Monday, February 04, 2008

Bribe for Good, Not Evil

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I floated this idea once or twice before but I think it's time to dredge it up again. Here are a few premises I'll start with:
  • Money talks.
  • Afghanistan is a corrupt society where has bribery flourished for centuries.
  • 50% of Afghans live on less than $1 a day
  • Canada spends $1.3 million dollars a day on the Afghan war.
  • We aren't making significant progress; we may be losing the war.
Okay, so here's my idea. Instead of throwing money away on American made war machinery and paying our troops to fight and capture Talibans only to have them bribe their way out of jail, we should bribe the entire Afghan population.

Drop money from airplanes and helicopters. Warn the Afghans that the money drops will cease if they don't put the kibosh on the Taliban. The Taliban pays its recruits $12 - $14 a day. The Afghan National Army pays $4 a day. Give the good guys enough money so they can pay better than the bad guys. If there are any good guys, that is.

Bribery is an entrenched way of life in Afghanistan. We need to accept that fact. Because we're so afraid of learning that our Afghan allies torture prisoners, we turn a blind eye to all detainee treatment. In doing so, we turn a blind eye to the fact that 60% -70% of Afghan prisoners are able to bribe their way out of jail -- sometimes in hours, sometimes in weeks; sometimes after they've been tortured, sometimes before being tortured.

Bribery has proven itself to be more powerful than NATO's military might. We should use bribery to our advantage. Admit that Afghanistan is run by a corrupt central government with corruption pervading every level of authority. Use that knowledge to shape the nature of the state.

Why send our kids to die when we could just bribe our way to success? I contend that it would be much cheaper and safer.

Currently, it costs NATO something like $1200 for every Taliban killed or captured. Since the captured ones are back out on the battlefield shortly after their capture, we're paying double or even triple when we are forced to fight the very same men again and again.

Never mind sending troops. Never mind trying to build schools. (Since 2001, 624 schools built. In 2007, 590 schools destroyed.) Never mind trying to clean up the government. Never mind trying to eradicate the opium crop.

Just bribe the entire population.

If they will sign up for frontline Taliban fighting at $14 a day, imagine the loyalty we could buy with a $6/hour minimum wage.

Change the climate in Parliament.


No comments: