Neta Crawford

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Neta Crawford

Neta Crawford is a Professor of Political Science at Boston University, where her teaching focuses on international relations theory, international ethics and normative change.

Neta Crawford is the Co-Founder and Director of the Cost of War Project at Brown University, where she leads a team of 50 experts who publish the human and economic costs of the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the related violence in Pakistan and Syria. She leads work to identify less costly and more effective ways to prevent terrorist attacks and inform public policies. Crawford has served on the governing board of the American Political Science Association and the Academic Council of the United Nations System. Crawford’s research includes foreign policy decision making, sanctions, and post-conflict peacebuilding. Her book, “Argument and Change in World Politics,” won the American Political Science Association Award for best book in International History and Politics. She has published over two dozen scholarly articles, including in the Naval War College Review, Security Studies, International Security, Ethics and International Affairs, Africa Today, Press/Politics, Perspectives on Politics, International Organization, Journal of Political Philosophy. She has also published in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and Newsday. She regularly appears as an expert on radio and television. Crawford holds a B.A. from Brown University and Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Her research interests include international relations theory, normative theory, foreign policy decision making, sanctions, peace movements, discourse ethics, post-conflict peacebuilding, research design, utopian science fiction, and emotion. Crawford is also interested in methods for understanding the costs and consequences of war and is co-director of the Eisenhower Study Group “Costs of War” study.

Dr. Crawford is the author of Collateral Damage, forthcoming from Oxford University Press about moral responsibility for civilian casualties. Her book Argument and Change in World Politics: Ethics, Decolonization, Humanitarian Intervention (Cambridge University Press, 2002) was a co-winner of the 2003 American Political Science Association Jervis and Schroeder Award for best book in International History and Politics. She is co-editor of How Sanctions Work: Lessons from South Africa (St. Martin’s, 1999).

Crawford’s articles have been published in books and scholarly journals including the Journal of Political Philosophy; International Organization; Security Studies; Perspectives on Politics; International Security; Ethics & International Affairs; Press/Politics; Africa Today; Naval War College Review; Orbis; and, Qualitative Methods.

Professor Crawford is currently a member of several advisory boards, including for the Eisenhower Research Project, and International Editorial Board of the Security and Governance book series published by Routledge Press. Crawford is the current chair of the Book Prize of the Ethics section of the International Studies Association.[1]


Crawford served, for three years, on the nominating committee of the International Studies Association and served as its chair during the final year of her term. Crawford has also previously served on the boards of several professional organizations including the Academic Council of the United Nations System (ACUNS) and the Governing Council of the American Political Science Association. When she was at Brown University she served on the Slavery and Justice Committee, which examined Brown University’s relationship to slavery and the slave trade. She has also served on the editorial board of the American Political Science Review.

Crawford has appeared on radio and TV and written op-eds on U.S. foreign policy and international relations for newspapers including the Boston Globe; Newsday (Long Island), The Christian Science Monitor, and the Los Angeles Times.[2]


Crawford has a Ph.D in political science from MIT and a bachelor of arts from Brown University. At Brown her independent concentration was “The War System and Alternatives to Militarism.” Her senior thesis was on the genesis and effects of military rule in Ghana from 1960-1984. Prior to joining the faculty at BU, Crawford was on the faculty at Brown University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.[3]

War Danger and the Lebanon Crisis conference

On February 11 1984, Noam Chomsky addressed "The War Danger and the Lebanon Crisis-Issues For The US Peace Movement" conference, organized by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, held at the United Methodist Building Conference Rooms, Washington, DC.

Other speakers included Dan Connell, Congressman John Conyers, Neta Crawford, Stephen Green, Robin Madrid, Rev. Paul Mayer, Jack O'Dell, Dr. Seth Tillman, Don Will, Ellen Siegel, and Dr. James Zogby.[4]

"Costs of War"

In 2011, a newly released study by Brown University estimates the full cost of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan will be at least $3.7 trillion, and the final cost could reach a mind-numbing $4.4 trillion.

The study, named “Costs of War” (, attempts to provide a comprehensive accounting, not only of military costs, but also future care for veterans, losses borne by veterans and their families, interest on the war debt, foreign military aid and increased spending on “homeland security.” It also attempts to assess the human costs of the campaign to control the oil-rich region.

To accomplish this task, project directors Neta Crawford of Boston University and Catherine Lutz of Brown University assembled a team of experts that included economists, anthropologists, historians and humanitarian field workers.

According to Crawford, Politicians throughout history have underestimated the costs of war. The report states that the Bush administration for giving estimates of the costs of the 2003 war against Iraq that were “shamelessly politically driven.”

In December 2002, Bush fired his economic advisor, Lawrence Lindsey, for having told the Wall Street Journal that the war would cost up to $200 billion. The following month, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld gave a more acceptable estimate, saying the war would cost “something under $50 billion.”

The wars have been financed almost entirely by borrowing, adding $1.3 trillion to the national debt. To date, the interest on this amount totals $185 billion.

Specific war spending over the past 10 years, expressed in 2011 dollars, comes to $1.3 trillion, the “Costs of War” project found. But when collateral costs are factored in, that figure is just the tip of the iceberg.

The wars have been financed almost entirely by borrowing, adding $1.3 trillion to the national debt. To date, the interest on this amount totals $185 billion.

In addition, the Pentagon has received an extra $326 billion to $652 billion beyond the war appropriations. Homeland security spending has totaled another $401 billion to date, and war-related foreign aid adds another $74 billion.[5]

Board of Directors of the Commonwealth Foundation

As of 2011, the following served on the board of the Commonwealth Foundation;[6]