One of the chants to come from the Vietnam anti-war movement was the memorable "make love, not war." That sentiment has resurfaced in a different but equally stimulating context, thanks to some creative people within U.S. intelligence.
Government is famous for the ways in which it wastes our tax money, but this one expenditure appears to be well spent. Officers with the Central Intelligence Agency have been handing out little blue Viagra pills to Afghan tribal leaders, some of whom have more than one wife.
According to a story in the Washington Post, a CIA officer gave four of the pills to an Afghan leader in his 60s who has four wives. "Take one of these," said the CIA man, "you'll love it."
The officer who described the meeting said that he returned four days later to an enthusiastic reception, and the Afghan chieftain had a big grin on his face. The officer said the man gave up lots of information about Taliban movements and supply routes. He then asked for more pills.
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"Whatever it takes to make friends and influence people, whether it's building a school or handing out Viagra," said one longtime CIA operative.
This is surely a better approach to extracting information than waterboarding. Not many would describe consensual sex as torture.
Handing out Viagra pills to aging Afghan warlords is a strategy for reducing, uh, tension. If Afghan leaders are in bed, they are less likely to be helping the Taliban, or firing weapons.
This is the opposite approach to that described in the ancient Greek comedy "Lysistrata," in which women on both sides of a war withhold sex from their husbands until they make peace. Human nature being what it is, that only works in fiction. But in our sex-obsessed culture, frequent sexual activity might render warring males incapable or unwilling to fight. As that great philosopher Mae West once observed, "Too much of a good thing can be wonderful."
The CIA had the wrong strategy for eliminating Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in the early 1960s. Instead of hiring Mafia members to assassinate Castro, they should have slipped sex-enhancement drugs in his food and drink.
Would Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad be as big a bother if he were popping Viagra? He might then not feel the need to develop nuclear weapons. And by the way, have you noticed that most of the world's dictators throughout history have been short men? Short men are also generally believed to lack other physical attributes about which men are overly self-conscious. Such men sometimes seek to overcompensate by bullying others to prove they have what, in fact, they lack. If they were better able to perform in the bedroom, perhaps they would be less bombastic on the world stage.
Adolf Hitler was 5 feet 8 inches tall. Josef Stalin was short and variously reported to be between 5-4 and 5-6. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is 5-4. Mao Zedong was 5-11, possibly the tallest of the modern despots. We know that Hitler and Mao had sexual hang-ups. Could all dictators share the same problem? Would Viagra, or something similar, have lessened the possibility of forced famines, war, the Holocaust and other mass killings? Were these caused at least in part by pent-up feelings of sexual inadequacy?
The alternative to mass distribution of Viagra is to let women run the world for a while and see if they can make something better of it then the men have done. Meanwhile, "Viva Viagra!" if it keeps Afghan warlords off the battlefield and keeps them in the bedroom while providing, in between sessions, useful information about the Taliban.
I wonder how Osama bin Laden would react to those little pills? He probably wouldn't take them. He's reported to be 6 feet 5 inches tall.