CIA Viagra Torture Not Funny!

With respect to the generally humorous tone with which the blogosphere, yours truly included, greeted the news that the CIA is giving Viagra to Afghan chieftains in hopes of softening them up psychologically by temporarily doing the converse physically, Kathy Kattenburg is concerned that 1) the wives of the chieftain in question may not be willing sexual partners and that 2) Viagra is supposed to be administered under prescription from a medical doctor.

There’s no evidence, though, that the chieftain was having sex with his wives, let alone that they were unwilling.  Perhaps he has girlfriends.  Perhaps his wives truly love him and miss his affection?  Beyond that, to the extent that his wives were unwilling partners, that was the case before the CIA got involved.  In any case, the CIA isn’t responsible for his choice of sexual partners.

While I’m anti-torture and think there are lines as to how my government should obtain information about terrorist activity, giving prescription drugs with unknown side effects to people who then freely decide to take them in order to get known benefits strikes me as decidedly on this side of the line.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bithead says:

    Thus answering the question:

    “Have we become overly sensitive?”

  2. rodney dill says:

    the wives of the chieftain in question may not be willing sexual partners

    I figured someone would bring this up. Why this concern when we rarely or never see concern that women under Sharia law are essentially second class citizens.

  3. Dave Schuler says:

    Viagra is supposed to be administered under prescription from a medical doctor.

    Not in Afghanistan. That’s not the law there. I’d be interested in hearing the moral argument in favor of the medical monopoly on prescribing medication (I think it’s a pragmatic calculation rather than grounded in morality). I’d be especially interested in understanding how that moral stance should inform our larger policy.

  4. This just demonstrates that anything, and I do mean anything, can be twisted in such a way as to get someone’s hackles up.

  5. Al Bee says:

    NOW charges into the fray. NOW is the time for NOW to send a division of feminists to Afghanistan and change the Islamic attitude toward women. No need for me to point out the silly reasoning behind the article. Many before me have done an excellent job.

  6. tom p says:

    CIA Viagra Torture Not Funny!
    Not to argue with you James, but yes it is.
    In fact, every time I read that headline, a vision leaps to mind: A prisoner in a chair, with his hands strapped behind his back, and the most humongous stiffie arising from his lap while interrogators sit before him leafing thru Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler…

  7. charles johnson says:

    Thus answering the question:

    Have we has one person become overly sensitive?”
    Posted by Bithead | December 27, 2008 | 09:30 am | Permalink

    Fixed that for you.