Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – At least 4.5 million people have died as a consequence of wars that have raged across North Africa and the Middle East since the 9/11 attacks on U.S. soil in 2001, according to new research from the Costs of War project at Brown University’s Watson Institute.
The Cost of War project conservatively estimated up to 3.6 million indirect deaths from the post-9/11 wars, caused by economic collapse, food insecurity, destruction of public health facilities, environmental contamination, and recurring violence.
That number adds to the 906,000 to 937,000 killed as a direct consequence of the wars across Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia, according to the Cost of War project.
The project does not ascribe blame to a country because the wars in the Middle East and Africa have involved multiple warring parties, rival nations and complicated geopolitics.
Stephanie Savell, the Costs of War co-director and author of the report, said in countries like Afghanistan, which U.S. troops occupied for roughly 20 years, the “pressing question is whether any death can today be considered unrelated to war.”
“Wars often kill far more people indirectly than in direct combat, particularly young children,” Savell said in a statement. “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,” Savell continued. “The U.S. government could do far more than it currently is to act on this responsibility.”
U.S. lawmakers this year have vigorously debated the global military presence, with Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) forcing the House to vote on resolutions to withdraw troops from Somalia and Syria, both of which failed.
At least 7.6 million children younger than 5 are suffering from acute malnutrition in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, according to the new report from the Cost of War project.
Brown University launched the Cost of War project in 2011 to document the toll of the U.S. war on terrorism across the world.
American wars are for arms companies profit and defending human rights is a tool for violating itself.