What Are Some of the Pros and Cons of the War on Terrorism?

One of the most frequently cited cons of the “War on Terror” is the exorbitant cost of it, both human and financial, while supporters will often point to individual triumphs, such as the death of Osama bin Laden, as pros. Individual operations in the war against terrorism also have their pros and cons. On the one hand, they may destroy sites and facilities used for training terrorists or manufacturing chemical weapons, but on the other hand, they may only serve to encourage renewed zeal among terrorists and a violent backlash.

Many U.S. and Israeli strikes are retaliatory, and those in favor of the war will argue that not engaging terrorists in these instances gives the impression of weakness, in turn emboldening the insurgents. Nevertheless, air strikes are frequently off-target, resulting in the death of non-combatant civilians. Over the course of 8 years in Iraq, the number of civilian deaths had amounted to more than 116,903.

As for the financial cost of the war against terrorism, a team at Brown University estimated in 2013 that the final total would amount to $4 trillion. This includes military expenditure in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, as well as any associated costs such as long-term care for veterans. Another expert from Harvard, meanwhile, estimates a much higher figure of $6 trillion.