(Mike Masnick) Oh, vaccines. Sure, here in the US we’re dealing with the return of diseases like measles, mumps and whooping cough due to people who are very confused about how vaccines work. But the big news last week on the vaccine front has to be the return of polio, which has freaked out the World Health Organization, who declared it a public health emergency.
The return of polio is also due to an ill-informed anti-vaccine campaign — not one driven by people confused by a fraudulent study, but rather by the Taliban. Many of the new cases are in Pakistan and a variety of nearby countries. The Taliban has been arguing for a while that vaccinations and vaccination drives are really efforts by western intelligence and/or imperialism.
The problem is: the CIA basically confirmed that for them by using a fake vaccination campaignto find Osama bin Laden a few years ago. Suddenly, crazy rumors about vaccination programs simply being fronts for the US intelligence community weren’t just more reasonable, they were flat out confirmed. And, soon after that was all revealed, suddenly the rates of polio shot up? Right around the same time that polio vaccination workers started getting killed in Pakistan?
And yet… almost none of the media coverage of the WHO’s new emergency warning mentions the CIA connection. The two NY Times articles above don’t mention it at all.
We see this same sort of thing from the US intelligence community all the time. It never seems to do any sort of realistic cost-benefit analysis, assuming that it needs to “find the bad guys at all costs.” But some of those “costs” can be immense. Bringing back the threat of polio around the globe is a massive cost. Yes, bin Laden was a very bad person, but was it worth bringing back a polio epidemic?