Wednesday, December 8, 2010

WikiLeaks: Texas Company Helped Pimp Little Boys To Stoned Afghan Cops

WikiLeaks: Texas Company Helped Pimp Little Boys To Stoned Afghan Cops - Houston News - Hair Balls:
The Afghanistan cable (dated June 24, 2009) discusses a meeting between Afghan Interior Minister Hanif Atmar and US assistant ambassador Joseph Mussomeli. Prime among Atmar's concerns was a party partially thrown by DynCorp for Afghan police recruits in Kunduz Province.

Many of DynCorp's employees are ex-Green Berets and veterans of other elite units, and the company was commissioned by the US government to provide training for the Afghani police. According to most reports, over 95 percent of its $2 billion annual revenue comes from US taxpayers.

And in Kunduz province, according to the leaked cable, that money was flowing to drug dealers and pimps. Pimps of children, to be more precise. (The exact type of drug was never specified.)
Some secrets need to have the light shined on them. Even if shining that light exposes other people to danger or compromises other diplomatic ventures that may do some larger good; it is never, never, never acceptable to prostitute children in the service of any diplomatic or military objective. Let me be absolutely clear on this, and I expect many will disagree: there is no objective that it is worth doing that to accomplish. You can make up any bullshit, ticking nuclear bomb scenario you want and the all-lives-are-saved resolution of that scenario still would not justify the types of means we're talking about here. If this is the kind of stuff the we're going to find out about as a result of the whole Wikileaks affair, then my concerns about diplomats being able to conduct themselves in secret (because we can easily imagine it is beneficial to control the information available to different parties in negotiations and therefore can see a value to maintaining secrecy for diplomats) evaporate and I lean more towards saying we should rip the lid off the whole damn thing, expose it all and damn the consequences.

Say, for argument's sake, the Afghan police could stop a plot a that would result dirty bombs from going off in every major American city resulting in hundreds of millions of deaths instantly, and untold chaos and destruction for decades to come. Even if the only way to prevent that from happening was to give one Afghan cop one little boy to rape, one little boy vs. hundreds of millions of American lives and the American way of life itself, you do not do it. You just don't. Here's why: if you asked all those people who were going to die if he or she were willing to prostitute a child to save his or her life, and that person said, "yes, that child must be prostituted to save me," then that life wasn't worth saving anyways. If you think sexual exploitation of children, torture of children (or anyone, for that matter) are necessary and acceptable conditions for your survival or your society's survival, then ... well, you're evil, your society is evil, and none of it is worth saving. Some things have to be done the hard way, the risky way, the expensive way, and whether or not you're willing to pay that price defines your character.

That's the abstract, the hypothetical. In reality, I don't believe it is ever necessary to accommodate the desires of evil men in pursuit of justice. It may be the most efficient (i.e., the least expensive, the least costly in terms of death and violence), but I don't think it is ever the only way to accomplish a goal that can be said to be "good."  Accommodating the desires of evil men is, however, clearly the best way to accomplish goals that can be said to be "evil." So, again I'm anticipating the chorus of (right wing, neocon, tea party, hawkish, pragmatic) voices that say things like "you have to break some eggs to make omelets" or make appeals to moral ambiguity and there being "shades of gray," both of which are true enough, but neither of which apply to the matter at hand. People are not eggs. There are plenty of cases of we can imagine where it is not clear what the right action to take is. Even in the example discussed where there were drugs and child rape involved, we can ask: would it be worth supplying Afghan police just the drugs to party with in exchange for helpful information? Well, here we can get into gray areas where we might need to weigh how useful the information or cooperation we expect to get is versus the issues we run into when trafficking in illicit drugs. The difference is drugs are not inherently evil. There are your shades of gray. Getting high and partying doesn't directly cause other humans to suffer the way, oh say, raping, torturing, or murdering them does.

You may think it's sophisticated to say, "there's no black and white," it's not. Sophisticated moral reasoning involves being able to recognize when there are shades of gray, and when the situation is black and white. We get tested lots of ways in life, sometimes the test question requires an essay answer, sometimes the answer is true or false. The question here is whether the statement "Child rape is sometimes justified," is true or false. The statement is false, and, as a result, if you, me, or anyone else is put in danger by that child not being raped, then so be it. If you, me, or anyone else is put in danger as a result of steps taken to prevent my tax dollars from being used to prostitute children, then so be it.
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