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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

12 mins ago - Health

The new vaccine threat is fear itself

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The FDA’s decision to pause the use of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine has set off a chain reaction of fear — about the safety of the vaccine, and about whether the FDA is overreacting — that's causing unnecessary drama just as the vaccine effort is finally picking up speed.

The big picture: Throughout the pandemic, the public and the media, and sometimes even regulators, have struggled to keep risks in perspective — to acknowledge them without exaggerating them, and to avoid downplaying them because other people will exaggerate them.

Cryptocurrency giant Coinbase heads to Wall Street

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Coinbase, the country's largest cryptocurrency exchange, is expected to go public today at what could be a valuation north of $100 billion.

Why it matters: This gives crypto a Wall Street seal of legitimacy, after an early existence marred by ties to illicit goods.

In photos: St Vincent water supply running low as volcano eruptions continue

La Soufrière volcano erupting in Saint Vincent on April 9. Photo: Zen Punnett/AFP via Getty Images

There are "chronic water shortages" in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as La Soufrière volcano continues to explode, government spokesperson Sehon Marshall told a local radio station Tuesday.

The big picture: Up to 20,000 people have been evacuated from the Caribbean island's northern region since the volcano began erupting there last Friday, per AP. Over 3,000 evacuees are staying in more than 80 government shelters.