Oct. 18 (GIN) – A new report published by the Washington-based Center for American Progress provides detailed evidence of the exorbitant amount of money and millions of lives lost in the ongoing strife in Somalia – all without producing positive change.

Specifically, in the past 20 years, the war with western powers has taken as many as 1.5 million lives and cost about $55 billion. Some 750 fatalities were recorded among the Ugandan and Burundian troops that comprise the Africa Union Mission in Somalia.

The international bill for piracy is put at $22 billion. Humanitarian and development aid is said to have totalled $13 billion, and the Somali diaspora is believed to have sent $11.2 billion in remittances to their families trapped in the East African country since the collapse of the Siad Barre regime in 1991.

The overall outlay for Somalia may seem “modest” in comparison with the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, “but what’s remarkable is how little we have to show for it,” write co-authors Bronwyn Bruton and John Norris in the report called “Twenty Years of Collapse and Counting.”

“By and large, the U.S. government ends up spending far more time and money responding to crises or tinkering with tactical responses than preventing crises or nurturing effective peacebuilding efforts,” commented the authors.

Additionally, write the authors, “this accounting makes clear that Western policymakers are wildly uneven in their approach to Somalia. They are willing to spend vast sums in some areas such as dealing with piracy, while in other areas they take an approach bordering on malignant neglect.”

The full report can be found on www.amercanprogress.org w/pix of Somali fighters