Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Price of OBL Raid

In capturing and executing Osama Bin Laden the CIA exploited a vaccination campaign.  I believe this would be a war crime because it is a war crime to camoflauge yourself as a health worker in war.  Naturally this puts future doctors working in battlefields at risk.  They might be suspected of doing more than helping the wounded.  This in turn is a threat to all soldiers in battle, who now are more difficult to aid.

In the case of polio in Pakistan this clearly harmed efforts to eradicate this disease.  This is not at all unexpected.  Chomsky discussed the likelihood of this immediately following the raid, quoting health experts that said this could produce 100,000 additional cases of polio.  How would you feel if your child contracted polio subsequent to this action in Pakistan?  Who would you blame?

Today we have the news of vaccination workers being gunned down in Pakistan.  We still don't have word from the CIA if their use of the polio vaccination program was helpful in finding Bin Laden.


HispanicPundit said...

Refresh my memory here....wasn't this classified information that was leaked by wikileaks....and if so, how much blame does wikileaks deserve?

Jon said...

I'm not aware Wikileaks was responsible for reporting it. From what I've seen I believe it was due to Pakistani intelligence. They investigated the raid and apparently (and unsurprisingly) they are furious about being kept in the dark about it. As mentioned at the link from Chomsky, this was an extremely dangerous move. They should not have been unaware of this. The US team was under orders to fight their way out if necessary, and Pakistani military is no joke. Had they found themselves trapped US forces probably would have gone in with no holds barred. Pakistan is a nuclear power (another credit to the Reagan administration). This could have gotten really bad. It's bad as is, but could have been much worse.

I see where you're going on Wikileaks and I have to agree. If Wikileaks was responsible for this we would have to accept that this was extremely harmful and irresponsible. Many will die. Many will be crippled for life.

Chad said...

Pakistan is no joke? Wasn't OBL hold up less than a mile from their West Point? As a "major" intelligence community concerned for their citizens why not #1 keep that info silent and or #2 then offer Gov't support/cover to the program and #3 hold those terrorist responsible for any deaths to these workers?

You've once again fallen for the bait - terrorist are killing these people then blaming it on the US so people like you then write silliness like this. Terrorist care nothing about the children unless of course they become their human bombs.

I feel bad for the good do-ers, but then again why not set up a Polio Vaccination check point protected by the Paki army in these hostile areas? Going anywhere near the den of the lion seems to be very silly and an unnecessary risk to begin with. These are terrorist after all and once that info became public it certainly seems more than logical that several layers of additional security measures would be prudent.

Chad said...

Second thought - where ever these workers are killed then it certainly suggests that the camp/location should be considered a hot bed for terrorists then right? If the village/compound is not al Qaeda or a terrorist location then where is the threat anyway?

This is a strategy to kill people and lay the 'blame' at the feet of someone else in attempt to justify their extremist position is all this is.

If my kid had Polio then workers wouldn't have to find me - I would find them.

Chad said...

It appears that your fears should be put to rest now the the Taliban has changed their policy on killing workers to improve their political position. Apparently it is bad policy to kill people administering vaccinations to kids - go figure right?

Jonathan said...


If you're going to use potential lives saved or lost to polio as a metric for the morality of an action, how about looking at the amount of cases of polio we would have today without intervention from the public and private sector?

The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation alone has contributed almost 2 Billion dollars to fight Polio. Globally there were less than 400 cases of Polio last year, that's one pretty hefty upside for capitalism, no?

Dan Carlin mentioned just this thing recently - what do people with more money than they can spend in 100 lifetimes do with their money? For some, they want to leave a mark on the world, in a very positive way.

The chances of eliminating major diseases such as polio have a much better chance now due to the ability for people such as Gates to accumulate huge sums of money.

Jon said...

Chad, all I mean is that the Pakistani military is a serious fighting force. Things could have escalated in a bad way. They are a nuclear power. The ISI is actually also a very formidable intelligence service as well. You can criticize them for failing to apprehend OBL though.

I think if your kid has polio a vaccine no longer does him any good. What he'd need at that point is a wheel chair.

It's great that the Taliban has expressed disapproval of this violence, but that won't save everyone.

Jonathan, that's good that the Gates have done a lot of good with their wealth. But as far as capitalism is concerned this in my view is like saying that a man who stole from the poor turned around and helped other poor people with it. I guess that's better than the alternative, which is acting like the Walton's or Koch's, who give almost nothing away of the billions they've stolen. But if the residents of Pakistan weren't being robbed by Wal-Mart (check where your socks were manufactured) they might just eradicate polio on their own. The poverty created by capitalism contributes to their health problems.

Examinator said...

Good to see that Chad is still recycling the garbage. If only the world was as black or white as he believes it is.
{"#1 keep that info silent and or #2 then offer Gov't support/cover to the program and #3 hold those terrorist responsible for any deaths to these workers?"] How?
And [" why not set up a Polio Vaccination check point protected by the Paki army in these hostile areas?"]. Really it's a wonder that they haven't thought of that? (ha ha ha ho ho ho).
It's a Huge area bigger than Colorado and with Very few roads and much higher and more mountains. It's made for "asymmetric warfare". Heard of the Khyber pass?
Someone I know came back through that area and took hidden videos. And it's horrific Ambush and run central.
The Pakistani army tried to tame the area as everyone since Alexander has tried.
If the whole Russian army and the US forces couldn't get in there what makes him thing a divided army with rellies or religious associates can?
He really needs to read something a little more informative than the UK Telegraph!
Say some selective stories on the area in

Chad said...

Calling the Pakistani military a serious fighting force is probably fair. But when compared to the US military fighting forces and especially the special forces its not even close. They certainly have some of the big guns (because we give them to them), but the chances of creating a 'war' or 'battle' with their military was extremely small. Hell - they crashed a helicopter at the start of the mission - completed the raid and collection of data for what another 45 minutes, destroyed the helicopter and got everyone out including OBL and still no Paki military even close by.

I think your right - once you have it then you have it - so revision - if I was going to have a child and I was knowledgeable that Polio was a real threat then I would make sure to find a doctor to get the shot and to ensure my kids health.

But that is secondary to the bigger point here - your placing blame at the wrong feet again. Yes the military intelligence people used the Polio efforts to gather intelligence to track a terrorist and it worked. As retaliation the terrorist are killing the vaccination workers. Okay - cause and effect - the number of polio cases went from 71 to 77 and now to 82 in Pakistan if I am reading this right. What should be happening is just as I said - the Pakistani gov't should set up protected vaccination locations for their people - strategically placed to help access during this time. They should be hunting and killing the murderers in the mean time. It is tragic that 11 more kids now have to suffer because of the terrorists actions which were put in motion by killing a man who was the mastermind in killing thousands of innocent people.

So the real moral question is simple - potentially saving thousands of innocent lives plus for 11 more kids with Polio? With that said - the terrorist are the ones in control of the rising number - they are the killers so lets not lose sight of that. It is a sucky scenario, but most likely the right call.

Chad said...

With that said - there could be an argument made that Presidents of the US and other democratic leaders who choose which of the 'bad guys' get taking out are also committing a terrorist act especially on foreign soil. Especially when their are innocent people killed in the military strike to take out a head of some bad people.

Also on topic - the methods the terrorist implore to commit Jihad seems to be endless as well. Why is it that the US collection of data must be somehow less devious than that of the enemy I wonder? As a strategy these people seek out topics that will gain sympathy from a certain group - just like you - these people kill a couple volunteers in a hostile land and well blame it on the military - no fault here - and there is a group that buys the drool unfortunately.

Examinator said...

Re Vaccinations in Pakistan etc
The Taliban are using the CIA infiltration to add to the fear tactics.
Let's get real there are lots of Westerners who believe vaccinations the risks are unacceptable and or and science are evil ….some uber anti community conspiracy. There are of course issues of degree... you refuse to believe the science of AGW (sic) preferring to believe faith based distortions, selective reading and scientific illiteracy.

The question for you is to what makes you think that a less literate (far less informed) society as in the tribal areas aren't, even more vulnerable to the same evil seeds of fear and distrust of science and paranoia as been sewn in the tea party?
Keep in mind that these tribal areas have not dissimilar attitudes to change or specifically, culture threatening truth as the tea party and ultra Christians Extreme “conservative” (sic) Americans.
The primary difference between the masters of the Republican party/ Christian extremist and the Taliban is that the latter is currently more violent in their suppression of those who don't conform.

As I keep saying one prejudice is as evil/ anti social as the next. Now- a-days its Gay marriage and abortions etc.

Added to that it is well known that any local who has their child vaccinated will be victimised by the Ultra conservative (not political term) Taliban. Forty years ago in southern states a white fraternising with a black would run the risk of being lynched by the then extremists. It was the same basic tactic... conform to our version of absolute rightness or else.

the reality, in principal, very little has changed.

On a recent 2012 (Florida U) video Chomsky solidifies the political problem of the Capitalist West with quote Smith's seminal book and basis for capitalism. The the effect of “the purpose of all business based systems of government are everything for me (like me) and little or nothing for everybody else”.
He explains how business influences policy to favor them to the detriment of the 'we the People'.
He goes on to explain further how the US government is a single party government (the business party) and two factions. America's problem isn't one of Partisanship America has lurched to the right, The moderate Republicans of 30 years ago haven't disappeared they are now Democrats. The Republicans to differentiate and to further isolate the once moderate republican have politically empowered (Rove... my naming) their malleable (controllable) base those who can be emotionally terrified the Tea Partiers and the Extreme Christians. But like the power of business at the days of the Reichstag adopted the Nazis because they believed they could use them against the unions and the demands of the people. “we all know that they couldn't.... as as such there is similarities with the business support for the off the chart extremist right. ….... they simple don't understand or care and will destroy everything for their unreasonable demands and beliefs... like 'we can win the civil war', 'who needs scientists what do they know any way'.......”

In fact this is the first time I've heard Chomsky so critical of the extremist right.