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Since 9/11, the U.S. has spent $6 trillion on wars that have caused half a million deaths: report – National




The U.S. has spent over $5.9 trillion on wars that have directly led to the deaths of close to 500,000 people since the 9/11 attacks in September 2001.

Around 370,000 died due to direct war-related violence, while several times more died as a result of the indirect effects of war such as malnutrition and damaged infrastructure, according to Costs of War, an annual research project published by the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University.

READ MORE: Canadian Jon Snyder helped save 50 Afghan recruits from the Taliban. Three days later, he died

Some 250,000 civilians have perished as a result of the fighting caused by American wars, which have displaced or made refugees of 10.1 million people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the project found.

Over 6,900 U.S. military personnel have died at war, in addition to over 7,800 U.S. contractors and over 110,000 enemy fighters.

The figures do not include the over 500,000 deaths from the Syrian war, which has raged since 2011 when rebels backed by the U.S. and other Western powers tried to overthrow the government of President Bashar Al-Assad.

WATCH: Canadian ISIS fighter captured in northern Syria says he wants to return to Canada

The $5.9 trillion figure is nearly five times higher than the Pentagon’s estimate, said the Cost of War budget report, because it includes all spending across the U.S. federal government that came as a consequence of these wars.

The spending included costs such as on veterans’ services, preventative measures against terrorism and interest on debts incurred to bankroll the wars debts were included because “war appropriations for Iraq and Afghanistan were not funded with new taxes or war bonds, but by deficit spending and borrowing.”

Spending is expected to balloon to over $6.7 trillion by 2023, based on Pentagon spending estimates for ongoing operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

An additional $8 trillion could be added through the year 2054 if future interest costs on borrowing are included.

READ MORE: Pentagon denies Russia’s claim that it dropped phosphorus bombs on Syrian village

“There is no strategy for ending the wars,” wrote political science professor Neta Crawford.

“The fact that the U.S. keeps spending huge sums for wars that, at least in Afghanistan, are in a stalemate, and in Iraq and Syria, are unresolved, is a long-term budgetary problem which will affect future generations.”

WATCH: U.S. official in charge of Afghanistan reconstruction efforts discusses setbacks

Weeks after Al-Qaeda terrorists flew two airplanes into the World Trade Center, the U.S. set off on a global war against terrorism, starting with an invasion of Afghanistan.

Seventeen years later, Afghanistan remains mired in chaos.

Over 36 people were killed in various attacks last month as Afghans went to the polls for the country’s first parliamentary elections in eight years.

The number of civilians killed in Afghanistan in 2018 is on track to rank among the highest since 2001.

WATCH: 15 dead after suicide attack in Afghan capital on election day

The Islamic State has established a presence in the country, and claimed responsibility for a suicide attack that left four dead on Monday.

On Thursday, at least 30 Afghan forces were slaughtered by Taliban insurgents.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to seek an exit strategy.

READ MORE: Utah mayor killed in Afghanistan while on duty

In 2003, the U.S. orchestrated the overthrow of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, who they accused of developing weapons of mass destruction and providing safe haven to terrorists.

After years of battling Al-Qaeda terrorists, the U.S. grappled with — and eventually led a military defeat of — the Islamic State. But the group continues to wreak violence using insurgency tactics such as bombings and attacks on security forces.

The country’s prime minister recently claimed that hundreds of militants based in Syria have been trying to cross into Iraq to recapture territory.

WATCH: Mosul, Iraq is facing several challenges post-ISIS

Earlier this month, a United Nations report announced the discovery of over 200 mass graves in former ISIS territory in Iraq. The dead included women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities as well as members of Iraqi police and security forces.

While Afghanistan and Pakistan have seen their fair share of casualties, most of the 500,000 deaths lost in warring since 9/11 took place in Iraq, researchers found.

Between 182,000 and 204,000 civilians, over 4,500 U.S. military personnel, 245 journalists and 62 humanitarian workers died as a direct result of war violence in Iraq between October 2001 and October 2018.

US President George W. Bush addresses the nation aboard the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln as it sails for Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego, Cali., May 1, 2003. “In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed,” Bush said.


“This update just scratches the surface of the human consequences of 17 years of war,” Crawford wrote. “Too often, legislators, NGOs, and the news media that try to track the consequences of the wars are inhibited by governments determined to paint a rosy picture of perfect execution and progress.”

The authors of the Costs of War reports stated that casualties and U.S. spending are only poised to grow, with the U.S. currently carrying out counter-terrorism activities in some 76 countries around the world.

— With files from Reuters

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

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Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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