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Representative Ro Khanna speaks at a rally against Mike Pompeo's nomination for Secretary of State at the Capitol on April 11, 2018. Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty Images

The United States’ “war on terror” in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq has directly killed at least 480,000 people since 2001, according to a new report by the Costs of War Project at Brown University. This is an increase of 113,000 over the last count, issued just two years ago.

Why it matters: After their victory in the midterms, House Democrats will try to advance a national security strategy emphasizing restraint and accountability for the costs of the war on terror. This new body count signals that, far from diminishing, the war is only intensifying.

Details: The tally includes civilians, U.S. and allied troops, local military and police forces, and militants. But it does not include those who have died indirectly because of war and war-related displacement — because, for example, of water loss, sewage and other infrastructural issues, and war-related disease. The number of indirect deaths is several times larger than that caused by direct violence, bringing the war’s total death count to well over a million people. Public health-care systems and infrastructure in the war zones need to be repaired to mitigate the human toll of the wars.

Between the lines:

  • Militants are included in this count because many of the people reported by U.S. and local forces as militants may actually have been civilians.
  • The report reveals that casualties among U.S. soldiers have declined, but this is in large part because the U.S. has transferred much of the ground combat to security forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What to watch: Research shows that governments become more careful when civilian deaths from “collateral damage” are reported on. A wave of Democrats now in control of the House plan to push for just that. Representative Ro Khanna says he wants to hold as many as three days of hearings with Trump’s national security team to “justify, for the American people, what our mission is, what the costs are, what the risks are, and why we’re there.” Representative Adam Smith, poised to become chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, plans to increase oversight of the military, and others led by Representative Barbara Lee hope to end the war in Afghanistan.

Stephanie Savell is co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University.

Go Deeper: Read the full Costs of War report by Neta Crawford.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
6 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania.