The U.S. military is responsible for millions of civilian deaths worldwide, but Americans at home rarely reflect on that toll.

by Norman Solomon and David Barsamian, Tom Dispatch

The invaluable Costs of War Project has long reported that close to a million people, including Americans, died in the major zones of conflict in this country’s post-9/11 war on terror. It’s worth stopping a moment to take that figure in. Almost a million deaths — and mind you, that’s in a war (or actually a series of conflicts) that, despite what you might hear in this country, is not over. From Syria to Somalia, Americans are still pursuing it.

Only recently, however, the Costs of War Project’s Stephanie Savell released a new study suggesting that there may have been another 3.6 to 3.7 million indirect deaths that can be attributed to the conditions created by those conflicts. So, in total, we may be talking about almost five million dead people from the American war that began as a response to al-Qaeda’s devastating air assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Consider that the definition of a genuine hell on earth.

US soldiers wearing protective face masks.

And yet, as Norman Solomon has made clear in the very title of his remarkable new book, War Made Invisible: How America Hides the Human Toll of Its Military Machine, remarkably few Americans have any sense of just how devastating (not to say unsuccessful) that now more than two-decade-old war on terror has been, or how many more civilians this country has killed than al-Qaeda ever could have. Had the media here dealt with that toll the way it is now — all too correctly — dealing with the civilian toll the Russians are inflicting in Ukraine, we might be on a different planet, but no such luck.

Of Solomon’s book, Daniel Ellsberg has said: “No one is better at exposing the dynamics of media and politics that keep starting and continuing wars. War Made Invisible will provide the fresh and profound clarity that our country desperately needs.” Indeed, it couldn’t be more important to make America’s disastrous wars of this century more visible and, with that in mind, consider the following interview the superb David Barsamian of Alternative Radio has just conducted with Solomon on what we Americans should have seen and why so many of us didn’t.

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