Friday, September 7, 2012

The Worst Thing the Obama Administration Has Done?

(This is a collection of links about the response of the Islamic public to the vaccination scam the CIA ran as part of its assassination campaign against Usama bin Laden. I wrote them up for Ta-Nehisi Coates's blog, and decided they were worth repeating here. [Added:] these were flagged as offensive and not restored. Bah!)

Every time I think I'm getting to accept the Obama Administration, I'm reminded of something else awful it has done. My latest reminder was yesterday, when I read that Pakistan is deporting the non-Pakistani staff of Save the Children as probable CIA agents. As part of the assassination of Osama bin Laden, the CIA ran a fake vaccination campaign in Pakistan, vastly undercutting the already uncertain Pakistani trust in real vaccination campaigns. Recently, Pakistan ordered all foreign employees of the Save the Children foundation out of the country on the grounds that they had been suborned by the CIA. It is possibly just grandstanding. On the other hand, it is possibly true: Save the Children is not likely to have the kind of hiring process that would detect an agent undercover.

It made the papers.  Guardian story. AP story.

We also have Dr. Anthony Robbins, co-editor of the peer-reviewed Journal of Public Health Policy: editorial at JPHP and backgrounder at ScienceBlogs.

It's not the action of the Pakistani government that most disturbs me, it's the disruption of the already fragile trust of Western NGOs on the part of the public in Islamic states. People will die because of this. Polio could be eradicated in Pakistan if the Pakistani people trusted the aid workers, and what trust there was has been badly damaged.

David Wright, Save the Children Pakistan country director, quoted in an editorial from The News of Islamabad, Pakistan, "Our ability to continue this important work has been seriously undermined by CIA’s use of humanitarian activity as a cover for their intelligence gathering."

BBC article from before the deportation: "UN polio vaccine doctor injured in Karachi attack"

Al-Jazeera on Taliban opposition to the program.

One of the most discouraging things about this story is that the Administration and the CIA have made the Taliban's allegations true.

[Restored because the author found his guts:] If this leads to the failure to eradicate polio in Pakistan, and the ultimate failure to eradicate polio globally, it will be the worst thing the Obama administration has done. Even a sufficient delay might make it the worst.

As I said, every time I think I'm getting to accept the Obama Administration, I run across something like this.

No comments: