Post-9/11 US Conflicts Killed Over 4.5 Million People

The author of a study on the people killed indirectly by the War on Terror calls on the U.S. to step up reconstruction and assistance efforts in post-9/11 war zones. 

Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. (Filetime, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons)

By Brett Wilkins
Common Dreams

The post-9/11 War on Terror may have caused at least 4.5 million deaths in around half a dozen countries, according to a report published Monday by the preeminent academic institution studying the costs, casualties, and consequences of a war in which U.S. bombs and bullets are still killing and wounding people in multiple nations.

The new report from the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs shows “how death outlives war” by examining people killed indirectly by the War on Terror in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.

“In a place like Afghanistan, the pressing question is whether any death can today be considered unrelated to war,” Stephanie Savell, Costs of War co-director and author of the report, said in a statement. “Wars often kill far more people indirectly than in direct combat, particularly young children.”

The publication “reviews the latest research to examine the causal pathways that have led to an estimated 3.6-3.7 million indirect deaths in post-9/11 war zones,” while “the total death toll in these war zones could be at least 4.5-4.6 million and counting, though the precise mortality figure remains unknown.”

As The Washington Post — which first reported on the analysis — details:

“Since 2010, a team of 50 scholars, legal experts, human rights practitioners, and physicians participating in theCosts of War project have kept their own calculations. According to their latest assessment, more than 906,000 people, including 387,000 civilians, died directly from post-9/11 wars. Another 38 million people have been displaced or made refugees. The U.S. federal government, meanwhile, has spent over $8 trillion on these wars, the research suggests.

But Savell said the research indicates that exponentially more people, especially children and the most impoverished and marginalized populations, have been killed by the effects of war—mounting poverty, food insecurity, environmental contamination, the ongoing trauma of violence, and the destruction of health and public infrastructure, along with private property and means of livelihood.”

According to the report, “The large majority of indirect war deaths occur due to malnutrition, pregnancy and birth-related problems, and many illnesses including infectious diseases and noncommunicable diseases like cancer.”

One 2012 study found that more than half of the babies born in the Iraqi city of Fallujah between 2007 and 2010 had birth defects. Among the pregnant woman surveyed in the study, more than 45 percent experienced miscarriages in the two-year period following the 2004 U.S. assaults on Fallujah. Geiger counter readings of depleted uranium-contaminated sites in densely populated Iraqi urban areas have consistently shown radiation levels that are 1,000 to 1,900 times higher than normal.

The study also found that some deaths “also result from injuries due to war’s destruction of infrastructure such as traffic signals and from reverberating trauma and interpersonal violence.”

Savell said that “warring parties who damage infrastructure with an impact on population health have a moral responsibility to provide quick and effective assistance and repairs.”

“The United States government, while not solely responsible for the damage, has a significant obligation to invest in humanitarian assistance and reconstruction in post-9/11 war zones,” she added. “The U.S. government could do far more than it currently is to act on this responsibility.”

This article is from  Common Dreams.

The views expressed in this article and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.


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10 comments for “Post-9/11 US Conflicts Killed Over 4.5 Million People

  1. Realist
    May 18, 2023 at 13:55

    The American government is not kidding me, nor itself, when it postures as the totally holy, uber-patriotic and beneficent paragon of justice and self-sacrifice that slaughters millions reluctantly and unintentionally, though always more efficiently, to enforce its will and meet its demands which help no one except for a handful of powerful oligarchs that identify, groom, choose, and own essentially the entire government from top to bottom at the local, state and national levels. It would be an amusing reductio ad absurdum if it were not so horridly sardonic that the most powerful industrial interests left in this gutted and crumbling country (the military industrial complex), otherwise withering to robust international competition, exist in order to protect their own existence.

    The most potent and influential force still residing in this country expends the most money and sucks up the most highly specialized and educated talent on the cutting edge of science (and from the four corners of the earth) to eliminate all potential foreign competition in weapons development and sales in order to provide itself with all the business needed to remain the largest consumer (i.e., squanderer) of natural resources and generator of so-called “wealth” in the form of fiat currency petro-bucks, entities that will cease to have any real value when all else of any use has been industrially harvested, processed and converted into them. Once they have all the money on earth, there will be nothing worth buying with it, rendering it now worthless.

    But, like Madeline Albright, they will claim that it was all worth it, as they “won” the absurd game they invented, no matter if everyone is dead as a consequence. Oh, and if the enemy’s Kinzhal or Zircon missiles blow their Patriot missiles out of the sky, they will just lie about it and claim the opposite even though elementary physics would preclude it. Sorry, but, from the view of a sane observer, none of the post 9-11 American bloodfest has been worth it, and we are yet to pay the price, which, when it comes, I hope is limited to the bloody leadership responsible–though that is exactly what the monsters will seek to share with the people.

  2. Vera Gottlieb
    May 18, 2023 at 11:48

    And as expected…the US will continue to ‘flip the bird’ to the entire world. No morals, no remorse, no ethics, no integrity…but always ready/willing to point accusing fingers at others. Makes one want to puke…

  3. susan
    May 18, 2023 at 08:46

    So, it’s okay for the USA to murder millions of people world-wide and it’s okay for American citizens to carry AR-15s to use at will – but it’s not okay for a woman to have an abortion for rape and/or incest? Hummm…

  4. WillD
    May 17, 2023 at 23:37

    Deliberate killings of military personnel and collateral mass murder of civilians. And assassinations and torture.

    The US cannot argue that the casualties of its interventions and wars were accidental or unavoidable. That makes them murder in my view.

  5. Roslyn Ross
    May 17, 2023 at 21:39

    The US is broke and cannot rebuild itself let alone nations it has destroyed.

    • Realist
      May 18, 2023 at 15:03

      If it had any real money for “reparations” (other than in the bank accounts of the ultra-rich which is always untouchable), seems it would make more sense to compensate the still-living victims (as in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Ukraine) rather than dishing out lucre to modern proxies of generations already dead for 150 years.

      Ukraine should have the best case for damages against the United States for goading them into the current bloodfest merely to damage Russia so it might be picked clean for its treasure and resources. Idiot boy Biden personally spelled out precisely that his object was to topple Putin, fragment Russia and go back to plundering the spoils that Putin had ended. Convicted by his own words, just as in the case of the Nordstream sabotage against Germany. The only compensation Uncle Sam intends to provide Ukraine for sacrificing an entire generation of young men is the $ 300 billion he stole from Russian accounts in foreign banks, plus even more from yachts, mansions and other properties owned in the West by Russian oligarchs. No criminal offense required–just Russian citizenship. Otherwise, the American corporations like Cargill and Monsanto will simply keep all the properties they already “purchased” from the brazenly swindled Ukies. Sam thinks he can collude with Nazis behind the scenes to foment a real insurrection (Nuland’s Coup), a civil war (vs Donbas), a border war (current fiasco), genocide, grand theft, collapse of the entire European economy and then just walk away without a fare-thee-well after all the death, destruction, societal collapse and blatant theft that he directly precipitated. Sam will say, blame Putin and Russia, but Putin and Russia were only defending the lives of the ethnic Russians in the Donbas being genocided by Ukraine after their declaration of independence. Nope, the whole bill should be on Sam. Russia should even get compensation for the losses and expenditures it incurred during the US-provoked wars. That will be the day in a world without any true global justice system–or any impartiality in the pathetic facsimile of a real ICJ in the Hague which simply carries out American dictates.

  6. vinnieoh
    May 17, 2023 at 15:43

    “Among the pregnant woman (in Fallujah, Iraq) surveyed in the study, more than 45 percent experienced miscarriages in the two-year period following the 2004 U.S. assaults on Fallujah.”

    and then

    “The U.S. government could do far more than it currently is to act on this responsibility.”

    Indeed, in the current atmosphere of quasi-religious idiocy burning through the halls of Congress I can hear the hue and cry to further condemn Islam for “letting” all these miscarriages proceed.

    /sarc off. The point remains though that I CAN IMAGINE the whack jobs of the Christian Nationalist bent turning this reality on its head, just like this.

    I do not believe that the 4.5m figure is inaccurate. I can believe that it might even be more. And if there truly were justice in this world there’d be a whole lot of Americans from the highest to the lowest in prison for life for what was done to Fallujah.

    • Alan
      May 18, 2023 at 12:52

      The “quasi religious idiocy” in the halls of congress is not Christian nationalism as you speculate , rather it’s can be attributed to predatory Zionism (imo) .
      People who love this country , respect the founding principles and just happen to adhere to Christian beliefs our not our enemy.
      Aside from profit and control the perpetrators real agenda may be in maximizing death and suffering especially of innocents.
      Several authors have researched that at the core is the Saturn Death Cult – which symbols include both the Pentagon and the hexagram…

  7. Joan Henry
    May 17, 2023 at 13:32

    When you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging.

    In this case, it might be a good idea if we stopped making new war zones? Just a thought. A radical thought for a nation that only proposes escalation of every conflict.

    And perhaps do more than pretend to care about the people who live in the war zone known as America.? The same people who declared war on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen etc., that Establishment also declared war upon the American people long ago. Or perhaps that is not visible from the ivory tower?

    • Anon
      May 18, 2023 at 00:32

      Agree… military adventureism abroad seems prelude to application domestically… First Amendment rights to self expression and group assembly particularly under attack nearly every local jurisdiction…

Comments are closed.