Short term success or long term conflict management?

The cliché often used to get people to take medicine is” ‘short term pain for long term gain’. How Osama bin Ladin was captured is also a cautionary tale about short term gain for long term pain.

The CIA used a nurse and doctor to withdraw blood while vaccinating suspects. The DNA confirmed the suspect was indeed there. So, what are the problems with tricking people – in this using a fake medical scenario – to obtain information or data?

Trust breaking

The West and the Arab world are in high stakes conflict situations in a few places. Medical personnel routinely risk their lives in high conflict zones around the world. They rely on trust about their impartiality to deliver emergency services to all combatants in need of treatment. Will they now be trusted as impartial? Eventually, peace will have to be negotiated. Those negotiations will require some level of trust among the parties. Deceit and trust building are usually mutually exclusive.

The law of unintended consequences

The Internet is rife with conspiracy theories that inoculations are a Western plot against identifiable groups, in this, Muslims. Already some communities are refusing vaccinations that they believe are a plot to sterilize them or introduce genetic mutations or illness. Polio could make a resurgence as a global plague because those communities don’t trust the West. This ploy to find a targeted man using a medical team to vaccinate and, without consent take blood for DNA testing, feeds that conspiracy story.

While the CIA operation of DNA analysis was high tech, the device for obtaining it was simple. However, peacemaking can suffer when linear thinking is applied to complex nonlinear conflict situations. For one objective – finding a person – there may be a setback in a global health objective of using modern vaccines for eradicating diseases.

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