The return of polio to Pakistan may be the CIA's greatest fail ever


#1

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#2

Exactly, I predicted that people would stop being vaccinated. Didn't predict polio return, but that was a colossal fuck up by the US.


#3

From the article: "Polio has never been eliminated there, Taliban factions have forbidden vaccinations in North Waziristan for years, and those elsewhere have murdered vaccine teams."

So yeah. Definitely the CIA.


#4

If you'd read the whole article, you'd have noticed (unless you have sub grade-school reading comprehension, and I wouldn't assume you didn't make it through grade school) that the point of the article is that those quotes were neglecting to mention that it was through a fake vaccination program that the CIA was able to gain access to the Bin Laden compound, and confirm Bin Laden's presence there.

The reason why the Taliban is killing all these vaccination workers, and thereby causing the resurgence in polio, is because they're trying to prevent the CIA from confirming the identity and killing other members of the Taliban. They're also retaliating for the use of that method.

If the CIA had just used regular spycraft, then these vaccinations wouldn't be so widely distrusted, despised, and vaccination program workers wouldn't be killed as often.

Notice the term "years". It's been years since we killed Bin Laden.

Take all of five minutes to read the whole article next time.


#5

Also important to mention is the fact that polio is a lot more dangerous(as well as various other vaccine-preventable diseases, and I suspect that Joe Jihad isn't carefully checking the labels on the vaccines before shooting up a medical team). Even if there had been no other way of getting to Bin Laden, so what? An aging man, allegedly in tepid health, is one of those problems that solves itself sooner or later. Endemic polio, on the other hand, is one of those problems that tends to get drastically worse and more difficult unless solved as fast and hard as possible.

The CIA's willingness to, in effect, use public health workers as human shields is abhorrent and unethical(yes, it's very quaint, I know; but the Geneva Convention considers attacking medical personnel, even if they are exclusively to provide medical support to your enemies, a crime, this isn't exactly a new or controversial concept); but it's also stupid. Bin Laden is barely distinguishable from noise compared to the threat posed by infectious disease; and even if you only care about American interests specifically, you have to be pretty naive to ignore the fact that all it'll take is a few carriers booking a downmarket Hajj travel package and it'll be all over the place, and from there a few hours by air to anywhere in the world.

It's really a total shitshow on every level: putting medical staff in the line of fire (even the ones on their own project were allegedly dupes rather than volunteers, and totally unrelated workers have suffered the blowback as well) is ethically shoddy even by the CIA's notoriously high standards.

The willingness to use such a tactic is also inexcusably myopic and/or arrogant: even if there were no other way, knowing when the gains couldn't possibly the worth the costs is an important skill, and one where failure to do so has a definite chance of direct damage to our interests, never mind those of the locals.

As for the near-silence on the matter, I'm shocked that the media would be largely craven and supine in the face of a story that requires weighing risks, something people don't do well, poking uncomfortable holes in triumphal tales of victory, and saying potentially hurtful things about Our Protectors...


#7

Islamist opposition to polio vaccination predated it by several years: According to the BBC:

Pakistan was close to eradicating polio virus in 2005, when only 28 new cases were reported. Dr Shah says if not for the politics, polio could be eradicated in three months.

In that year militant groups based in Swat and parts of the tribal region along the border with Afghanistan decided to oppose the polio eradication initiative.

These groups used FM radio sermons to create hostility towards polio vaccination, calling it a conspiracy by the Americans to sexually sterilise children and thereby control the population of Muslims

CIA's Bin Laden plot surely didn't help in that they offered a new provocation to the crazies, but I think the bulk of the blame should fall on those militants determined to look for a reason to oppose vaccinations..


#8

Oddly, the headline on the front page is "the return of pollo may be the CIA
s greatest fall ever". I wondered what chicken had to do with the CIA, but once I clicked the link, the font switched and it made a lot more sense. (Chrome on Win7, if the tech team happens to read this)


#9

Geneva whatnow? For something to be considered a crime, there needs to be at least a vague threat of prosecution...


#10

Alarmingly, there is documented evidence of Israel using vaccines to administer long acting contraceptives to immigrants of the "wrong" ethnicity. So the accusation of an organisation you don't trust administering sterilisation is believable

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/feb/28/ethiopian-women-given-contraceptives-israel


#11

I think that just busted my irony sensor. I hope Amazon sells them.


#12

I've heard nasty stories about discrimination against Beta Israel, but that's amazingly horrible.

You're right that if an adult woman is regularly getting some sort of injection every few months it's not completely nuts to worry something hinky may be going on. However, to the best of my amateur medical knowledge there is no such thing as a single-dose oral drug that will permanently sterilize young children. Some Pakistanis think iodized salt is also part of an international sterilization plot, which makes me strongly suspect evidence is not a factor here.

note: edited for clarity


#13

That's the reason: "What do we care if a few hundred terrorist loving towel heads die in one of those Islamistan countries as long we get our petty revenge and spare just one ary..USian live."


#14

I would think that Ted Kaczynski would have to be a close second CIA fail


#15

Thank you for that info. I was part of the organization that brought those Ethiopian Jews to Israel, which seemed at the time to be committed to supporting and acculturating the new immigrants. This news is disgusting and horrifying. I suspect it's connected to the change in government there. Religious extremists are more alike, cross-faith, than they are to their baseline belief system.


#16

I don't think anyone has something that's reliably permanent in humans, because immunology is complex and there really isn't any demand for it; but immunocontraceptives are in active use for control of certain mammalian pest species and I'd be surprised if humans are mysteriously dissimilar enough for the same techniques to be used.

If somebody does have one, nobody has ever managed to discover it being used; but it probably isn't a medical impossibility.


#17

Good reminder: the Taliban probably wouldn't be in power if it hadn't been for the CIA arming Afghans to fight the Soviets. So the CIA bears at least a couple of levels of responsibility here.


#18

Different Taliban. While it has some affiliations with the Afghanistan Taliban, the Pakistani Taliban are an indigenous group focused on fighting the central government of Pakistan in an area that's been fighting the central government on and off for like a century.


#19

The animal technique requires an injection about every two years. Assuming the existence of a secret CIA/UN/Zionist/Martian version would still mean zero risk of an oral vaccine making you or especially your toddler sterile.


#20

Fonts where two different letters look identical are a failure too!


#21

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