An article in last week’s Washington Post details the many ways CIA operatives are enticing Afghan chieftains to co-operate with the agency’s information gathering efforts. Gone, apparently, are the days of handing over wads of cash or guns to anyone who might have information or political sway. What’s in these days are more creative, and less obvious, favors:
“The usual bribes of choice -- cash and weapons -- aren't always the best options, Afghanistan veterans say. Guns too often fall into the wrong hands, they say, and showy gifts such as money, jewelry and cars tend to draw unwanted attention.”
So among the bribes being offered are things such as “pocketknives and tools, medicine or surgeries for ailing family members, toys and school equipment, tooth extractions, travel visas” and in some cases Viagra.
It certainly seems smart to avoid giving bribes that will get your friends killed, but I wonder about the wisdom of just offering anyone who “looks old” some Viagra (or do they ask first? And if so, I’d love to read that chapter in the CIA communications manual). Also, assuming that word of the little blue gifts begins to spread, will this lead to the Taliban focusing in on tribal leaders who have a reputation for getting it up? If so, I can think of few external factors that could lead as quickly to difficulty in getting an erection, and I’m not sure any amount of Viagra would fix that.