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A boy watches a U.S. convoy on patrol in Syria, Oct. 31. Photo: Delil Souleiman/AFP via Getty Images

American taxpayers so far spent $6.4 trillion on costs related to and caused by post-9/11 wars and conflicts in more than 80 countries, according to a new report by the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs at Brown University.

The big picture: The institute notes that because the conflicts have been largely paid for with deficit spending, their total cost will continue to rise from loan interest — even if the U.S. withdraws from major war zones by the end of fiscal year 2020. Ongoing care costs for veterans will also increase the eventual cost.

By the numbers: Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Pakistan — the longest war in U.S. history — has cost around $978 billion from fiscal year 2001 through fiscal year 2020, an average of $49 billion each year.

  • Appropriations for the Iraq and Syria wars have totaled about $880 billion from 2003 through 2020, averaging $44 billion every year.
  • All operations in the global War on Terror, including those in the U.S., Europe, Africa and other regions, averaged more than $100 billion each year.

What the report says: The Watson Institute reports that the increases in military spending over the last two decades "are likely to remain, inflating the military budget over the long run."

  • It concludes that the major trends in budgetary costs of the conflicts include "less transparency in reporting costs among most major agencies; greater institutionalization of the costs of war in the DOD base budget, State Department, and DHS; and the growing budgetary burden of veterans’ medical care and disability care."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

37 mins ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

14 hours ago - Economy & Business

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.