Monday, 12 October 2009

Cheaper and more effective

Ross has found a fucking brilliant idea here:

Afghans are known for changing sides back and forth during their long years of war — there is an old saying that “you can rent an Afghan but never buy one” — and battles have often been decided by defections rather than combat.

Paying Taliban foot-soldiers to switch sides could spare US lives and save money, say its advocates. A recent report by the Senate foreign relations committee estimated the Taliban fighting strength at 15,000, of whom only 5% are committed idealogues while 70% fight for money — the so-called $10-a-day Taliban. Doubling this to win them over would cost just $300,000 a day, compared with the $165m a day the United States is spending fighting the war.

Now I did have a minor moral qualm with this. My bourgeois upbringing has an instinctive revulsion about the idea of bribing people. But then I thought about it a bit longer: which collective or individual sponsor of terrorism is going to want to match the US/UK investment in fighting the taliban? We currently spend $165M a day on fighting the Taliban. We could, if we double their current earnings, spend $300K a day on this. In other words, we could fight a year of the Afghan war for a lot less than we spend there per day. So, let's say Islamofascists double up again and we have to double up again. So now we're fighting a year's worth of war for 3 days' worth of current spend. So they double up again and we double up again. We're now fighting a year's worth of war for about 10 days' current spend.

And at this point, if my rudimentary maths is up to it, the $10-a-day Taliban will be earning $320 per day, which isn't a bad fucking deal for a westerner. For an Afghan, that's pretty much millionaire status. They will, collectively, say "fuck you" to the Taliban and start collecting Mercs.

And we can go on doubling and redoubling a fucking lot before it starts to cost us anything like the current costs. Al-Qaeda and their supporters will either go bankrupt or say "fuck it, there's got to be a cheaper way of doing this" and throw in the towel.

And if you combined that with buying the Afghan poppy crop for medical purposes, the Taliban would be pushed out to an irrelevant fringe while everyone else in Afghanistan decided to get rich instead.

The only people who lose out are the neo-con militarists, and frankly, they can go fuck themselves. They've had their fun.


Brian said...

Unfortunately there are a lot of wealthy Muslim countries. Plus, if the Afghans are so mercenary, what's to stop them taking the dollar AND the sheckle?

Just saying.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

Not all Muslims are terrorists, though, so the wealth of Muslim countries is a moot point.

And while someone's political or religious beliefs are probably worth a certain amount of money to them, the prospect of pissing away $165M of their own money every day would make even the most rabid of loaded sheikhs think about their priorities.

If the Afghans were caught taking both side's money, I suspect both sides would walk away.

Anonymous said...

Fuck me. The Nobel Peace prize should have been awarded to the genius Clown.

Ross said...

"The Nobel Peace prize should have been awarded to the genius Clown."

Yeah but I get to share don't I?

Anonymous said...

That's a corking idea, would have the added bonus of majorly pissing the Taliban off as well I suspect.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

@Ross: you can have the award and the glory entirely to yourself.

As long as you give me the money. :o)

(I'm sure it will pay off handsomely even without the initial dosh! ;o)

Great Big Billygoat Gruff said...

Far too Imperially sound to be adopted.

Umbongo said...

"I'm sure it will pay off handsomely"

Yeah - Ross gets to nominate the next Nobel Peace laureate. I think we'd all be jealous of that except that, per qualification no 3 on this list, almost every dildo on the faculty of every (ex)tech in the UK gets the same privilege.

I am Stan said...

How about we just get the fuck out of that hell hole...

so i troops dont die or kill anyone..

Nick said...

Interesting idea; The Straight Dope examined the same concept over the Vietnam War and came to the unfortunate conclusion that, yes, it would have been cheaper and less bloody to bribe the other side........

steveshark said...

That's genius.
I've tried to pick holes in the idea chatting to someone here, but neither of us can see why it wouldn't work.
Apart from no-one in authority having the bottle, of course.

Ross said...

Umbongo- I'm sure there are more benefits than that, I mean you don't see Rigoberta Menchu going hungry do you?

Mitch said...

That idea is so fuking brilliant you should be in government.
The bunch of clowns currently doing it are just useless wankers with the smarts of camel shit.

David Davis (Libertarian Alliance) said...

I also worked out that you could probably end the "War On terror" by offering every young man in Hamas, Fatah, Hizbollah etc the following:

$50,000 in a bag,
A three year-old Golf GTi
A pretty "palestinian" girly

and that's it.

We might also have to forge about 100,000 passports to various poorly-regarded countries on "Arab Street".

Or perhaps on second thoughts Venezuelan ones would be better, and they could piss of Hoggo Chavez while they are at it.

It would cost $5 billio, some old cars, and whatever the girls would accept in the way of danger-money. Say $10 billion.

That's about two months fighting in Afghanistan for Uncle Sam.

Umbongo said...


Very true but could you - in cold blood - contemplate spending the rest of your life (according to Rigoberta's entry in Wukipedia) "travelling around the world speaking to youth"?

Umbongo said...

or even Wikipedia

Ross said...

"travelling around the world speaking to youth"?

It's odd, Menchu does this and is celebrated whereas when Gary Glitter does it everyone gets upset.

Rob said...

The other side would have a problem if they upped the ante to a very high amount - getting the cash into the country to pay them. Would they have the muscle to protect the people bringing in the money?

Word gets out, ambushes occur, etc etc.

At least Nato has air cover and the army there to protect them.