July 13, 2024

Student Research Fuels Professor’s ‘Costs of War’ Report

A ‘Costs of War’ report authored by Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Jason Davidson speaks to the importance of America’s allies in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A ‘Costs of War’ report authored by Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Jason Davidson speaks to the importance of America’s allies in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, draws near, troops are finally leaving the dusty deserts and treacherous mountains of Afghanistan. The departure marks the end of America’s longest war and highlights a full-circle moment for UMW Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Jason Davidson.

“I was always really taken by, to be completely blunt, the brutality of war and its effects on people’s lives,” said Davidson, whose study, The Costs of War to United States Allies Since 9/11, is making waves, landing lately in the likes of ForbesThe Guardian and Daily Mail. “This report … brings me back to that original impulse.”

The 12-page document delves into the human and monetary toll the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have taken on America’s allies, who apart from their ties to the U.S., may not have had cause to be in the Middle East during the past two decades at all. The research took Davidson – and recent Mary Washington graduate Rachel McVicker ’21 – down a rabbit hole of government databases, embassy archives, parliamentary requests and personal connections.

“This process definitely taught me a lot about how to get deep into foreign country documents,” said McVicker, who majored in international affairs, with a minor in security and conflict studies – Davidson’s specialty. Read more.