Pardee Center Hosts Four-Part Webinar Series on Long-Term Costs of Post-9/11 Wars
In the spring of 2021, the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future hosted a series of webinars exploring various costs and consequences of the post-9/11 wars. The webinars, hosted by Neta C. Crawford (Co-Founder & Co-Director of the Costs of War Project and Professor & Chair of the BU Department of Political Science), were part of the “20 Years of War” research series, a two-year collaboration with the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University to expand the ongoing Costs of War project. The “20 Years of War” research series explores the human, financial, environmental, social, and political costs of the post-9/11 wars and illustrates how the impacts of the wars will ripple into the future. Watch the webinars below.
Post-9/11 Veterans in the U.S. Criminal Justice System: Critical and Ethnographic Perspectives Ken MacLeish
April 15, 2021
U.S. military veteran involvement in the criminal justice system is often understood by policymakers, researchers, and the lay public as a matter of direct causal relationships between the stresses of service, substance use and mental illness, and law-breaking behavior. But in practice, these linkages are much more complex, and demand consideration of American stereotypes of the veteran, structural inequalities that shape arrest and incarceration, and military policies that produce specific forms of veteran vulnerability and burden. Singling out veteran status as both a problem and a mark of deservingness risks overlooking veterans’ complex needs while also eliding the harms done by powerful civilian and military institutions. In this webinar, Ken MacLeish reviewed the complex profile of veteran criminality and incarceration, and contextualized it in the broader dynamics of the U.S. justice system. He examined the promise and limitations of a novel policy intervention, Veteran Treatment Courts, which work to keep low-level veteran offenders out of jail and connect them to healthcare and other resources.
Suicide Among Post-9/11 Service Members and Veterans: Understanding Rates and Causes Ben Suitt
April 21, 2021
There were more than 89,000 confirmed suicides among veterans from 2005-2018. Suicide rates for active duty service members and veterans have outpaced those of combat deaths since 2012. There is no single cause for these suicides — high exposure to trauma, stress, military culture and training, continued access to guns, and the difficulty of civilian sector reintegration are all contributing factors, but may be true of all U.S. wars. In this webinar, Ben Suitt explored significant novel factors of the post-9/11 wars that are contributing to these increased rates of suicide. Using data supplied by qualitative interviews, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and secondary research, he investigated the role of factors including the rise of improvised explosive devices, the attendant rise in traumatic brain injuries, the war’s protracted length, advances in medical treatment, and growing disinterest among the American public.
Veterans of the Post-9/11 Wars: The Long-Term Costs of America’s Promise to Those Who Serve Linda Bilmes
April 29, 2021
As the U.S. borrows trillions of dollars to fight the pandemic and rebuild decaying infrastructure, we are enjoying historically low interest rates and a global appetite for U.S. Treasuries. Over the longer term, the U.S. will have to reckon with debts accrued over the past two decades, including trillions of dollars in promised benefits to those who have served in the post-9/11 wars. These debts are largely hidden from view. In this webinar, Bilmes explained her revised estimates for the long-term costs of providing health care, disability benefits, and other compensation to the more than 4 million veterans and their dependents who have served in the post-9/11 wars.
The Costs of U.S. Post-9/11 ‘Security Assistance’: How Counterterrorism Intensified Conflict in Burkina Faso and Around the World Stephanie Savell
May 6, 2021
The United States provides counterterrorism “training and assistance” to dozens of countries as part of its post-9/11 wars. In this webinar, Dr. Stephanie Savell examined the effects of U.S. security assistance and the profound costs of “helping” other nations wage their own “wars on terror.” The U.S. has been providing counterterrorism funding and training to Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in the West African Sahel, since 2009, but it was only several years later that the country began to confront militant violence linked to what local people call “jihadism.” The case of Burkina Faso shows how governments use the U.S. narrative of terrorism and counterterrorism, along with the accompanying financial, political, and institutional resources given them by the U.S., to repress minority groups, justify authoritarianism, and facilitate illicit profiteering, all while failing to address poverty and other structural problems that lead to widespread frustration with the state. In a vicious cycle, what the U.S. calls security assistance actually accomplishes the opposite. Around the world, it has fed insecurity, bolstering the militants that react against the government injustices exacerbated by this aid.