Military Medicine and the Changing Costs of War

Dramatic improvements in military medicine, alongside expansion of veterans’ benefits, have increased long-term costs of war in the U.S. today. Military personnel return home having survived wounds they would not have survived in the past. Veterans, their families, and the government bear these increased costs of war, which are underestimated by policymakers. These trends could increase willingness to use force abroad, with profound consequences for global politics in an era of heightened great power competition.

Tanisha Fazal is Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. Her scholarship focuses on sovereignty, international law, and armed conflict. Fazal’s current research analyzes the effect of improvements in medical care in conflict zones on the long-term costs of war. She is the author of State Death: The Politics and Geography of Conquest, Occupation, and Annexation (Princeton University Press, 2007), which won the 2008 Best Book Award of the American Political Science Association’s Conflict Processes Section, and Wars of Law: Unintended Consequences in the Regulation of Armed Conflict (Cornell University Press, 2018), winner of the 2019 Best Book Award of the International Studies Association’s International Law Section and the 2019 Best Book Award of the American Political Science Association’s International Collaboration Section. Her work has also appeared in journals such as the British Journal of Political Science, Daedalus, Foreign Affairs, International Organization, International Security, International Studies Quarterly, International Studies Review, Journal of Global Security Studies, and Security Studies. She has been a fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University, and the Carnegie Council on International Ethics.