Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Some of the blame

"In 2011, American intelligence, in a stunning display of arrogance, stupidity, or both, faked a vaccination drive as a cover for its attempt to pin down the location of Osama bin Laden. (The idea was to get DNA samples from the children in the Abbottabad compound while injecting them with a dummy vaccine, and then compare them to those of bin Laden’s relatives.) There is a history here, and somebody in the American intelligence community should have known it. The world was close to eradication in 2004 as well. Then several mullahs in northern Nigeria campaigned against polio vaccinations—claiming they were part of a Western plot. The result was that people who were infected went to Mecca on the hajj and spread their disease to people from many countries.
Pakistan’s attitude toward those who are associated with the C.I.A. has not exactly been a secret. After the raid on bin Laden’s compound, the doctor who tried to obtain the DNA was arrested and sentenced to thirty-three years in prison. I don’t mean to lay these crimes on anyone other than the murderers. But the sickness and death caused by a renewed polio epidemic in South Asia would make today’s tragedy seem small. Again, we should hold the killers responsible for this terrible reversal. But at least some of blame lies in the swamplands of Langley, Virginia."