iscrediting foreign dictators with fake rumors is a noble tradition among covert operatives — consider the Cold War–era plan to distribute doctored photos of a fat Fidel Castro — but a recently revealed CIA proposal involving Saddam Hussein is sparking debate. A former official told The Washington Post the CIA planned to "flood Iraq" in 2003 with a grainy video purporting to show the Iraqi dictator having sex with a teenage boy. Is "strategically" suggesting that a dictator is homosexual just a form of gay-bashing?
As we learned from Abu Ghraib, such tactics backfire: Such a video would do little but expose the "homophobic Western military culture that breeds such attitudes," says Daniel Villareal at Queerty. The "gay antics" in which our soldiers forced Abu Ghraib prisoners to participate did nothing but turn the rest of the world against America for "acting like homophobic fratboys."
"5 reasons why the Saddam Hussein gay kiddie porn sex tape never happened"
No one in the Middle East would care anyway: The plan was pointless, says an unnamed former CIA operative quoted in The Washington Post. Showing Saddam cavorting with young boys "would have no resonance in the Middle East," which is more tolerant of homosexuality than the West. An attempt to "mount such a campaign would show a total misunderstanding of the target."
"CIA Unit's wacky idea: depict Saddam as gay"
These gay shenanigans have an ignoble history: This wouldn't have been the first time such "homoerotic tactics" were used in the Middle East, says Noah Shachtman in Wired. Who can forget the CIA's circa-2000 attempt to shame a suspected gay terrorist into becoming an informer? Hopefully now that "don't, ask don't tell" is "heading for history's ash heap," such disgraceful antics will go the same way.
"CIA mulled Saddam gay sex vid, made Osama tape instead"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why China's Communist Party is headed for collapse
- Why Texas Republicans may want to cool the anti-Obama land-grab talk
- He said he was leaving. She ignored him.
- Why the poor's investment of choice is so alarming
- 31 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to make perfect fried rice in 6 easy steps
- Obama doesn't have a manhood problem — but conservatives certainly do
- Why Antonin Scalia was right to defend a drug dealer
- Why we need a maximum wage
- Why atheism doesn't have the upper hand over religion
Subscribe to the Week