John Tirman is the author of several books on global affairs and more than one hundred articles in a wide range of periodicals. His writings promote a more humane U.S. foreign policy, and his interests have included U.S.-Iran relations, the nature and expression of political violence, and, particularly, the human cost of war. He is now Executive Director of MIT’s Center for International Studies, where he is also Principal Research Scientist. At MIT, he has led several research projects, mainly focusing on the Persian Gulf, international migration, and U.S. foreign policy.
Previously, he was Program Director at the Social Science Research Council (2000-2004), a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Cyprus (1999-2000), executive director of the Winston Foundation for World Peace (1986-1999), senior editor at the Union of Concerned Scientists (1982-86), and a researcher-reporter at Time magazine (1977-79). Tirman has served as a trustee of the Institute for War & Peace Reporting, International Alert, and the Foundation for National Progress, which publishes Mother Jones.
His books include Spoils of War: The Human Cost of America’s Arms Trade (1997) and Making the Money Sing: Private Wealth and Public Power in the Search for Peace (2000), among several others. He is editor or coeditor, and coauthor of several collected volumes, including The Maze of Fear: Security & Migration After 9/11 (2004); Terror, Insurgency, and the State (2007); and Multilateralism Under Challenge? Power, International Order, and Structural Change (2006). Most recently he published The Deaths of Others: The Fate of Civilians in America’s Wars, a major contribution to understanding conflict and America’s involvement. It was published by Oxford University Press. A coauthored account of the American role in the Iran-Iraq War was published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2012, Becoming Enemies.
Periodicals where his articles have appeared include The Nation, International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Boston Review, The New York Times, and AlterNet, among others. He was educated at Indiana University in political science, receiving his B.A. in 1972. His graduate work was at Boston University, where he earned a Ph.D. in political science, specializing in political theory, in 1981.