A Citizen’s Guide to America’s Forever Wars and the Secrecy that Sustains Them

America’s Forever Wars and the Secrecy that Sustains Them

A Citizen’s Guide

After 17 years, three presidents, $5.6 trillion, and hundreds of thousands of human lives lost, it’s time Americans started asking more questions about where, why, and for how long the country will remain at war. After all, the average taxpayer has spent more than $23,000 on the wars, without even a comprehensive understanding of all the places where our troops are deployed, much less a clearly articulated vision for what victory might look like, or when the wars might end. As the wars have stretched on and expanded, public knowledge of what is happening on the battlefield has also waned.

In this guide, Open The Government and our partners will catch you up on some of what you need to know about the expansion of U.S. wars since 2001 and the systemic secrecy helping shield them from public view. We also provide you with ways that you can get involved in reviving the public debate and bringing transparency to issues vital to the public’s understanding of military and national security programs.

Some of what you’ll find in this guide:

  • 60 words, 17 years of war: the AUMF
  • Drone secrecy and the human cost
  • Secret law and overclassification 
  • The cost to veterans
  • Following the money: the military budget, lobbyists, and contractors 
  • The war comes home: erosion of civil liberties 
  • FOIA fundamentals from Open The Government 
  • Letter to the Editor tips from ReThink Media
  • Questions to ask your public officials

Read the full guide here.