In what is described as a “conservative” estimate, the United States’ wars launched in the aftermath of the attacks on September 11, 2001 have resulted in the displacement of at least 37 million people worldwide,
Researchers from Brown University said: their report, “Creating Refugees: Displacement Caused by the United States’ Post-9/11 Wars,” indicated the actual number of people displaced worldwide by America’s post-9/11 wars could be as high as 48 to 59 million.
Those wars have forcibly displaced millions of people from not just Afghanistan and Iraq, but also Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria, the report said. The report found that nearly half (46 percent) of Somalia’s entire population had been displaced since the US sent military forces into the region in 2002.
The report also found that while 25.3 million people who were displaced amid US wars have since returned home, its’ authors noted: “Return does not erase the trauma of displacement or mean that those displaced have returned to their original homes or to a secure life.”
The US began a “global war on terror” in response to the 2001 terror attacks linked to Al Qaeda, sending combat forces to at least 24 countries during nearly two decades of nonstop global military involvement.
“Like other wars throughout history, the U.S. post-9/11 wars have caused millions of people — the vast majority, civilians — to fear for their lives and flee in search of safety,” the report said. “Millions have fled air strikes, bombings, artillery fire, drone attacks, gun battles, and rape. People have fled the destruction of their homes, neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, jobs, and local food and water sources. They have escaped forced evictions, death threats, and large-scale ethnic cleansing set off by the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in particular.”
As the US carried out military operations across the globe, domestic attitudes towards refugees became sharply polarised.
The study’s co-author David Vine said: “It tells us that US involvement in these countries has been horrifically catastrophic, horrifically damaging in ways that I don’t think that most people in the United States, in many ways myself included, have grappled with or reckoned with in even the slightest terms.”