Faculty News

The Costs of War

Noah Coburn was the lead researcher for a report released on Monday from Brown University’s The Costs of War Project. This report discusses The United States’ Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) Program, which was designed to help Afghans and Iraqis in danger as a result of their service to the U.S. government, yet fails to properly support those who need it most.

costs of war project logoThis report tells the stories of Afghans who served as translators or other civilian supporters of the U.S. military, and are now facing imminent danger as they navigate the broken SIV Program, seeking to immigrate to the United States.

 “As the Biden administration conducts its review of the Special Immigrant Visa Program, it must grapple with the true human costs documented in this report. Mere bureaucratic tinkering will not suffice - there must be a program overhaul based on a reconceptualization of how to best support those who put their lives at risk to assist the United States government,” said Coburn.

The report also includes recommendations for how to improve the program that has long been criticized for bureaucratic inefficiencies and problems with the application process that make it difficult for people to provide necessary documentation. Coburn also recently published an article in Newsweek regarding this important issue, and was quoted in Slate.

This report is the latest resource from the Costs of War project, housed at Brown University’s Watson Institute and Boston University’s Pardee Center. The project was launched by a group of scholars and experts to document the unacknowledged costs of the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere.