Cost of Wars Exceeds $5.9 Trillion

A U.S. Army carry team moves the transfer case holding the remains of Major Brent Taylor, a member of the Utah Army National Guard, upon its arrival at Dover Air Force Base on November 6 in Dover, Delaware. Taylor, the 39-year-old mayor of North Ogden, Utah, was killed November 3 in Afghanistan. (Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images)U.S. war operations around the world have cost more than $5.9 trillion since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to a study issued Nov. 14 by the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. The report notes that the estimate “differs substantially” from lower figures released by the Pentagon because the new study includes not only war appropriations made to the Defense Department but also spending across the federal government that is a consequence of these wars, including past and obligated spending for war veterans’ care, interest on the debt incurred to pay for the wars, and the prevention of and response to terrorism by the Department of Homeland Security. A related report on Nov. 8 estimates that deaths in the various wars totaled at least 480,000, including almost 7,000 U.S. servicemembers, almost 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 author of the two reports is Neta Crawford, a political science professor at Boston University who is a project director for the Watson Institute’s Costs of War Project, a team of 35 scholars, legal experts, human rights practitioners, and physicians.—TERRY ATLAS