US Wars Displaced at Least 37 Million People Since 9/11 Attacks

Truthout – By Amy Goodman/Democracy Now! – September 11, 2020

As the United States marks 19 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, a new report finds at least 37 million people in eight countries have been displaced since the start of the so-called global war on terrorism since 2001. The Costs of War Project at Brown University also found more than 800,000 people have been killed since U.S. forces began fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Yemen, at a cost of $6.4 trillion to U.S. taxpayers. “The U.S. has played a disproportionate role in waging war, in launching war and in perpetuating war over the last 19 years,” says report co-author David Vine, a professor of anthropology at American University.

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s been 19 years since the coordinated attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 killed nearly 3,000 people. At 8:46 a.m. Eastern time, the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center here in New York City. Today, President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will both visit the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at different times. Biden will also pay respects after attending a 9/11 memorial ceremony in New York, which Vice President Pence will also attend.

Today, the United States faces a terror of a different kind, as more than 191,000 people have died from the COVID-19 pandemic, and a new report projects the U.S. death toll could rise to as high as 3,000 people per day by December. There were more than 1,200 new deaths in the U.S. in the last 24 hours. Time magazine plans to mark the approaching milestone of 200,000 COVID-related deaths in the U.S. with a cover that reads “An American Failure” and has a black border for only the second time in its history. The first time was after 9/11.

This comes as a new report finds the U.S.-led so-called global war on terrorism has displaced at least 37 million people in eight countries since 2001. The Costs of War Project at Brown University has also estimated more than 800,000 people [dead] in U.S.-led wars since 2001 at a cost of $6.4 trillion to U.S. taxpayers. The new report is titled “Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States’ Post-9/11 Wars.”

For more, we’re joined by its co-author, David Vine, professor of anthropology at American University. His new book is out next month, called The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State. He’s also the author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World.

David Vine, welcome to Democracy Now! It’s great to have you back with us, although this is a very sad day, on this 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Can you talk about the findings of your report?

DAVID VINE: Sure. Thank you, Amy, for having me. It’s great to be back.

The findings of our report are basically asking — the United States has been fighting wars continuously, as you said, for 19 years. We’re looking at what the effects of these wars have been. The Costs of War Project has been doing this for about a decade. We wanted to look specifically at how many people had been displaced by these wars. Basically, we found that no one had bothered to investigate how many people had been displaced by the wars in what are now, actually, at least 24 countries that the United States has been involved in.

And we found that, in total, at least 37 million people have been displaced in just eight of the most violent wars that the United States has either launched or participated in since 2001. That’s Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Syria and the Philippines. And that’s a very conservative estimate. We found that the actual total could be up to 48 to 59 million.

And I do think we have to pause on these numbers, because we — in many ways, our lives are drowning in numbers, about COVID, about many things that are important to track quantitatively, but to wrap one’s mind around what — just 37 million people displaced is difficult, in fact, and I think it requires some active effort, certainly did for me.

Thirty-seven million, to put it in historical perspective, that’s more people displaced by any war since at least the beginning of the 20th century, with the exception of World War II. And if our larger less conservative methodology is accurate, the 48 to 59 million estimate, that is comparable to the displacement one saw in World War II. Another way to try to wrap one’s mind around just the 37 million minimum figure, 37 million is about the size of the state of California. Just imagine the entire state of California disappearing, having to flee their homes. It’s about the size of all of Canada, or Texas and Virginia combined.

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Video source: www.youtube.com

Posted by Teri Perticone

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