The Global War on Terror (GWOT) has raised a host of dilemmas and challenges for development agencies and civil society actors. Funded by the ESRC under the Non-Governmental Public Action Programme (NGPA) Professor Howell and Dr Lind carried out research on the effects of the GWOT on development institutions and civil society actors. Their research covered Afghanistan, Kenya, India, USA and UK. Their findings can be found in `Counter-terrorism, Aid and Civil Society: Before and After the War on Terror’ (Palgrave, 2009) and `Civil Society Under Strain. Counter-terrorism policy, civil society and aid post-9/11’ (Kumarian Press, 2010).
Following on from this Professor Howell raised additional funds through the LSE HEIF4 to promote debate and advance thinking on these issues. This involved three round tables held in the Lebanon, involving researchers, policy-makers, civil society groups and donors. Thanks to the LSE HEIF4 funding it was also possible to set up a blog on the War on Terror. This blog was aimed at the general public, academics, experts and think tanks. The blog has been an interactive way of both disseminating research findings and also inviting commentary on the War on Terror and its effects. Over the last two years it has benefited from the contributions of a diversity of writers based in different parts of the world and covering related topics on the impacts of the War on Terror in Kenya, Syria, UK, USA and elsewhere. As part of this effort, Adam Brown has played a sterling role in ensuring the high editorial quality of the blog.
Funding for these activities has now ended. With the death of Osama Bin Laden it might seem that the War on Terror was now over. However, President Obama cautioned strongly against such a hasty assumption. Military and development funding continue to be invested in securing the USA and allied governments against the perceived terrorist threats. Sadly, the institutional infrastructure of laws, regulations and extra-judicial practices remain in place, with often negative implications for civil society and aid. It was the intention of this blog to invite critical attention to the corrosive effects of this infrastructure. Though the blog now draws to an end, we hope that we have encouraged blog readers and contributors to retain a critical perspective on the War on Terror, whose effects have led to the regrettable `normalization of the exceptional’.