1st Edition

Human Costs of War 21st Century Human (In)Security from 2003 Iraq to 2022 Ukraine

By Bulent Gokay, Lily Hamourtziadou Copyright 2025
    168 Pages
    by Routledge

    Human Costs of War documents and analyses the direct and indirect toll that war takes on civilians and their livelihoods, taking a human security approach exploring personal, economic, political and community security in Afghanistan, Iraq and Ukraine, in the contexts of the War on Terror and the New Cold War.

    The book offers an understanding of war through the recording and comprehension of its civilian casualties, and evaluates whether the force used has been proportionate to the threat that prompted it and the concern for human welfare. In the 21st century, the power of the US has declined, whilst countries such as China and India become more powerful. The global power balance has been altered in a fundamental way towards a multi-polar world system, with the West no longer able to enforce its policies abroad. Regional and global governance are not assured and devastating wars have taken a heavy toll in terms of death, poverty, and displacement, which feed into the cycle of long-term insecurity. The authors argue that it is important for any conflict to be understood not only in terms of the perpetrators of violence, or of the political and economic reasons behind it, but also in terms of its impact on the civilian population and their security, focusing on conflicts in the Middle East which followed 9/11 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

    The book will be of interest to academics, the public, the media, security agencies and international organisations. It will be useful for undergraduate and postgraduate students of International Relations, International Law, Security, Politics, Policing, Human Rights, Ethics, Peace Studies, Eastern Europe, American Studies and the Middle East.


    Paul Rogers



    21st century human (in)security

    The human security approach


    1. America’s Road to the War on Terror

    September 11: Did all change on that day?


    Invasion of Iraq, March 2003

    Project for New American Century (PNAC)

    Oil and the War on Terror

    US world hegemony, in decline?


    2. The Human Costs of the War on Terror

    The invasion of Afghanistan

    The invasion of Iraq

    Human security

    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

    International Law, casualty Recording and Human Rights

    Contextualising death and human suffering

    The mainstream/traditional perspective

    Towards a human security approach


    3. The New Cold War: Putin’s War in Ukraine, 2014-2022

    Russia’s war in Ukraine

    The politics of the past

    What does Putin want? And why did his armies invade Ukraine?

    The Izborsky Club (Izborskii klub)- ‘A call from the past’

    War damage and casualties


    4. War Crimes and Future Wars

    War crimes revisited

    Recording the casualties

    War and Ethics: Ukraine’s just war

    Remote warfare in Ukraine

    International Justice

    Global security dynamics and their impact


    Conclusion: New Cold War of the 21st Century and Human Security




    Bulent Gokay is Professor of International Relations at Keele University, UK, and a founding member of Iraq Body Count.

    Lily Hamourtziadou is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Security and Policing at Birmingham City University, UK, and a principal researcher of Iraq Body Count.