In the following visualisations, I intend to portray somewhat of a graphical rendition of the reaction the American government had to 9/11, how this then led to the War on Terror, and the subsequent actions and reactions that happened shortly after that, in an attempt to leave people with scope to carry on the story as far as their imaginations will let them. It is very hard to judge a precise cause and effect when it comes to human behaviour, which is why I will not stray from the statistics I have. I have even found the need to make various inferences within my timeline, so as you read this article I encourage you to let your mind wander as to what reactions you think America’s actions have caused, with regards to displacement, refugees, and subsequent retaliations.
These visualisations are designed to be minimalist, slightly dramatic, but most of all, thought invoking from a glance, without the need of too much scrutiny or analysis on the reader’s behalf.
At first I found it hard to locate information about death-tolls in the Middle-East, as most government archives that were largely restricted, if not completely blocked. However, after some time I stumbled upon an Open Source initiative, Iraq Body Count Project (IBC). This project appealed to the public in order to help calculate the total body count from the Iraq War (started in 2003 following the 2001 attacks on the Twin Towers, and largely believed as the beginning of the War on Terror). https://www.iraqbodycount.org provided me with the information I needed in order to visualise the amount of Iraqi deaths directly resulting from combat, but also the deaths which occurred indirectly as a result of the war (medical, lack of transport, poverty, lack of aid etc).
Finding statistics on the death-toll from 9/11 was not nearly as difficult as finding the Iraqi death-toll, possibly due to the large Western media coverage that the attack received from 2001 onwards. A full list of both civilian and combatant deaths is available at 9-11heroes.us, which is where I extracted my data set from.
Once I had collected the data, I converted it to a CSV format and then inputted it into RAW in order to visualise it. I found RAW very useful as it provided many options of how to visualise the data so that I could find a style that portrayed it clearly with minimal labelling, so as to avoid my data looking too ‘busy’. Along with RAW’s simple layout and customisability, I found it to be a very suitable tool for what I wanted. I would have preferred to have a bit more freedom with manipulation within the graphs, from things as simple as different fonts, as far as the possibility of making the visualisation interactive. I did attempt to write my own data visualisation program in Processing, but I found that it was taking too long to deem feasible. Despite my negativity about the tool, I am happy with the results I have, I feel that the end result captures the drastic differences in death-tolls even at first sight, a trait which I hold at an upmost importance in any form of visualisation.
Below is a visualisation of how the death-tolls between the two events compare. I will at this point state that I am making an inference that the invasion of Iraq was a subsequent effect of the 9/11 terrorist attack and thus worthy of a side-by-side comparison.
As for the subsequent refugee crisis that followed in the years after the invasion of Iraq, I found a data set, last updated in 2014 at watson.brown.edu, that provided me with the information I needed in order to make a visualisation of the different countries/continents that the 1.9 million  Iraqi refugees fled to in the wake of the war. As before, I converted the data to an CSV format and used RAW again in order to portray it.
As I suggested in my opening paragraph, I encourage you, the reader, to let your mind wander in so far as it will allow about the possible chain reactions that America has caused with the invasion of Iraq, the subsequent displacement, and more recently, their invasion in Syria and in turn, the Syrian refugee crisis that now faces the rest of the world. I am not implying that all of these events are a direct cause of the war in Iraq, and some may in fact not be linked even indirectly. What I am implying is that when I saw these statistics, and these visualisations, I couldn’t help but jump to various conclusions, as any mind would. These visualisations are not intended to be slanderous, but instead invoke a mental exploration as to the cause and effect of the actions of the people we consider to be majorly involved in the War on Terror.