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Sixth generation warfare: boner pills.
December 26, 2008 9:07 PM   Subscribe

The little blue pill goes to war.
posted by mek (74 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Perhaps in time we can hope to learn from them!
posted by kaspen at 9:13 PM on December 26, 2008


Grandma and Grandpa were visiting their kids overnight.

When Grandpa found a bottle of Viagra in his son's medicine cabinet, he asked about using one of the pills.

The son said, "I don't think you should take one Dad; they're very strong and very expensive."

"How much?" asked Grandpa.

"$10.00 a pill," answered the son.

"I don't care," said Grandpa, "I'd still like to try one, and before we leave in the morning, I'll put the money under the pillow."

Later the next morning, the son found $110.00 under the pillow. He called Grandpa and said, "I told you each pill was $10.00, not $110.00.

"I know," said Grandpa. "The hundred is from Grandma!"
posted by netbros at 9:17 PM on December 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


More seriously, I think some of the hand-wringing over the inevitable dissemination of sexual and recreational medications into new cultures is more than a little dubious. Certainly the plight of women in such societies is not to be slighted and does warrant concern and action, however I would hesitate to make outright make judgments such as The American Prospect does linked above:

"At the same time, does anyone credibly think that those four women this guy is married to are entirely willing spouses, and the consequent sex performed as a result of the Viagra entirely consensual?"

What would the author of such a complaint have us do, gather a coalition of the willing and invade sovereign nations by force to topple the tyranny of patriarchy? Who are we to judge the values and degrees of self-actualization of both men and women under such alien (to us) circumstances? Sex is sex, it is going to happen, I think that in the interests of vague notions of cultural progress it is important that we, as wealthy and sexually empowered nations, promote tools which facilitate this. Viva la sexual revolution!
posted by kaspen at 9:22 PM on December 26, 2008


I figured this would end up here when I saw it on fox news earlier today. (I was bored, don't judge me.)
posted by dead cousin ted at 9:33 PM on December 26, 2008


let's see - they give us heroin, which helps us decrease our population, and we give them viagra, which helps them increase theirs

lenin was right - we will sell the rope to hang ourselves


posted by pyramid termite at 9:41 PM on December 26, 2008 [9 favorites]


Too bad we couldn't just skip the "bombing them" stage and go straight to the "giving them cock pills" stage. Something tells me it may have been more effective in winning their allegiance.

America : We can help you keep your dick hard!

oh yeah, and blah blah blah something about freedom.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:51 PM on December 26, 2008 [7 favorites]


This is great propaganda.

Really, whoever in the military who got this out and got the disastrous situation in Afghanistan overlooked deserves a medal.

Most of the people in most of the countries in the coalition of the killin want their troops out of Afghanistan.

The Afghans fought the Soviets to remove them from their territory, the US invaded to build pipelines and obtain a strategic outpost. The Afghans are still fighting foreign occupation. The Taliban are awful but the only thing worse is an unpopular unending foreign occupation.

The stiffs we should care about in Afghanistan are the civilians.
posted by sien at 9:53 PM on December 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


The War against Terror will be long and hard.
posted by SPrintF at 10:03 PM on December 26, 2008 [6 favorites]


Yes, but I think we can lick this thing if we all come together.
posted by fleetmouse at 10:08 PM on December 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


Unsurprising. The engorged penis is man's oldest weapon of oppression.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:11 PM on December 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


It's a good thing Andrea Dworkin didn't live to see this day.
posted by longsleeves at 10:25 PM on December 26, 2008


Eyelash pills. Yes, eyelash pills.
posted by Clave at 10:26 PM on December 26, 2008


This is gross. Figurative expressions for imperialism give way to warlords with raging hard-ons.
posted by kuatto at 10:26 PM on December 26, 2008


Eyelash pills. Yes, eyelash pills.

Beg pardon, eyelash cream.
posted by Clave at 10:27 PM on December 26, 2008


Some days you're the nipple; some days you're the clamp!
posted by P.o.B. at 11:09 PM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Helping old married foreign men have sex is roughly one thousand times better than bombing old and young foreign men, women and children, but I'm sure someone will complain.
posted by NortonDC at 11:50 PM on December 26, 2008 [9 favorites]


After this the litany of gifts will include Viagra note pads, Viagra pens, Viagra coffee mugs, Viagra golf balls, Viagra clocks, Viagra handbags, and of course an all expense paid trip to the "Erectile Dysfunction; Etiology, Psychosocial Dynamics, and Pharmaceutical Remediation" symposium held in Vail, Colorado.
posted by Tube at 12:00 AM on December 27, 2008


This post has also been inflated artificially. It's really just one Washington Post article about one incident. The rest is mainly a BBC article about that Washington Post article, a blog note about that BBC article about that Washington Post article, a Newsday reprint of the Washington Post article, an entirely unrelated article about smuggling included only because it happens to mention Viagra, etc. And the "goes" link is dead.

But there was one light analysis (not directly linked) from Jezebel.com that might be worth reading:
MEGAN: Ok, well, my first thought is that, as a woman, I lack a significant level of insight into this. I like sex. I like it alot. I am rather annoyed at this particular moment in time that I have not had any recently — though we know my definition of "recently" can be a little off — BUT I cannot see selling out some sort of sense of political principles or whatever in order to regain the ability to self-lubricate, say. So, riddle me this, my penis-owning friend: is getting erections really that universally important to men?

SPENCER: Wait, first things first. (A more-complicated-than-you-might-think answer to your question will follow.) You think the tribal chieftains are compromising their integrity by accepting CIA Viagra?

MEGAN: Well, are they? I mean, that's sort of the premise of the bribe, isn't it? That without erections they would support the Taliban fighters? [...]
That, and one comment in the original article was important in explaining why Viagra is a fairly inevitable bribe:
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.

"If you give an asset $1,000, he'll go out and buy the shiniest junk he can find, and it will be apparent that he has suddenly come into a lot of money from someone," said Jamie Smith, a veteran of CIA covert operations in Afghanistan and now chief executive of SCG International, a private security and intelligence company. "Even if he doesn't get killed, he becomes ineffective as an informant because everyone knows where he got it."
You need to give him something that is very important to him that no one else (except a surprised wife or four) will find out about, something that doesn't cost the US a lot and that can be handed over discreetly, and something that will create a demand and therefore encourage ongoing cooperation. In those terms, Viagra is perfect.
posted by pracowity at 1:17 AM on December 27, 2008


From the article in 1st link: "...aging village patriarchs were easily sold on the utility of a pill that could "put them back in an authoritative position," the official said."

That turn of phrase turns my stomach a bit. (Bold me, quotes apparently the official.)
posted by typewriter at 1:51 AM on December 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


That, and one comment in the original article was important in explaining why Viagra is a fairly inevitable bribe:


See, I can almost comprehend the diabolical logic involved here, but it squicks me out, to say the least. To me, this is the cherry on a sundae of shit. Sure, it's kind of ha-ha funny, but if you actually think about it, it's grotesque. And god forbid you have to eat it.
posted by mek at 2:00 AM on December 27, 2008


Emission Accomplished
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:59 AM on December 27, 2008 [5 favorites]


I really fail to see how this transaction is any more squicky than the one where Pfizer charges you $10.00 per tablet.
posted by localroger at 5:46 AM on December 27, 2008


(Billions of) dollars to (rock hard) donuts some of these little pills are being used by local warlord types in the pursuit of that ancient Afghan custom of pederasty, which of course doesn't really exist because Islam forbids it, and doesn't make the US news much because the public would probably get upset to see that not only are we supporting the global heroin trade and turning a blind eye to it in the country because if would disrupt the narrative of our Dear Leader's Glorious War for Freedom of All People, but that we are also supporting the rape of boys. Wonder how Rick Warren feels about that?

Not to mention little girls. You think the age of consent is 18 in an Afghan village?

Heck of a job, guys. We can't discuss condoms in US-funded AIDS clinics in Africa. But we can help old men rape boys if it helps us win a war.

Although really you always knew all these wars were really about Bush's sense of inadequacy. Maybe if someone had just given him a fucking viagra 6 years ago we'd be better off. Poor Laura, though.

We should just get it over with and put viagra in the global water supply. Because the world doesn't have enough aggressive guys trying to fuck everybody over.

I'm so sick of Bush's wars. And of the stupidity and utterly banal evil that has become the sole meaning of the word "America" around the world for 8 long years.

And if anyone needs a reminder of how things go, remember that *we* armed and trained the Taliban. Now we're arming and training the flaccid penises of a generation who will turn them on us in the end. Prepare to be screwed.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:44 AM on December 27, 2008 [8 favorites]


Also, this is because we already sent all the Hard Cases in the country to Guantanamo.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:46 AM on December 27, 2008


...gather a coalition of the willing and invade sovereign nations by force to topple the tyranny of patriarchy?

Well, we've gone to war for worse reasons....

Various feminist blogs have responded as many here do: it's better than bombing, but it's not without consequences for the "wives" (more probably, closer to slaves) of the men in question. But I don't know it it's all that much worse than the lot they already have; if they weren't having to sleep with the old goats, they might be getting beaten anyway.

Truly, we just need to help them secure their borders and then get out, as they are now requesting. Then they can get their own damn boner pills. And maybe we can figure out a way to encourage the growth of democracy/women's rights in a way that's more effective than either bombing or boner pills.
posted by emjaybee at 7:55 AM on December 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


let's see - they give us heroin, which helps us decrease our population, and we give them viagra, which helps them increase theirs

lenin was right - we will sell the rope to hang ourselves


What are you, Lou fucking Dobbs?
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:15 AM on December 27, 2008


But I don't know it it's all that much worse than the lot they already have

That's my guess. You're poor, uneducated, one of several brides of a smalltime gangster in some crappy mountain village, and nothing is going to change that but his death or yours. How much worse is it going to be if he takes Viagra once in a while?

However, these guys could become late fathers and their wives have to go through additional births and childrearing that they would have avoided if he hadn't been able to maintain an erection. Having extra children might be better for these mothers in the long run, but a child always creates an initial health risk and additional housework.
posted by pracowity at 9:12 AM on December 27, 2008


So, riddle me this, my penis-owning friend: is getting erections really that universally important to men?

Without hesitation or reservation, yes, certainly. It's ended careers, broken apart families, caused men to commit crimes, brought down empires, and nearly ended a presidency.

In my general medical practice, where I see about 25 patients a day, I field 5-10 requests for Viagra a day. Almost *never* does the man schedule the appointment for that purpose, there is usually some other feigned medical complaint and at the end of the visit comes the request. I can pretty much tell it's coming when I see that sheepish look and hear that first "Um..." This is literally the only thing I do that I've put on auto-pilot. I don't even hear myself speak the canned speech that I start reciting, discussing the physiology, the use of medications, side effects and interactions. Suffice it to say, among a certain subset of people, it is extremely common and extremely important. In fact, I will probably get a MeMail from someone as a result of this post.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:17 AM on December 27, 2008


This sounds exactly like the premise of a Culture novel, right down to the debate we're having right now about whether we should be indirectly aiding the harm and oppression of women. Weird.
posted by voltairemodern at 9:25 AM on December 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


Voltairemodern, I shall rename myself in the grand tradition of in-joke-loving Culture warships as Bearer of the Rods From God.
posted by adipocere at 10:10 AM on December 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Voltairemodern, Adipocere:

Wow, I just read my first and second Banks books (The Algebraist and Look to Windward) in the last couple weeks, but the Culture jumped into my mind immediately while reading this post.
posted by sideshow at 11:32 AM on December 27, 2008


Afghan Viagra and Child Slavery: The Washington Post Misses the Irony. Again.
posted by homunculus at 11:35 AM on December 27, 2008


The assumption that all sex in Afghanistan is rape is sick. I guess what we need is something like the federation that can judge other cultures and see whether they are evolved enough to handle our technology. No boners for Afghans until they prove they're civilized like us.
posted by Wood at 11:40 AM on December 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Heck of a job, guys. We can't discuss condoms in US-funded AIDS clinics in Africa. But we can help old men rape boys if it helps us win a war.

Nice cultural bias there, chief.

It's like saying that we shouldn't allow pedophiles to get a prescription for Viagra for the same reason. Or any man, as all men have the potential to not only be a rapist but child rapist.

I feel the need to say this again; there is a way to disagree with this idea and action being taken and I think there is a lot of room for some interesting ethic debates with this issue. But throwing out overboard lines of rhetoric to support your ideology actually hurts your point more than it helps.
posted by Dagobert at 12:06 PM on December 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


No boners for Afghans until they prove they're civilized like us.

Something like a prime erective?
posted by pracowity at 12:08 PM on December 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


Wood, to be clear: I'm not saying "all sex in Afghanistan is rape," nor pathologizing different cultural understandings of sexuality with respect to such matters as age of consent or number of spouses, etc. Not at all. I'm an anthropologist, steeped in a relativist worldview.

But viagra is not a traditional Afghan folk medicine either. You can make just as grave an error essentializing cultural difference as you do trivializing or dismissing it. The fact of the matter is that it's not just people in this thread who say Afghan women or children are oppressed by a particularly brutal form of traditional patriarchy overlaid with an extraordinarily brutal anti-civilian militarism and violence of the colonial era and the Taliban regime. (Arguably, a certain level of brutality is "traditional" for the warrior Pashtun tribe, but also not so traditional in its incorporation of Soviet and British and Arab conceptions of the uses of violence in civil society, and in war; but ideologically, the extremist and purist Islam the Taliban claims to uphold is not at all indigenous to Afghanistan -- indeed, one could of course say Islam itself is not indigenous either, witness the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamyan.)

As an example, and something that came up in another thread recently, the various ethnic groups in Afghan -- Turkic, Persian, Pashtun, Baluch, Uzbek, Hazara, etc -- are each globally famous for musical excellence in distinctive ways -- a fame that goes back as far as the history of civilization in the region. Afghanistan used to be called "an ethnomusicologist's playground" for the diversity of rich traditional musics as well as the overlay of Persian and later Indian court music traditions in the urban centers of Kabul and (especially) Herat, which developed in rich interactions with dozens of major art music traditions that moved through and into and swirled around Afghanistan from the Silk Road to the Partition (the creation of Pakistan was a huge shaper of musical culture in Afghanistan). But it took the Taliban (and the Soviets) less than 25 years to virtually gut the country of its traditional musical culture*s* and its popular musical culture especially, through blanket imposition of a doctrinaire fundamentalist version of Islam and a political desire to suppress expressive culture that might challenge the always shaky central authority of the regime. A minor part of the brutality, but brutal nonetheless -- musicians were killed or exiled (including famous ones), radios and recordings of all popular music were banned, and people who violated the ban could be and were tortured and imprisoned and killed. Sufis, traditionally the musical specialists throughout the Islamic world, were especially persecuted.

So what's "Afghan" here? The censorship was imposed and conceived by Afghans. It suppressed a riotously rich traditional musical culture created by Afghans. To get behind the nationalism thing -- itself already a very Western-influenced structure of feeling, and "Afghanistan" as a nation-state is a relatively modern conceit -- Pashtun Taliban goons cracked down on Pashtun music too, so it wasn't just a conflict of cultures within the nation.

I'm not saying musical culture and sexual culture are equivalent abstractions. But there are plenty of *Afghan* women and children who surely experience their "traditional" sexual culture as oppressive, or have learned to (an acid burn on your face for daring to show your veiled body in public will do that for you, I think). There are certainly Afghan intellectuals and activists who have articulated a strong critique of certain traditional practices, and clerics who have done so in Islamic terms as well. And they're no less Afghan than some tribal elder who has 3 wives and a boy concubine or two, as some most assuredly do. That's traditional, and it reflects not an uncivilized condition, but a different conception of civilization, and a very old and conceptually sophisticated one that differs orthogonally from the individualistic values of Western modernity even at its most patriarchal.

Too bad for Afghan women and children, though, that they are not only members of a distinctive and old regional civilization, but citizens of a globe in which the values and ideologies of Western modernity have become universalized under the banners of human rights and international conventions, and in the global imagination, including the imagination of a young girl in a tribal village somewhere in the Swat Valley. You can debate the historical ethics of that hegemony all you like, but it won't change the reality that people who used to live oppressed lives now can become aware of alternative social orders and challenge and resist or change and deprecate -- even debase or transcend -- the traditional values of their immediate social world. One often has to be able to operate at the juncture of cultures to analyze questions of justice and rights - you're right about that. But culture isn't a binary, all or nothing structure either.

So to paint this conversation in black and white terms as ethnocentric sneering at the "uncivilized" Afghan people is unfair to the tone of my comment, and others in this thread. The US is supposedly in Afghanistan, in part, to disrupt its traditional sexual culture -- how many times have we heard that one goal of the occupation is the improvement of conditions for Afghan women? That -- educated women with public voices -- is a direct threat to Afghan patriarchy. No doubt that's imperialism at its best, but it's a defensible rationale for imperialism (which is why the Bush admin has cynically used it, since I don't think they actually give a flying fuck about Afghan women or any other civilian population anywhere in the world, which is one reason the Viagra story has legs).

We're no doubt reading too much into an anecdotal bonbon here. And I think it's also a defensible case that, of course, Afghan men deserve the same medical advantages Western men enjoy so that their waning years are sexually enhanced. And it's reasonable to anticipate that some of the same ironies this wondrous technology has conferred on the sexual life of the developed world will transmute and reinflect in strange ways, worthy of witty banter on Metafilter, in radically different contexts (I just read an article about how the Mexican government is changing lives in rural villages by giving away Viagra, too -- one wonders if the Israelis might try it in Gaza instead of, again, blowing people up. Even at $10 a pill, it has to be cheaper than rockets.)

I plead guilty to being a little too jocular in my comment above -- trying to blend an erection joke or two into a comment on the sexual repression of Afghan women (and boys) was a bad idea, maybe. It's a weird story -- something inherently humorous in a situation of such horror and ugliness that it makes one cringe to imagine all the decimated lives. So we should all lighten up, no doubt. But I think the general sense of disgust here is not directed at Afghan people or culture, or at viagra, or sex, but rather at the war itself, and war in general, and all the shit war brings that's so evil that all you can do is laugh or you'll start to cry.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:48 PM on December 27, 2008 [8 favorites]


To put it another way, I sure doubt we're handing out birth control pills along with the viagra.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:54 PM on December 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


Erectile dysfunction is a disease, fertility is not.
posted by NortonDC at 12:59 PM on December 27, 2008


Erectile dysfunction is a natural consequence of aging. I strongly dispute that it is a "disease" in any organic sense.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:01 PM on December 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


To clarify, of course cancer is a natural consequence of aging too. And erectile dysfunction can be caused by underlying diseases, and should be considered pathological in a young man, perhaps. But this isn't even the right vector of comparison (we're not discussing health insurance reimbursement policies in Maryland, for example).

You empower old men by giving them rock hard penises at 62, no doubt.

You empower young women by allowing them to choose when and whether to have babies.

We weren't sold the war in Afghanistan on the grounds that it would empower old men.

This was the analogy I was drawing, and the nature of the organic conditions targeted by the proposed medical remedies is irrelevant to that point.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:04 PM on December 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


There is also the drug angle on this. We're going to dispense drugs to a foreign country as a means of submission? Reminds me of "testers" - first batch is free, and then the price goes up. And up. Why not throw in some Prozac, or Ambien? Dope up the whole country, keep them hooked, begging for more, bent to our will as long as we hang a supply over their heads. The whole thing seems like it's taking the medicalization attitude to problems, and inflating it to a foreign policy scale. Pharmaceutical diplomacy; it's a brave new world!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:41 PM on December 27, 2008


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing, you realize we're discussing Afghanistan, right? We're bringing Viagra to a heroin fight. One side sells fearful addictive pharmaceuticals, and the other gives away some boner pills. The US has inflicted horrors in the "War on Terror," but handing out boner pills isn't one of them.
posted by NortonDC at 2:49 PM on December 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


NortonDC, poppies are a cash crop these people are growing because they are poor and desperate to survive, and while no doubt some of it gets smoked along the way, we can hardly paint Afghanistan as some sort of dope fortress. And even if the Afghan people were just lolling about in a haze of opium and terrorism, it would still hardly be comparable to the vast pharmaceutical war chest of Western Nations, and their tomes of justified and medicalized ailments which make permissible the use of these drugs by anyone with a sympathetic practitioner. As I tried to express earlier in the thread, I'm all for the free-flow of any and all drugs into new and old societies, seeing as they will get there eventually and be clamored for in the meantime, but both sides of your equation are faulty. We are bringing a lot more than just sex pills with us, and we can hardly say that the drug market there is already saturated. I sympathize with the pseudo-feminist cringing both here and about the internets, and we might well hesitate over what uses the newfangled chemicals might be put to, but the fact is that people are going to be raping and loving and seeking drugs regardless, so it is in all of our interests to see that the inevitable occurs sooner and smoother.
posted by kaspen at 3:19 PM on December 27, 2008


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing, you realize we're discussing Afghanistan, right? We're bringing Viagra to a heroin fight. One side sells fearful addictive pharmaceuticals, and the other gives away some boner pills.

You don't smoke opium to get a lift in your pants. Your argument would make more sense if we were trying to get Afghanis hooked on Valium.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:28 PM on December 27, 2008


We're going to dispense drugs to a foreign country as a means of submission?

That's the context for my comment. The drug flowing from us to them is Viagra, while the drug flowing from them to us heroin.

In a competition between boner pills and smack, getting bent out of shape about the boner pills is plain odd.
posted by NortonDC at 3:39 PM on December 27, 2008


In a competition between boner pills and smack, getting bent out of shape about the boner pills is plain odd.

They're two different drugs with two completely different effects. And please stop saying "boner", I feel like I'm in a John Hughes movie.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:47 PM on December 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


We're going to dispense drugs to a foreign country as a means of submission?

Giving 4 Viagra pills to one local warlord for his cooperation != "dispens[ing] drugs to a foreign country as a means of submission"

Are there any drugs that would help prevent overthinking a plate of beans?
posted by me & my monkey at 3:53 PM on December 27, 2008


some of these little pills are being used by local warlord types in the pursuit of that ancient Afghan custom of pederasty ... we are also supporting the rape of boys.

...

I'm not saying "all sex in Afghanistan is rape," nor pathologizing different cultural understandings of sexuality with respect to such matters as age of consent or number of spouses, etc. Not at all. I'm an anthropologist, steeped in a relativist worldview.

That "relativist worldview" doesn't seem to be ready, perhaps you need to steep a bit longer.

We weren't sold the war in Afghanistan on the grounds that it would empower old men.

We weren't sold the war in Afghanistan at all. It didn't need selling. Had Bush stopped there, instead of invading Iraq, had he focused the power (soft and hard) of the US in Afghanistan instead of being sidetracked by Iraq - he'd be a hero to the vast majority of the US population instead of a goat.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:02 PM on December 27, 2008


Giving 4 Viagra pills to one local warlord for his cooperation != "dispens[ing] drugs to a foreign country as a means of submission"

The pills are going to be sold to one warlord, one time? And those pills will never end up in wider distribution? Well, I feel better.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:05 PM on December 27, 2008


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing: The pills are going to be sold to one warlord, one time? And those pills will never end up in wider distribution? Well, I feel better.

What percentage of the population has enough power for the CIA to care about them, isn't loyal to either side and thus necessitates a bribe, and also happens to have ED? If the viagra makes it to even 0.1% of the male population, I'd be surprised.

Oh, and the article specifies that it's already in wider distribution.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:09 PM on December 27, 2008


The pills are going to be sold to one warlord, one time? And those pills will never end up in wider distribution? Well, I feel better.

Do you really think that the point of the exercise is to build a drug distribution network? It's a bribe, for crying out loud!
posted by me & my monkey at 4:20 PM on December 27, 2008


What percentage of the population has enough power for the CIA to care about them, isn't loyal to either side and thus necessitates a bribe, and also happens to have ED? If the viagra makes it to even 0.1% of the male population, I'd be surprised.

A fair point. Maybe I'm reading more into this than I should be. I just don't like the precedent it sets, is all. Pharmaceuticals in exchange for cooperation? What happened to the good old days: trading cocaine for weapons and money, and vice versa? Say what you will about Reagan, his foreign policy inspired some pretty gripping episodes of Miami Vice.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:20 PM on December 27, 2008


What percentage of the population has enough power for the CIA to care about them, isn't loyal to either side and thus necessitates a bribe, and also happens to have ED?

I'm this pill that enhances virility has powers to redirect loyalty, with the happy leader's tribe increasing in numbers.

Also, is the term "tribal leader" always synonymous with "warlord" in Afghanistan?
posted by longsleeves at 5:18 PM on December 27, 2008


so that their waning years are sexually enhanced

Of all the people I've known who have taken Viagra, none have been actually old (I'm talking less than 40) or experienced real erectile dysfunction. It's all about wanting to have a harder boner that lasts longer. Because it's more manly, or something.

So basically, for some people (what proportion? I haven't a clue) it's basically recreational.
posted by marble at 5:54 PM on December 27, 2008


I'm sure that has nothing to do with selection bias.
posted by mek at 3:54 AM on December 28, 2008


Out of context gem from the BBC's article on operatives giving old warlords viagra:

"And after that we could do whatever we wanted in his area."
posted by taursir at 8:00 AM on December 28, 2008


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing -- And please stop saying "boner", I feel like I'm in a John Hughes movie.

Whereas I feel like I'm in a thread with "boner pills" in the window title.
posted by NortonDC at 9:46 AM on December 28, 2008


Taleban threaten to blow up girls’ schools if they refuse to close
posted by homunculus at 11:30 AM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Erectile dysfunction is a disease, fertility is not.

Not being able to get it up doesn't have the potential to be fatal. Childbirth does.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:46 PM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


We weren't sold the war in Afghanistan at all. It didn't need selling.

WTF? I didn't support the war in Afghanistan, which they lied us into just as much as they lied us into Iraq.

As for your view of my relativism, your problem if you want to be an absolutist about relativism, not mine. I'm all for respecting cultural diversity. I draw the line at the rape of young children. A little western notion called "human rights" inflects my relativism. But since I am actually just an anthropologist, I wouldn't have a fucking clue about the critique of relativism, would I?
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:51 PM on December 29, 2008


EmpressCallipygos -- Not being able to get it up doesn't have the potential to be fatal.

That is false. But even if your comment hadn't been false, it still would have been comparing extant harm to potential harm. Agitating for better care of women's bodies by denigrating care of men's bodies doesn't impress me.
posted by NortonDC at 7:01 PM on December 29, 2008


Wait, you're serious?

Erectile dysfunction causes increased risk of prostate cancer? Wait until the Cialis ad agency gets ahold of this one.

This thread has jumped the shark.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:37 PM on December 29, 2008


Agitating for better care of women's bodies by denigrating care of men's bodies doesn't impress me.

Firstly, NortonDC, nowhere did I denigrate medical care of men's bodies.

But secondly, compared to the various and sundry known and recorded risks incurred by pregnancy, delivery, and the post-partum period as well, a single study suggesting a potential connection between increased chances of prostate cancer and decreased rate of ejaculation doesn't impress me.

I mean, surely such a medically-minded person as yourself knows that it is possible for a man to ejaculate without achieving erection, and as your link implies a connection with ejaculation, not erection, therefore I am still not convinced of the medical need for Viagra, which does not resolve any ejaculatory problems, only erectile ones.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:38 PM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


WTF? I didn't support the war in Afghanistan, which they lied us into just as much as they lied us into Iraq.

I strongly suspect you're in the minority among US citizens, then, for good or ill. And, I'm not exactly sure how "they" "lied us" into Afghanistan. There are certainly arguments to be made against our involvement there, but there are big differences between our involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Again, had Bush stopped with Afghanistan, and focused solely on Al-Qaeda, he'd be a hero instead of a goat to the majority of US citizens. Whether you agree about the fairness of this, it's hard to argue against the truth of it.

As for your view of my relativism, your problem if you want to be an absolutist about relativism, not mine. I'm all for respecting cultural diversity. I draw the line at the rape of young children. A little western notion called "human rights" inflects my relativism.

There's quite a bit of contradiction in that one little paragraph. An "absolutist about relativism" - that's a good one! You use "relativism" like Humpty Dumpty might - to mean whatever you want it to mean right now. Cultural relativism one minute, ethical relativism the next, and you get to decide exactly how much relativism is too much. But in any case, pederasty is not necessarily equivalent to rape, and there's no a priori "correct" age of consent.

But since I am actually just an anthropologist, I wouldn't have a fucking clue about the critique of relativism, would I?

That's a shiny argument from authority you have there! But I don't see how being an anthropologist gives you any moral insight into, well, anything.
posted by me & my monkey at 9:38 PM on December 29, 2008


When you equate treating an extant disease with managing a fully healthy and working body function, yes, you are denigrating the care of the body with the disease. One is broken and looking to get back to baseline normal, the other is fully healthy and looking for extra control.

And that link? Nice, except that first of all it states that erection without ejaculation is more common than the converse, and secondly consigning men to anal application of electricity rather than fixing their ED sounds like, yeah, denigrating care of male bodies.

You're right that pregnancy carries many risks. That still doesn't make it a disease. Erectile dysfunction still is a disease.

In the modern industrialized world, women receive more medical care than men, and modern women live longer than men due to that care, an inversion of the life expectancy pattern found throughout human history right up until about 1920. From this perch of privilege, hearing how paying for women's extra control of working healthy body functions should come ahead of fixing men's diseases still does not impress me.
posted by NortonDC at 5:59 AM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


In the modern industrialized world, women receive more medical care than men

Only because women are more likely to take it upon themselves to consult their doctor. It is patently unfair for you to accuse women of receiving a "special privilege" when the same privilege is afforded to men, and they are shunning it. If you want men to receive more medical care, you would do better to encourage men to actually...go get it. It's there waiting for you, no one's stopping you.

You're right that pregnancy carries many risks. That still doesn't make it a disease. Erectile dysfunction still is a disease.

And you're right that erectile dysfunction is still a disease. That still doesn't make it a fatal one. On the other hand, the risks of pregnancy are fatal.

consigning men to anal application of electricity rather than fixing their ED sounds like, yeah, denigrating care of male bodies.

Many men actually like e-stim and do it recreatinoally, you know. Where is the denigration?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:43 AM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, and while we're at it: here's a more recent link than your 2004 study which discusses prostate cancer. The quote that caught my eye in particular:

"Prostate cancer is unlike any other because it is relatively slow-growing and while it can kill, it often is not lethal. [...] Is it worth risking a chance that unanticipated side effects may emerge years later if millions of men with no prostate problems take the drug? Some prostate cancer experts say the answer is yes."

So...you are arguing that a disease that MIGHT affect another disease that MOST OFTEN is not fatal takes precedence over a known syndrome that DEFINITELY leads to fatal risks, and therefore it makes perfect sense to you for viagra to be distributed, but not contraception -- even though there is an existing remedy for your "treatment", it just wigs you out.

Setting aside for the moment the fact that your interpretation of the study on your link is actually rather far-fetched -- it just mentions in passing a possible link, but the object of the study itself was to investigate whether increased ejaculation also increased prostate cancer -- I'd also like to address one final salient point. And that is the fact that nowhere did anyone suggest that people should hand out contraceptives to women instead of Viagra. People only suggested that people should hand out contraceptives to women as well as the Viagra to men.

If men are still receiving Viagra, then what is the risk of women also receiving contraception? Who is the one with the "privilege" in that instance? Might that not even lead to an increase in sexual activity, because then you would have women who are not concerned about pregnancy possibly becoming more amenable to sex themselves, and enabling this "prostate cancer prevention" plan you are espousing?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:02 AM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, in Kurdistan: The Widespread Practice of Female Circumcision in Iraq's North Highlights The Plight of Women in a Region Often Seen as More Socially Progressive
posted by homunculus at 9:15 AM on December 30, 2008


Many men actually like e-stim and do it recreatinoally, you know. Where is the denigration?

Any sexual thing that I don't like is degrading.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:19 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Afghanistan’s public health emergency
posted by homunculus at 12:48 PM on December 30, 2008


Too bad they can't convince them to switch their crops to fields of Viagara.
posted by gman at 1:02 PM on December 30, 2008


Nope, equating disease treatment with fertility suppression still doesn't impress me. Feel free to keep trying, though; I hear you've got a lot of years left to do it.
posted by NortonDC at 6:03 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Empress, give it up. The interest in Viagra in Afghanistan is purely for the prevention of prostate cancer. And even if it isn't, those Afghani women should just say "not tonight" to their Viagra-soaked male companions instead of giving them contraception. What's the worst that could happen?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:15 PM on December 30, 2008


Nope, equating disease treatment with fertility suppression still doesn't impress me.

Equating a theory that "blue balls" may actually be real with "disease treatment" doesn't impress me, either. Just for the record.

Yeah, Empress, give it up. The interest in Viagra in Afghanistan is purely for the prevention of prostate cancer.

You're right, Marisa. Silly me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:48 AM on December 31, 2008


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