The War on Terror (WoT) dramatically altered international, domestic and human security the world over. After 9/11, the United States of America (U.S.A.) launched two major operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and has led numerous Intel., covert or ‘black’ operations ever since. In 2016, a Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs report calculated U.S expenditure “through 2016: as $4.79 trillion and counting” making the WoT the most expensive in the United States’ (U.S.) history. In addition, a vast terror industry is now engrained in America’s domestic security architecture. The Department of Homeland Security, the National Counterterrorism Centre, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence are but three of the “1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies [that] work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence.” Similar developments have occurred in other nations involved in the WoT – France, the United Kingdom, and Australia, for example – though not quite on the same scale. The War has also exacted a significant cost in terms of human security and life. Hundreds of thousands of combatants and non-combatants have had their lives irrevocably altered, or lost them altogether.
Despite these costs, the enemy continues to proliferate. Al Qa’ida inspired groups such as Boko Haram, ISIL, Lashkar e-Taiba and Abu Sayyaf Group now operate across an arc of political instability that stretches from the west coast of Africa to South-East Asia. Their toxic anti-western ideology has inspired devastating attacks from Brussels to Nice to Orlando, Florida; attacks which are increasing in both scale and frequency. Since 2000, there has been a ninefold increase in terrorism, with 32,658 people killed in 2014 alone – the highest annual total since terrorist attack rates were first collated in 1964.