Friday, December 13, 2013

"Valid Cultural Differences", my arse.

From the BBC this morning:
The polio worker was shot on the outskirts of Peshawar.

The attacks are the latest in a series targeting polio teams in the country.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Taliban oppose the polio vaccination schemes, which they see as a cover for international espionage.
You know, why are we even bothering? All the blood and treasure flushed down the sewers of that rathole and these people are still taking their medical advice from an unholy union of Jenny McCarthy, Alex Jones, and Mullah Somebody-Or-Other.
I remember when I was with Special Forces... seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate some children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn't see. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms.


Andy in San Diego and Elsewhere said...

Part of the anti-vax sentiment by the Taliban is probably driven by the fact that vaccine teams were used as CIA fronts so they could get Bin Laden.

staghounds said...

If there's a heaven it has three new residents.

global village idiot said...


Anonymous said...

Why? Because we, in the West, are still trying to make the Enlightenment work. When kind words of persuasion fail, we resort to the barrel of a gun (or now an R/C toy). Welcome to the new Crusades. What are you doing for the next 1000 years?

Yrro said...

Pretty sure they were a cover for espionage multiple times.

Still... that doesn't excuse that. It's pretty rare for me to get killing mad just from reading a story, but... that stuff should go in every army recruiter's notebook.

Alien said...

1) I've reached my limit. There is 21st century infrastructure which can prevent a great deal - not all, but a great deal - of unnecessary human suffering.
2) There are people, in all countries, of all sexes and races, who do not just fail to understand the process for reduction of suffering, but are actively engaged in destroying the possibility of eliminating the avoiding of that suffering
3) F**k 'em. That's not my problem to solve.
4) I understand that that the actions of Jenny McCarthy, et al do have an impact on the lives around them, but that only increases the level of responsibility I have to ensure those for whom I am responsible are sufficiently protected (that's a parallel to "I don't like guns," which is fine, just don't expect me to go unarmed)
5) Did I mention this isn't my problem to solve? So, F**k 'em all. I'll manage my life to the best of my ability, and, similarly, the lives of those for whom I am responsible for as long as I can reasonably be expected to accomplish that, and the rest of them can deal with their own problems.
6) Live with what you create. And, absolutely, positively, do no expect my support or sympathy. I'm all out.

Fred said...

Being previously used as cover for other stuff is irrelevant. They're the same assholes that kill Afghan Civilians because they accept food from westerners. In their minds you shouldn't need to get a vaccine, if you were meant to survive, you would. Inshallah.

LCB said...

Don't you guys watch NCIS? The vaccination teams are used to collect blood samples so we can prove who was related to Bin Ladin. That's how we got him.

If it's on TV it must be true...right????

Matt said...

Stop trying to vaccinate people that do not like us. Problem solved.

mikee said...

The Taliban aren't looking for you to excuse their activities. They are doing what they do because it leads them to success in achieving their goals.

They don't care about people dying of polio, or about western attitudes towards their methods of consolidating power.

They care about having everyone obey what they say, under fear of death.

You make a mistake when you see their actions as anything but their rational approach to victory under the actual circumstances present in Afghanistan.

Dwight Brown said...

"You know, why are we even bothering?"

Because we can't stop people from traveling outside of uncivilized hellholes like this and spreading disease and death with them, so we might as well do this so at least there's a chance that people in the civilized world won't wind up in iron lungs?

(I'm not sure I'd object to throwing up a wall around Pakistan and saying "Nobody goes in, nobody goes out. That includes communications. When you people are ready to join the civilized world, let one of the guards know." But we'd be putting our blood and treasure into guarding that wall, too.)

Andy in San Diego and Elsewhere said...

Stop it, they're not taking their advice from Jenny McCarthy, they're following their own experience. CIA has used vax groups in the past as cover stories to get in so they can do spying, so naturally they're suspicious (rightly so) of all vax groups. Can't blame them, can you?

That being said, there's no reason to even bother sending vax groups into places like Pakistan, both because they think they're spies and they don't trust our medicine. More reasons to just completely abandon *stan and come home.

Tam said...

"Stop it"

No, YOU stop it! *crosses arms, stomps foot*

I mean, if that's the kind of discussion we want to have?

"More reasons to just completely abandon *stan and come home."

Comb this entire blog going back to 2005 and find where I have suggested otherwise.

fast richard said...

I suspect that if the Afghan population starts to see western influence in the form of healthier children as a good thing, that is a bigger threat to the Taliban than any supposed espionage could ever be. A group like the Taliban derives its power from fear and xenophobia.

Tam said...

"That being said, there's no reason to even bother sending vax groups into places like Pakistan..."

Also, it would appear that the vax groups in question are being 'sent' into Pakistan by... er, Pakistan.

Matthew said...

"Because we can't stop people from traveling outside of uncivilized hellholes like this and spreading disease and death with them, so we might as well do this so at least there's a chance that people in the civilized world won't wind up in iron lungs?"

I think Dwight nailed it. Even if the actions of the parents justifies abandoning the children (and I have no gripe with it being justified in as much as our government spending our tax money on the ungrateful bastards goes) such an abandonment threatens our children at home.

If we aren't willing to screen traveler's and put the ones with communicable diseases in camps as a national defense measure, we have to try more proactive methods.

Mike_C said...

+1 Dwight Brown
+1 fast richard

>Problem solved.
My brain now automatically amends "Problem staying solved" to that phrase. Too bad there isn't a real-life Stanley the Honey Badger to send to Waziristan.

Windy Wilson said...

Perhaps I'm getting bloodthirsty in my old age, but if a village hacks the arms off of its own children, not one scorched stone should be standing on top of another. No sign, no warning.

And why isn't it Inshallah that some stupid westerner will come to your village on his own money to make sure your child stays well and healthy? The Egyptians, who don't have quite the same claim to stone-age thinking believe the western aid is jizrah, the payment of tribute because they are not muslim.

Paul said...

Education. that is the key. Water and food a plenty help.

As a christian I must help them. better if they want it.

Joseph said...

In other words, the Taliban are imitating a fictionalized version of a discredited ideology.

roamer said...

+1 to mikee
+1 to Dwight Brown

Our options here are limited, especially since the lunatics running this asylum have atomic weapons.

However, at a minimum I think we could stop supporting them financially. Or make the support contingent on demonstrated accomplishments in modernization or democratization.

staghounds said...

There's no cultural difference. They are serious, they know who their enemy is, they want to win and believe they can.

The men from our culture who burned cities a couple of generations ago understood.

That's a pretty minority culture in the West, but it still exists.

Windy Wilson said...

It isn't about espionage or any reasonable explanation rational to Western minds Andy or any other apologist for thugs can come up with, or the arms of the children would not have been cut off.

Tam said...


You do know the "arms of children" is a quote from Apocalypse Now?

Marc Pisco said...

I hate to rush to judgement before all the facts are in, but that guy's methods seem a little bit unsound.

Matt said...

If our children (grandchildren in my case) are properly vaccinated they should not be in danger from kids in Pakistan that are not vaccinated.

If people in Pakistan do not want there children vaccinated, it is there choice. Call it freedom to choose. They should not kill the people giving the vaccines, a simple no thank you should suffic.

At no time should vaccines be coerced or forced,upon people, regardless,of race, national origins, gender, religion, age etc.

Lewis said...

Remember, kids, we're in Afghanistan to . . . wait for it . . . train the Afghans how to fight. Try saying that with a straight face.

They don't love us now, but in a few more Friedman units, they'll be buying what we're selling.

Also, to paraphrase another great line: We are here to help the Afghans, because inside every hajji there is an American trying to get out. It's a hardball world, son. We've gotta keep our heads until this peace craze blows over.

Firehand said...

I have come to the conclusion that the punitive raid(I think mentioned here in the past) is the only way to handle places like A'stan: send in enough force with orders to deal with the problem; when done, tell them "Don't make us come back" and leave them alone as long as they don't.

Of course, that would require leadership with the brains and balls to order it, so that idea's out.

The Freeholder said...

I think Firehand nailed it. Go in, dismantle the offending district and leave. Oh, you have no homes, no food and winter is coming? Gee, shoulda thought of that before you acted out, huh?

perlhaqr said...

Islamist militants have been at the forefront of a decade-long campaign of violence against health workers, who they also accuse of being part of a Western plot to sterilise Muslims.

Hah. Man, they're just really utterly clueless about the power differential here, aren't they? If we had the will and the desire to do that, we could just carpet bomb them back to the microbe age.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Firehand on this one. Kipling's "The Grave of the Hundred Head" comes to mind:

Kristophr said...

Trevor Montroy:

The Enlightenment was imposed on Christianity by secular leaders who were sick and tired of dealing with religious violence.

Islam will not have it's own unless it is slapped into it.

That being said, I am of the opinion that it should not be our job to do it. Every time some state in Dar Al Islam attacks the US, it should just be flattened, like Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan.

Nation-building is only for states that sincerely capitulate.