Most discussion about the “costs of war” focuses on two numbers: dollars spent and American troops who gave their lives. A decade into the war on terror, those official costs are over a trillion dollars and more than 6,000 dead. But as overwhelming as those numbers are, they don’t tell the full story.
In one of the most comprehensive studies available, researchers in the Eisenhower Study Group at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies looked at the human, economic, social and political costs of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as our military actions in Pakistan. Their complete findings are available at costofwar.org. The numbers below are all from their report, which is dated June 2011. When the study sites both conservative and moderate estimates, we’ve chosen the conservative numbers. It is difficult to find more recent tallies for most of these numbers, but up-to-date totals of U.S. military deaths, along with photos and biographical information, can be found in The Washington Post’s Faces of the Fallen collection.