[pjw] INFO: "War on Terror" study featured on NPR show

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Tue Mar 2 18:02:04 EST 2021

Iraq Affinity Group supporters:

In the report back on Friday's rally I mentioned the Brown University 
study about the "War on Terror" that led to an article in USA Today.

This morning the NPR-syndicated show "Here and Now" featured an interview 
with one of the study's authors, encapsulated in the below article. It's 
worth a read and/or a listen.
--dan handelman
peace and justice works iraq affinity group

The Cost Of U.S. Counterterrorism Efforts: More Than 800,000 Lives And $6.4
Trillion, Research Finds

    New research shows the U.S. conducted counterterrorism operations in 85
    countries from 2018 to 2020.

    The [33]data comes from the Costs of War Project at Brown University's
    Watson Institute. Researcher [34]Stephanie Savell, co-director of the
    project, says U.S. troops engaged in combat on the ground in 8
    countries during this period including Somalia, Mali and Yemen.

    In Kenya, a [35]2020 raid by the fundamentalist group Al-Shabaab on an
    airfield in Manda Bay -- an important military base for U.S.
    counterterrorism efforts in Somalia -- killed one American service
    member and two contractors, Savell says.

    The same year, a [36]hostage rescue mission in Nigeria left six of the
    captors dead. The U.S. stepped in quickly out of fear that the captors
    would sell the American hostage to a local affiliate of al-Qaida or
    ISIS, she says.

    The data also shows the U.S. carried out air or drone strikes in seven
    other countries. The U.S. now relies more heavily on drone strikes and
    missile strikes compared to ground troops, she says.

    The number of drone strikes spiked in places such as Somalia during the
    Trump administration, she says. Air and drone strikes also occurred in
    Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Syria and Yemen.

    Researchers looked through public records and investigative journalism
    to identify counterterrorism operations. But Savell says there could be
    more counterterrorism efforts that the public doesn't know about.

    The U.S. government isn't always transparent about counterterror
    operations, she says.

    "I think of it as an octopus: The head of the counterterror operations
    [is] in the Middle East," she says. "And then there's dozens of
    tentacles stretching all across the globe from Mali to the Philippines
    -- all these places where we're undertaking operations that the
    American public really just doesn't usually find out about."

    In addition to combat and airstrikes, the report counts a range of
    efforts as counterterrorism operations including training police to
    better combat terrorism or installing a border patrol system connected
    to a global terrorist database.

    Researchers found the U.S. conducted counterterrorism military
    exercises such as training foreign troops in 41 countries. The
    Department of Defense, Department of State, Department of Justice and
    Department of Homeland Security carried out training and assistance in
    counterterrorism in 79 countries, according to the data.

    China is often regarded as the biggest threat to the U.S. but the East
    Asian country's military reach pales in comparison. China's only
    overseas military is in Africa.

    China is cutting economic deals and investing in roads and
    infrastructure to build influence -- a vastly different strategy from
    the U.S., Savell says.

    "The U.S. is relying on this very old-fashioned approach of a kind of
    empire-like physical presence," she says. "We hear a lot about the
    Pentagon shifting its strategic focus to competition with Russia and
    China rather than counterterrorism. But if you look at the physical
    kind of footprint of where these actions are taking place all around
    the world, you see that there's yet to be a corresponding drawdown of
    the counterterror apparatus."

    This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The Costs of
    War Project found that [37]800,000 people have died in Iraq,
    Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria and Yemen since the U.S. launched the war
    on terror, Savell says.

    That number only includes lives directly lost "through bombs and
    bullets" in major hotspots, Savell says. Countless more people have
    died due to displacement, loss of livelihood or infrastructure, and
    increased disease, she says.

    The U.S. has spent $6.4 trillion on the war on terror since 2001, the
    Costs of War Project finds. The figure includes money spent caring for
    veterans of the post-9/11 wars and interest accrued on the borrowed
    money that funds these "credit-card wars," Savell says. She predicts
    the total cost will be close to $7 trillion in the project's next

    "It's just a huge amount of taxpayer money, so much that it's affecting
    every other budget item in this country," she says. "So if you think
    about the spending that we are able to do on things like the pandemic
    and anything else, housing, you name it, it's all being squeezed by the
    amount of money that we spend on the military and on these post-9/11

    More terrorist groups exist now compared to before 9/11, she says, and
    these groups recruit more people in more parts of the world. The data
    shows that the U.S. needs to rethink whether the post 9/11 wars are
    meeting the goals of protecting Americans and civilians around the

    "Research really points to the fact that treating terrorism as a
    problem that can be solved by war is not an effective way of going
    about it," she says. "It's been completely counterproductive by some

    [38]Alex Ashlock produced and edited this interview for broadcast
    with [39]Todd Mundt. [40]Allison Hagan adapted it for the web.

    This segment aired on March 2, 2021.
33. https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/files/cow/imce/papers/2021/US%20Counterterrorism%20Operations%202018-2020%2C%20Costs%20of%20War.pdf
   34. https://twitter.com/stephsavell?lang=en
   35. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/22/world/africa/shabab-kenya-terrorism.html
   36. https://taskandpurpose.com/news/seal-team-six-hostage-rescue-nigeria/
   37. https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/papers/summary

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