of the wars, a number that only reached one billion dollars.
More than 31,000 uniformed personnel and military contractors have died to date in the American wars, including security forces in Iraq and Afghanistan who have allied themselves with the United States. On the same note, according to a conservative calculation, 137,000 civilians have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.
However, the authors clarify that evaluations of the severity of wounds sustained by those returning from the battlefield do not exist.
In addition, the wars have created more than 7.8 million refugees among the populations of Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The report states another cost of war: the “erosions in civil liberties at home and human rights violations abroad.”
The report explains that even though it was expected that the United States invasions would lead to democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq, both states continue to have low levels of political liberties.
It pointed out that tribal warriors maintain their power in Afghan territory with United States support, and there are Iraqi communities that are more segregated in terms of gender and ethnicity now than before the war.
“The human and economic costs of these wars will continue for decades, some costs not peaking until mid-century,” the study emphasized.