The Costs of War

Neta Crawford is a professor of political science in Boston University’s College of Arts & Sciences. She is the co-author of a recent study on the costs of the Iraq & Afghanistan wars. In a BU Today Q&A, Professor Crawford talks about how “The Costs of War” study came about and the estimated $4 trillion price tag for these wars. She also talks about the civilian toll of both wars.

“I wrote the sections about civilian killings, and what I wanted to do is describe how it is that people not only die when they’re bombed, but they die because infrastructure is destroyed or because they can’t get health care or vaccinations as a result of that destruction. In political science we call this structural violence. There’s been some effort to quantify this, but you need much more detailed work on conditions prior to war, especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan. One of the things I was trying to get across was that when the fighting stops, the dying continues, and the dying is this indirect debt. Also, when you kill innocent civilians, it creates resistance and promotes insurgency, fueling a semicovert war.”

Contact Neta Crawford 617-353-4040,