Today We Drop Bombs, Tomorrow We Build Bridges

How Foreign Aid became a Casualty of War

Peter Gill


Eye-opening and controversial, Peter Gill reveals first-hand the dilemmas of providing foreign aid at the sharp end.

'An indispensible inquiry into our moral health and humanity.'
LSE Review of Books

The war on terror has politicised foreign aid as never before. Aid workers are being killed at an alarming rate and civilians in war-torn countries abandoned to their fate.

From the ravaged streets of Mogadishu to the unending struggle in Helmand, Peter Gill travels to some of the most conflict-stricken places on earth to reveal the true relationship between the aid business and Western security. While some agencies have clung to their neutrality against ever stiffer odds, others have compromised their impartiality to secure the flow of official funds.

In a world where the advance of Islamic State constitutes the gravest affront to humanitarian practice and principle the aid community has faced in decades, Gill poses the crucial question – can Western nations fight in a country and aid it at the same time?

Author Bio

Peter Gill is a journalist specialising in developing world affairs. He has been South Asia and Middle East correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and has travelled widely in Africa and Asia as a current affairs reporter for ITV, the BBC and Channel 4.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Humanitarian Armada
  • Part I: Front Lines
    • 1. End of the White Saviour
    • 2. Development at Gunpoint
    • 3. Meetings with Remarkable Men
    • 4. Taking a Bullet for Polio
    • 5. Frontier Manoeuvres
    • 6. Blue UN, Black UN
    • 7. Delay Costs Lives
    • 8. Acts of Faith
  • Part II: Home Fronts
    • 9. With All Those Who Suffer
    • 10. When Aid Becomes a Crime
    • 11. Doing Well by Doing Good
    • 12. The Police, Not the Stasi
    • 13. Making Poverty History?
    • 14. French Lessons
    • 15. Running Out of Words
  • Conclusion: How Many Cheers for Neutrality?


'A valuable book.'
The Times

'Shows with shocking clarity a lack of neutrality on the part of aid organizations.'
Times Literary Supplement

'An indispensible inquiry into our moral health and humanity.'
LSE Review of Books

'Takes a hard look at the politicization of aid.'
International Committee of the Red Cross

'[An] urgent and incisive book of reportage.'
Publishers Weekly

'[A] brisk, hard-hitting narrative...of interest to anyone who’s ever contributed to a humanitarian aid organization.'
Kirkus Reviews

'[Gill’s] analysis of what ensues when charities align themselves too closely with the aims of their governments is nuanced and piercing.'
New Internationalist

'Gill weaves his way from Syria to Afghanistan to Pakistan and Somalia...building up a complex and sometimes disturbing mosaic of experiences good and bad.'
The Tablet

‘I recommend this book highly as in introduction into the complexities of modern conflict and the growing repertoire to respond to the need of suffering human beings.’
Tobias Denskus, Senior Lecturer & MA Program Coordinator Communication for Development, Malmö University

'This is a reasoned and authoritative account.'
Peace Researcher


Publication Date: 15 May 2016
320 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781783601226
Hardback: 9781783601233
eBook ePub: 9781783601257
eBook PDF: 9781783601240
eBook Kindle: 9781783601264

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