Digby on the CIA’s use of Viagra to bribe Afghan warlords:
We barge into foreign societies without a coherent understanding of the underlying culture and try to use whatever means to get the locals on our side, and the unintended consequences that result are never examined either before or after the fact. They are considered prices to be paid for “success,” whatever that means. I think it’s actually fairly impossible for me to determine the full effects of giving Viagra to Afghan warlords, in much the way that introducing a change in where a butterfly flaps its wings in the past can alter the future. But I’m fairly certain that those effects are completely ignored by the elites who think they can control events thousands of miles away through little inducements and bribes. I haven’t read all of Legacy of Ashes but I wonder if I’d find anything if I searched the index for the part where anyone games out the ripple effects of the agency’s actions. Probably not.
Maybe what should be considered, instead of the boner pills, is why we’re in Afghanistan in the first place. Rather than social engineering, we could use local law enforcement and intelligence sharing to limit or remove the capacity of anyone in the region striking beyond their borders, and we allow local and regional actors to determine their own way forward instead of arrogantly assuming we know what’s best for these people, and trying to install a central democracy where none has ever existed. Alternatively, we could figure out what other drugs they might like.
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