Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hard Lessons in COIN - or – ‘Bloody Hell John Bull, we give them Viagra, and they still don’t like us.’

Sometimes the parodies write themselves.

According to the always reliable “Daily Beast” which, as far as I can tell, is somehow related to the always reliable Newsweek, we have this resolve-wilting tale of woe.

As part of efforts at winning over Afghan locals of influence in Helmand province, it seems some British units eventually gained enough confidence from the mullahs and muezzin that they began to confide their sexual difficulties, you know the ones. Difficulties that come with age.

 So, what did our British partners do with this information? How did they leverage this confidence?

Did they provide these old men with a Blues collection, some selection of songs by iconic bluesmen like Howlin’ Wolf or John Lee Hooker?


Did they play the Viagra commercials that use these classics, (such usage already having ruined these classics for millions)?


Speaking of hookers….

Nope. [That would just have reminded them of their limitations.]

Playboy Channel?

Nope and..



They in fact gave the old Afghans Viagra without their even having to first acquire prescriptions from bona fide MDs.


After that brainstorm, thinking they really had hit the grand mother-lode of heart and minds transformational awesomeness, our British allies then decided to take a group of really cooperative Old Afghans on a tour of the wonderfulness that is the Open Society that is England:

Some mullahs who were receiving the Viagra were so helpful that the team was able to get the high command’s permission to take one dozen of the most cooperative preachers on a tour of the U.K. “The idea was to show them that Islam is widely and freely practiced in the U.K.,” says the former team member. On the way to Britain, the group stopped over in Dubai, where the mullahs saw Muslim women in the desert heat baring more skin than would be allowed back home.

Not hard to imagine that the newly invigorated Mullahs found this stop to be a bit distracting

While in London they were surprised to see how many British women, who were dressed for the cold weather, were more covered than those in Dubai.

Good. Less distractions, what with all that Viagra coursing through their veins. Good thing this was a winter trip. So how did that trip go? Were hearts and minds won?

The mullahs were impressed with the small mosques that are located inside the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office. They also visited a number of London mosques, where they talked freely with other clergy and worshipers. But the team members who accompanied the mullahs were disappointed when it seemed that much of the bonhomie that had been on display in Helmand disappeared as the mullahs interacted with British mullahs and the faithful in the mosques. The Helmandi mullahs still referred to Jews and Christians as “the enemies of Islam,” and to the Americans and the British in Afghanistan as “invaders” who must be driven out.

But, wait a minute. Hold on now. Why the hard words? How’s that for gratitude? You’d think that all the bonhomie would have perhaps stiffened their resolve in the face of old prejudices.


As a result, after realizing that it was difficult to gauge the overall success of the program, Project Mullah was suspended at the end of 2010. “Even with the Viagra we never got a clear sense that we had greatly improved the West’s image among Helmand’s mullahs,” says the team’s adviser. “We’re simply not sure we have been successful in pacifying the region.” Even Viagra, it seems, has its limitations.


Should have given them the Blues collection.