Saturday, December 27, 2008

Afghanistan is No Country For Old Men

I'm a bit perplexed by the tactic of offering erectile dysfunction medication to Afghan warlords as an inducement for them to cooperate with the CIA, as reported yesterday by the Washington Post (Little Blue Pills Among the Ways CIA Wins Friends in Afghanistan).

I'm perplexed because, well, frankly, what kind of warlord is it who needs a little blue pill to get his freak on?

What kind of tribal strongman suffers from the sad disorder that Leon Phelps ("the Ladies Man") so poignantly termed Chronic Wangular Softitude?

I'm thinking maybe they're the kind that we really don't need on our team.

From the story:

"You didn't hand it out to younger guys, but it could be a silver bullet to make connections to the older ones," said one retired operative familiar with the drug's use in Afghanistan. Afghan tribal leaders often had four wives -- the maximum number allowed by the Koran -- and aging village patriarchs were easily sold on the utility of a pill that could "put them back in an authoritative position," the official said.

On a personal level, I'm sympathetic to the plight of an aging patriarch. But, let's face it, pharmacological reinforcement is a stopgap measure at best. Once a patriarch has lost his "authoritative position," whether its just among his four wives or among the village as a whole, it's time for him to step down and make way for one of those younger guys that our retired operative seems to disdain.

Forget about the little blue pills. Better we should offer those (im)potentates nice retirement condos in Florida.

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