26th 2008
Your tax dollars at work–at sexy fun (for some)!

Posted under: Bodily modification, Gender, unhappy endings, women's history

Pay no attention to these people!

This morning, the Denver Post print edition ran an excerpted version of this Washington Post story published yesterday:

The Afghan chieftain looked older than his 60-odd years, and his bearded face bore the creases of a man burdened with duties as tribal patriarch and husband to four younger women. His visitor, a CIA officer, saw an opportunity, and reached into his bag for a small gift.

Four blue pills. Viagra.

“Take one of these. You’ll love it,” the officer said. Compliments of Uncle Sam.

The enticement worked. The officer, who described the encounter, returned four days later to an enthusiastic reception. The grinning chief offered up a bonanza of information about Taliban movements and supply routes — followed by a request for more pills.

For U.S. intelligence officials, this is how some crucial battles in Afghanistan are fought and won. While the CIA has a long history of buying information with cash, the growing Taliban insurgency has prompted the use of novel incentives and creative bargaining to gain support in some of the country’s roughest neighborhoods, according to officials directly involved in such operations.

Riiiiiight–because we invaded Afghanistan back in 2001 in order to restore traditional patriarchal control of Afghan society?  Well, that’s not how they explained it at the time.  But, hey–men of all nations can bond over the sexual domination of women!  “Uncle Sam” is just doing what works, eh?  (As the headline in the Denver Post reads, “It’s the little things that sway Afghans.”)  Later in the Washington Post story, a veteran CIA officer explains, “You’re trying to bridge a gap between people living in the 18th century and people coming in from the 21st century. . . so you look for those common things in the form of material aid that motivate people everywhere.”  Well, only half of the people, at most.  (Funny how that works!)

Handing out viagra to Afghan chieftains is explained not as the sexual exploitation of women regardless of consent, nor as sex trafficking, but as a way of doing business with a distinguished history:

Among the world’s intelligence agencies, there’s a long tradition of using sex as a motivator. Robert Baer, a retired CIA officer and author of several books on intelligence, noted that the Soviet spy service was notorious for using attractive women as bait when seeking to turn foreign diplomats into informants.

“The KGB has always used ‘honey traps,’ and it works,” Baer said.

It’s just sex, right?  Sex is sexy fun for everyone!  Well, at least for the people the U.S. government cares about–not necessarily for the women involved, but clearly they don’t count. 

I liked it better when President and Mrs. Bush pretended to be feminists and told us that we were invading Afghanistan to liberate women from their burkhas.  Good times, good times.


11 Responses to “Your tax dollars at work–at sexy fun (for some)!”

  1. Indyanna on 26 Dec 2008 at 9:59 am #

    This sounds (vaguely) reminiscent of a short-lived program proposal from the 1960s. A Midwestern congressman urged the government to buy up a bumper wheat harvest, bake it into millions of what he called “Loaves from Lyndon (Johnson),”) which the Air Force would then drop by the boxcar load from transport planes over supposedly starving Chinese villages to show the advantages of capitalism. I dont know if it was ever tried, but if it was, it obviously helped to propel what was then known as “Red” China into the blue stratosphere as a capitalist im/ex partner of the western world, and as Americas new banker.

    In a [vaguely] related vein, c.f. the story in the Times today about a hotly recruited high school football player from small town Texas. By his account, fans of UT Austin tried student strippers as an inducement, LSU rolled out college lapdancing hostesses, while the prez. at Oklahoma [a former U.S. Senator] offered only admission to his Presidents Leadership Academy. The recruit supposedly pined briefly for Austin, but his mother won out, and he s off to Norman in the fall. Sounds like the Leadership Academy ought to go eleven and oh next season.

  2. Ann Bartow on 26 Dec 2008 at 5:36 pm #

    I just read yet another MSM article that blames surging domestic violence rates on “the economy” and “better reporting.” Instead of, you know, the people committing the violence. Patriarchy never takes a holiday…

  3. Geoff on 26 Dec 2008 at 9:09 pm #

    OT, but to address the second paragraph of Indyanna’s post, I appreciate the reference to the NYT article on college recruiting which I read with great interest. As a former student at one of the schools mentioned, I wanted to clarify the message of the article. Oklahoma ultimately won the recruit at the focus of the article because the coaches invested more time and energy wooing the mother of the recruit, with the head coach even flying in to make a long personal visit to their home, something neither the LSU or Texas head coach was willing to do. In the end neither academics nor young women had anything to do with the choice. While OU might be commended for offering a quasi-academic scholarship to an athlete, one might also criticize the propriety of such an offer when made in connection with an athletic recruit. One might also wonder what the President of a research-one university was doing being directly involved in the recruiting process.

    While the article rightly condemned many of the practices surrounding college football recruiting and portrays the young man and his mother as a victim of that process, it does not mention that at any time the family could have called off the process by making a non-binding verbal declaration of intent. Also left out of the article was why the recruit felt that Oklahoma was a better choice for going to the NFL. In all likelihood, he is going to get playing time sooner at OU (pardon the pun) and have a quicker trip to the NFL draft and a big payday.

    Now, back to comments on the issue at hand…

  4. Notorious Ph.D. on 26 Dec 2008 at 9:12 pm #

    so you look for those common things in the form of material aid that motivate people everywhere.” Well, only half of the people, at most. (Funny how that works!)

    I suspect (cynic that I often am) that, for some, women aren’t automatically included in the category of “people.”

    Thanks for sharing this. I always rolled my eyes when Bushies back in the day kept selling us this war as a way to liberate Afghan women. It was just too disingenuous. But boy, would I have loved to be wrong.

  5. Indyanna on 26 Dec 2008 at 9:19 pm #

    I agree entirely with Geoff on the points above. The whole thing provided a kind of a shudder on some pretty familiar heads about the perversion of the scholastic mission. But yeah, back onto the main track of the thread.

  6. Lacan Was Right: There Are No Such Human Beings As Women | The Global Sociology Blog on 26 Dec 2008 at 9:30 pm #

    [...] Your tax dollars at work–at sexy fun (for some)! : Historiann : History and sexual politics, 1492 … via kwout [...]

  7. hysperia on 26 Dec 2008 at 11:54 pm #

    Re: the viagara, oh PUKE!

  8. prof bw on 27 Dec 2008 at 12:04 am #

    I’m so disgusted I’m actually speechless for once . . . grrr

  9. cgeye on 28 Dec 2008 at 2:28 am #

    Am I wrong in hoping that the Taliban’s use of Viagra (which they could buy wholesale at good price in trade for heroin, so what’s the big deal?) means that their warlords will spend less time raping their child brides, now that they have an easier way of ensuring their sexual prowess? Guess not, huh?

  10. steveeboy on 30 Dec 2008 at 9:21 am #

    so, maybe my plan to end all war madness via the wholesale distribution of MDMA to belligerents is not so far-fetched after all????

  11. Historiann on 30 Dec 2008 at 9:45 am #

    Oh–was that your plan? I guess it’s a fair trade, so long as you take steps to prevent the victimization of girls and women. Sexy fun for ALL!

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