The U.S. war against global terrorism has displaced as many as 59 million people since 2001, according to a new report released Tuesday by Brown University.
The study, published by the Rhode Island-based university’s “Costs of War Project,” says between 37 million and 59 million people in eight countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East “fled their homes in the eight most violent wars the U.S. military has launched or participated in since 2001,” when the al-Qaida terror group attacked the United States.
The figures in the report, titled “Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States Post-9/11 Wars,” show that displacements have risen sharply from 21 million in 2019.
The majority of those displaced were from Iraq, with at least 9.2 million. Syria saw the second-highest number of displacements, with at least 7.1 million, and Afghanistan was third with at least 5.3 million people displaced.
The study’s authors say the estimate was derived by counting refugees, asylum seekers pursuing protection as refugees, and internally displaced people or persons (IDPs) in the eight countries that the United States has most targeted in the post-9/11 wars: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria.
The report said 37 million displaced people is “almost as large as the population of Canada” and “more than those displaced by any other war or disaster since at least the start of the 20th century with the sole exception of World War II.”
“We are not suggesting the U.S. government or the United States as a country is solely responsible for the displacement. Causation is never so simple. Causation always involves a multiplicity of combatants and other powerful actors, centuries of history, and large-scale political, economic, and social forces,” the study’s authors noted. “Even in the simplest of cases, conditions of pre-existing poverty, environmental change, prior wars, and other forms of violence shape who is displaced and who is not.”
The study does not include “the millions more who have been displaced by other post-9/11 conflicts where U.S. forces have been involved in 'counterterror' activities in more limited yet significant ways, including in: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia.”