Saturday, February 16, 2008

UPDATED: Warriors out of their minds: Drugs of choice for super soldiers

UPDATE: Stressed Iraqi soldiers abusing prescription drugs
The abuse of prescription drugs, widely available in Iraq on the black market and through private pharmacies, has significantly increased since 2003, doctors and other health specialists say, nourished by the stresses of the war and the lack of strict government regulation.

Dealers do a brisk business in tranquilizers, painkillers and other drugs, specialists say, and drug abuse is a problem in the prisons and among Iraqis who live in poor neighborhoods or who are unemployed.

But in recent years, Iraqi soldiers and police officers have also turned to drugs to ease the stresses of their jobs. In particular, they are abusing Artane, a medication used to treat Parkinson's disease that can have euphoric effects when used in high doses.

"They believe that this Artane allows them to become courageous, to become brave," said one doctor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the issue.

"They take it so that there is no anxiety, no fear," he said, "so they can break down doors and enter houses with no shame."

No clear evidence exists that the misuse of prescription drugs has a significant effect on how soldiers and police officers perform their duties. Nor are any figures available on how widespread drug abuse is in the security forces or whether most of those who use the drugs do so daily.

But Qasim, 26, estimated that one out of three soldiers in his army unit takes Artane or other drugs while on duty. Jalal Ammar, 45, an Iraqi police officer, said "probably 30 percent" of the police officers he worked with used Artane and other medications.


UPDATE:
World armies still use psychotropic drugs to make fearless machines of their soldiers
It is an open secret that US servicemen were taking pills against fear during military actions in Iraq. The ephedrine-based psychotropic medications reduce pain and stress reactions, although they also have a side effect – sudden attacks of anger and sadism. The pills generated quite a number of international scandals in the world. Two F-16 pilots bombed a column of Canadian military men by mistake in April 2002 in Kandahar. It was later determined that the two pilots were under the influence of amphetamine stimulants which they had taken prior to the task. A fearless soldier is definitely a plus, although anti-fear pills do not make invincible soldiers.
Germany was the first country to step on the path of chemical wars. Those soldiers and officers returning from the Franco-Prussian War in 1870-1871 developed a great addiction to morphine. The majority of them were making injections of morphine to ease the hardship of their military service. The war became a hazy experience for them, which is a positive factor per se. However, many of them could not quite morphine injections afterwards.
There are numerous legends about the narcotic additions of Nazi soldiers during WWII. German soldiers never refused an ephedrine-based psychostimulant known as pervitine. They did not sleep and had no fear at all under the influence of the drug. Hitler was addicted to cocaine, whereas SS was distributing narcotics for superior initiations. SS laboratories were making a variety of modifications of psychotropic drugs to control the impulses of human will and give immense strength to people.
The French army used psychotropic drugs for its soldiers too. The French military originally discovered those drugs during tribal wars on the African continent. They particularly found that the Africans were eating the nuts of Cola acuminate herbs. In addition to its nutritional qualities, the nuts could make a human being incredibly strong and full of energy. The chemical analysis of the cola nuts revealed that they contained 2.5 percent of caffeine and a unique complex of vitamins, microelements and nutrients. The French subsequently used the cola nut extraction to make invigorating crackers for the military. As a result, a battalion of French soldiers easily marched 55 kilometers under the scorching African sun. Afterwards, the extraction was used in the production of chocolate – this product is still used in the rations of practically all armies of the world.
Vodka and spirit have always been the major stimulant and stress reliever in the Russian army. It was widely used during WWII to overcome pain shocks and raise the soldiers’ morale. Russian servicemen also mixed spirit with cocaine – the beverage was known as the trench cocktail. The cocktail was also used in surgery as an anesthetic agent.
Great Britain purchased 24,000 capsules of provigil – a psychostimulant known for its contradictory reputation. The drug is licensed for use in Britain and the United States only in cases of severe psychoneurological disturbances linked with pathological daytime somnolency.
The Britons believe that the drug can be used to keep pilots and other servicemen of special units in a state of consciousness for long operations that last for more than 48 hours. Provigil can cause increased nervousness, irritation, dizziness and headache. It may also develop intestinal disorders, high arterial blood pressure and arrhythmia.
The Chinese were the first to discover ephedrine – they described its narcotic qualities over 5,000 years ago. Regular intakes of psychostimulants result in psychic disorders which combine extreme suspiciousness, delusional perception of the world, hallucinations and the loss of the sense of reality.

UPDATE: Psych meds spike among young troops

Overall, the number of prescriptions filled for psychiatric medications rose 42 percent from 2005 to 2009 among Tricare beneficiaries in that age group, according to data provided by Tricare Management Activity in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

That compares to an increase of 24 percent among Tricare beneficiaries ages 45 to 64, mostly retirees. For children 17 and younger, the increase was 18 percent.

All the increases outpace overall growth in the Tricare population over the same period.

Anti-depressants like Zoloft, Wellbutrin and Celexa account for slightly more than half of the prescriptions in this age group. But increasingly, young adults in the military and their spouses are turning to other types of psych meds to treat their mental health problems.

Prescriptions for stimulants, including amphetamines and drugs to treat attention-deficit disorders, more than doubled. And claims for anti-psychotics like Seroquel and Abilify nearly doubled from 2005 to 2009 among beneficiaries ages 18 to 34, the Tricare data show. Seroquel is often used to treat nightmares and sleeping problems related to post-traumatic stress disorder.

The rise — and potential dangers — of psychiatric drug use is a growing concern for many military officials and doctors.

History of Opium, Morphine, and Heroin
Dr. Alexander Wood of Edinburgh discovered the technique injecting morphine with a syringe in 1843. The effects of injected morphine were instantaneous and three times more potent than oral administration.
Heroin (diacetylmorphine) was first synthesized in 1874 by English researcher, C.R. Wright. The drug went unstudied and unused until 1895 when Heinrich Dreser working for The Bayer Company of Germany, found that diluting morphine with acetyls produced a drug without the common morphine side effects. Heroin was considered a highly effective medication for coughs, chest pains, and the discomfort of tuberculosis. This effect was important because pneumonia and tuberculosis were the two leading causes of death at that time, prior to the discovery of antibiotics. Heroin was touted to doctors as stronger than morphine and safer than codeine. It was thought to be nonaddictive, and even thought to be a cure for morphine addiction or for relieving morphine withdrawal symptoms. Because of its supposed great potential, Dreser derived his name for the new drug from the German word for `heroic.'
During the Civil War, and at least until 1914, opiates were considered the best medicine for controlling dysentery and diarrhea and for containing the pain from war wounds. The Surgeon General's history of the just ended Civil War was often lavish in its praise of opium.
"Opium -- this medicine merits first place among these remedies. It was used almost universally in all cases of severe wounds, and was particularly useful in penetrating wounds of the chest, in quieting the nervous system and, indirectly in moderating hemmorhage.
(US Surgeon General, 1870 :645)
But, how great was the need? How widely was it used? Given the need, and the use, of opiates then, how many soldier addicts were there in the Civil War?
Official records from the Civil War show more incidents of severe illness for which opiates were the main remedy than there were wounds. More died from disease than were killed in battle or succumbed to wounds (For Union troops, 62% "disease," 19% "battle," and 12% "Wounds" of 360,000 deaths among Union troops). (Duncan, 1912:397) Union medical records (for medical problems, not deaths) show approximately 1,400,000 acute and 200,000 chronic cases of diarrhea or dysentery, 250,000 wounds, and 300,000 cases, combined, of typhoid, typhus, continued fever, venereal disease, scurvy, delerium tremens, insanity and paralysis. (Brooks, 1966:127) There were 30,000 amputations reported performed by the Union's doctors. (US Surgeon General, 1883) Among Confederate prisoners, 32% of the almost 19,000 who died in captivity in the north succumbed to diarrhea or dysentery. (Brooks, 1966:126) In Andersonville prison from February 1864 to April 1865, of 12,541 recorded Union soldier captives who died, 45% did so from diarrhea or dysentery, and only 7% from wounds, gangrene or "debility." (US Surgeon General, 1879:32) There was obviously a great need for opiates.
Civil War physicians frequently dispensed opiates. The Secretary of War just after 1865 stated the Union Army was issued 10 million opium pills, over 2,840,000 ounces of other opiate preparations (such as laudunum or paregoric which, by weight, were well under half opium), and almost 30,000 ounces of morphine sulphate. (Courtwright, 1978:106-7 and 1982)
Hitler's Drugged Soldiers
The Nazis preached abstinence in the name of promoting national health. But when it came to fighting their Blitzkrieg, they had no qualms about pumping their soldiers full of drugs and alcohol. Speed was the drug of choice, but many others became addicted to morphine and alcohol.
[...]
Many of the Wehrmacht's soldiers were high on Pervitin when they went into battle, especially against Poland and France -- in a Blitzkrieg fueled by speed. The German military was supplied with millions of methamphetamine tablets during the first half of 1940. The drugs were part of a plan to help pilots, sailors and infantry troops become capable of superhuman performance. The military leadership liberally dispensed such stimulants, but also alcohol and opiates, as long as it believed drugging and intoxicating troops could help it achieve victory over the Allies. But the Nazis were less than diligent in monitoring side-effects like drug addiction and a decline in moral standards.
After it was first introduced into the market in 1938, Pervitin, a methamphetamine drug newly developed by the Berlin-based Temmler pharmaceutical company, quickly became a top seller among the German civilian population. According to a report in the Klinische Wochenschrift ("Clinical Weekly"), the supposed wonder drug was brought to the attention of Otto Ranke, a military doctor and director of the Institute for General and Defense Physiology at Berlin's Academy of Military Medicine. The effects of amphetamines are similar to those of the adrenaline produced by the body, triggering a heightened state of alert. In most people, the substance increases self-confidence, concentration and the willingness to take risks, while at the same time reducing sensitivity to pain, hunger and thirst, as well as reducing the need for sleep. In September 1939, Ranke tested the drug on 90 university students, and concluded that Pervitin could help the Wehrmacht win the war. At first Pervitin was tested on military drivers who participated in the invasion of Poland. Then, according to criminologist Wolf Kemper, it was "unscrupulously distributed to troops fighting at the front."

Thirty-five million tablets
During the short period between April and July of 1940, more than 35 million tablets of Pervitin and Isophan (a slightly modified version produced by the Knoll pharmaceutical company) were shipped to the German army and air force. Some of the tablets, each containing three milligrams of active substance, were sent to the Wehrmacht's medical divisions under the code name OBM, and then distributed directly to the troops. A rush order could even be placed by telephone if a shipment was urgently needed. The packages were labeled "Stimulant," and the instructions recommended a dose of one to two tablets "only as needed, to maintain sleeplessness."
Even then, doctors were concerned about the fact that the regeneration phase after taking the drug was becoming increasingly long, and that the effect was gradually decreasing among frequent users. In isolated cases, users experienced health problems like excessive perspiration and circulatory disorders, and there were even a few deaths. Leonardo Conti, the German Reich's minister of health and an adherent of Adolf Hitler's belief in asceticism, attempted to restrict the use of the pill, but was only moderately successful, at least when it came to the Wehrmacht. Although Pervitin was classified as a restricted substance on July 1, 1941, under the Opium Law, ten million tablets were shipped to troops that same year.
Pervitin was generally viewed as a proven drug to be used when soldiers were likely to be subjected to extreme stress. A memorandum for navy medical officers stated the following: "Every medical officer must be aware that Pervitin is a highly differentiated and powerful stimulant, a tool that enables him, at any time, to actively and effectively help certain individuals within his range of influence achieve above-average performance."
"Their spirits suddenly improved"
The effects were seductive. In January 1942, a group of 500 German soldiers stationed on the eastern front and surrounded by the Red Army were attempting to escape. The temperature was minus 30 degrees Celsius. A military doctor assigned to the unit wrote in his report that at around midnight, six hours into their escape through snow that was waist-deep in places, "more and more soldiers were so exhausted that they were beginning to simply lie down in the snow." The group's commanding officers decided to give Pervitin to their troops. "After half an hour," the doctor wrote, "the men began spontaneously reporting that they felt better. They began marching in orderly fashion again, their spirits improved, and they became more alert."
From 1942, the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler received daily injections of methamphetamine from his personal physician, Dr Theodor Morell. Hitler's ailments have been attributed to everything from tertiary syphilis to Parkinson's disease. But many of The Führer's clinical signs and symptoms may have been caused by his exotic drug regimen.
In Hitler's Wehrmacht, methamphetamine tablets branded as Pervitin were liberally distributed to German fighting troops throughout the War. Amphetamines are "power drugs" that reduce fatigue, heighten aggression, and diminish human warmth and empathy.
The disinhibiting and pain-numbing effects of drugs make them perfect for turning people into killing machines. In fact, criminals on PCP have been reported to withstand multiple shocks with Taser guns, pepper spray, and Mace, and even direct gunshot wounds to the chest, without slowing down. It’s no wonder that so many generals have relied on drugs to bring out the so-called best in unwitting soldiers.
1. Nazi Shock Troops
During World War II, Nazi Germany definitely led the pack in its use of amphetamines, cocaine, and other “performance-enhancing” drugs. In fact, amphetamine pills were included in every German soldier’s first-aid kit, and Nazi researchers developed chewing gum that delivered a dose of cocaine with each piece. But that wasn’t all! According to a book by German author and criminologist Wolf Kemper on the subject, Nazis on Speed, one of the substances tested by the Nazis in 1944, D-IX, was actually a cocaine-based compound that included both amphetamine and a morphine-related chemical to dull pain. The experimental drug was tested on prisoners of war, and Nazi doctors found the test subjects could march 55 miles without a rest before they collapsed. The Nazis hoped that the drug could put some fighting spirit into their armies, which were by that time being defeated on all fronts, but luckily the war ended before production could begin.
2. Thai and Burmese Bandit Armies
“The Golden Triangle”—an area straddling Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, where poppy plants grow particularly well—has long been a center of the international drug trade, and for centuries national armies, revolutionaries, and criminal gangs have waged war for control of the income it generates. Recently, however, bandits and rebels from all three countries have begun recruiting children, feeding them opium, hashish, amphetamines, and tranquilizers to give them courage, then sending them out on “human wave” attacks. The disturbing phenomenon leaves a huge proportion of the children dead. One adult soldier from Burma who had to fight these poor child soldiers recalled, “There were a lot of boys rushing into the field, screaming like banshees. It seemed like they were immortal, or impervious, or something, because we shot at them but they just kept coming.”
3. U.S. Army “Go Pills”
Though amphetamines are essentially off-limits for the civilian population of the United States, American armed forces have long made use of them to enhance the fighting abilities of pilots, soldiers, and sailors, and to keep them awake for long periods of time. Interest peaked in World War II, when all the major combatants on both sides conducted extensive research and distributed large amounts of stimulants to their soldiers. Surprisingly enough, America’s armed forces continue the practice to this very day. The amphetamine most often dispensed to American servicemen and women is Dexedrine, short for dextroamphetamine sulfate, also referred to as “go pills.” In one April 2002 incident in Afghanistan, pilots from the Illinois Air National Guard accidentally dropped bombs on a Canadian unit, killing four and wounding eight. In the inquiry that followed, the pilots claimed that they were disoriented because they had been forced to take Dexedrine “go pills” by their superiors and would have been declared unfit for combat if they had not.
4. West African Child Soldiers
In the brutal civil wars that have bedeviled West Africa over the last two decades, much of the fighting is done by children who are teenagers or younger. Armed with automatic weapons, the children are rewarded with sex, candy, tobacco, or alcohol—anything that encourages them to fight. However, sometimes the temptation isn’t great enough, so their adult commanders often find it helps to ply them with more powerful drugs that inhibit their judgment. In Sierra Leone, Western observers met children between the ages of 9 and 16 who had been given amphetamines, while children of similar age in the militias of Liberian president Charles Taylor were routinely given cocaine, opium, marijuana, and palm wine to encourage their killer instincts. Often dressed in outlandish costumes out of a belief that strange clothing would protect them in combat—a wedding dress with fright wig was a favorite—these children were described by the journalists who met them as borderline psychotic.
The Kamikaze pilots clipped their fingernails and put them in a small box. The box was presented to their commander prior to their leaving for the last mission. This box was then presented to the family of the pilot upon completion of the mission. During the pilot's funeral the box was the proxy for the body that would never return.
In return for their fingernails the pilots were given a recent Japanese invention called methamphetamine, a sort of bottled bravery. This insured that they could stay awake for the long sorties over the Pacific and they wouldn't need food. The other helpful effect was that upon arrival at the target they were so tweaked some almost certainly believed that they would survive the attack without a scratch and return home to their families and the glory of the Emperor
Wartime applications
Despite signs of the drug's abuse, the military in World War II realized the potential for a pill that would help troops stay awake for days during battles and keep pilots alert on long bombing missions. American GIs may have consumed up to 200 million amphetamine tablets, including many made at a San Diego naval base, Owen wrote.

Meanwhile, German blitzkrieg strikes and suicidal Japanese kamikaze and banzai attacks may have been inspired by something more than fearless nationalism; those nations supplied their forces with Pervitin and Isophan, brand names for methamphetamine.

Benzedrine continued to be a popular diet pill and pick-me-up in postwar America, but signs that people were abusing "bennies," as they came to be called on the street, led the federal government to make them a prescription drug in 1951
World War II
One of the earliest uses of methamphetamine was during World War II when the German military dispensed it under the trade name Pervitin.[4] It was widely distributed across rank and division, from elite forces to tank crews and aircraft personnel. Chocolates dosed with methamphetamine were known as Fliegerschokolade ("flyer's chocolate") when given to pilots, or Panzerschokolade ("tanker's chocolate") when given to tank crews. From 1942 until his death in 1945, Adolf Hitler was given daily intravenous injections of methamphetamine by his personal physician, Theodor Morell as a treatment for depression and fatigue. It is possible that it was used to treat Hitler's speculated Parkinson's disease, or that his Parkinson-like symptoms which developed from 1940 onwards were related to use of methamphetamine
Men who were sent to Vietnam before 1969 found marijuana plentiful but little else in the way of illicit drugs (Stanton, 1976). Some amphetamines were available—in part, because the military issued them to help men stay alert on reconnaissance missions. In 1969, heroin and opium began to arrive on the scene, and by 1970-1971 these opiates were very widely available. Marijuana was still the most commonly used illicit drug, but opiates outstripped amphetamines and barbiturates in availability. Heroin and opium were relatively cheap and very pure, so pure that the soldiers could get ample effect by smoking heroin in combination with TOBACCO or marijuana. This made opiates appealing to men who would have been reluctant to inject them.
At the height of the use of opiates, in 1971, almost half the army's enlisted men had tried them; of those who tried them, about half used enough to develop the hallmarks of addiction—TOLERANCE and WITHDRAWAL symptoms (Robins et al., 1975). Marijuana use was even more common; about two-thirds of these soldiers used it. The estimates come from an independent survey of a random sample of army enlisted men eight to twelve months after their return from Vietnam, after the great majority had been discharged (Robins et al., 1975). Previous studies in Vietnam (Stanton, 1972; Roffman & Sapol, 1970; Char, 1972) or among men still in service after return (Rohrbaugh et al., 1974) were less reliable, because of difficulties in collecting a random sample, use of questionnaires rather than interviews (which can lead to careless responses or failure to answer completely), and because the surveys were being done by the army itself, while the men were still subject to possible disciplinary action.
The standard tour of duty for Vietnam soldiers was twelve months. Drug use typically began soon after arrival in Vietnam, showing that it was not at all difficult to find a supplier. Older men used less than younger soldiers, career soldiers less than those serving their first term. Drug experience before induction was a powerful predictor of use in Vietnam (Robins et al., 1980). Essentially all those with drug experience before enlistment used drugs in Vietnam. Of course, there were also some soldiers who used drugs there for the first time.
"Given the extent of recreational drug use within the military, and the use of performance-enhancing drugs among athletes, it is very easy to imagine that warriors would consider using any manner of drug they thought would increase their chance of returning home alive," says John Pike, a defense expert with GlobalSecurity.org in Alexandria, Va.

During the Gulf War, according to one military study, "pilots quickly learned the characteristics of the stimulant [Dexedrine] and used it efficiently." Pilots were issued the pills and took them if and when they felt the need.
Some people have defended that practice. "If you can't trust them with the medication, then you can't trust them with a $50 million airplane to try and kill someone," says one squadron commander whose unit had the fewest pilots but flew more hours and shot down more Iraqi MIGs than any other squadron.
But military officials, as well as medical experts, warn that the use of amphetamines can clearly have its bad side.
The flight surgeon's guide to "Performance Maintenance During Continuous Flight Operations" (written by the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory in Pensacola, Fla.) mentions such possible side effects as euphoria, depression, hypertension, and addiction. There's also the possibility of "idiosyncratic reactions" (amphetamines can be associated with feelings of aggression and paranoia) as well as getting hooked on the "cyclic use of a stimulant/sedative combination."
"The risk of drug accumulation from repetitive dosing warrants serious consideration," the guide notes. The "informed consent" form that military pilots must sign notes that "the US Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of Dexedrine to manage fatigue."
Amnesia on the job?
It's not just the "go pills" that can cause problems in certain individuals. "No-go pills," used to induce sleep, can have dangerous side effects as well – including the possibility of what's called "anterograde amnesia ... amnesia of events during the time the medication has an effect."
"For the military aviator, this raises the possibility of taking the medication, going to a brief, taking off, and then not remembering what he was told to do," according to the lab's report.
But researchers say suchsymptoms "are primarily dose related and are not expected with 5-10 mgs of dextro-amphetamine (Dexedrine)" – the amounts given to pilots in the Gulf War and in Afghanistan.
Wounded U.S. soldiers are being patched up and returned to battle before they are healed. The wounds in this case are to the psyche, caused by the trauma and horror that are as integral to war as guns and death.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, when “suck it up” fails to snap a soldier out of depression or panic, the Army turns to drugs. “Soldiers I talked to were receiving bags of antidepressants and sleeping meds in Iraq, but not the trauma care they needed,” says Steve Robinson, a Defense Department intelligence analyst during the Clinton administration.
Sometimes sleeping pills, antidepressants and tranquilizers are prescribed by qualified personnel. Sometimes not. Sgt. Georg Anderas Pogany told Salon that after he broke down in Iraq, his team sergeant told him “to pull himself together, gave him two Ambien, a prescription sleep aid, and ordered him to sleep.”
Other soldiers self-medicate. “We were so junked out on Valium, we had no emotions anymore,” Iraq vet John Crawford told “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross. He and others in his unit in Iraq became addicted to Valium.
The issues around mental health and medication are exacerbated for the more than 378,000 troops who have served multiple tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. Post traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) caused by a previous tour are cropping up in later ones.
[...]
In a May 2 letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) wrote, “Last year’s suicide rate was the highest since 1993. Eighty-three Army soldiers on active duty committed suicide, 25 while deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan—a 24 percent increase over the prior year. I find it simply astonishing that the sheer magnitude of the mental health crisis facing our Armed Forces does not compel you to action.”
So where does the valium fit in? Imagine through all of this commotion, an elderly aunt who is terrified of bombing. She was so afraid, she couldn't, and wouldn't, sit still. She stood pacing the hallway, cursing Bush, Blair and anyone involved with the war- and that was during her calmer moments. When she was feeling especially terrified, the curses and rampage would turn into a storm of weeping and desolation (during which she imagines she can't breathe)- we were all going to die. They would have to remove us from the rubble of our home. We'd burn alive. And so on. And so forth.
During those fits of hysteria, my cousin would quietly, but firmly, hand her a valium and a glass of water. The aunt would accept both and in a matter of minutes, she'd grow calmer and a little bit more sane. This aunt wasn't addicted to valium, but it certainly came in handy during the more hectic moments of the war.
I guess it's happening a lot now after the war too. When the load gets too heavy, people turn to something to comfort them. Abroad, under normal circumstances, if you have a burden- you don't have to bear it alone. You can talk to a friend or relative or psychiatrist or SOMEONE. Here, everyone has their own set of problems- a death in the family, a detainee, a robbery, a kidnapping, an explosion, etc. So you have two choices- take a valium, or start a blog.
The other 'drug' problem we're having is much more serious. Before the war and occupation, drugs (you know- cocaine, marijuana, etc.) weren't that big a problem in Iraq. Sure, we all heard of a certain person or certain area where you could get hashish or marijuana or something… but it wasn't that common. A big reason was because selling drugs was punishable by death. Now, you can find drugs in several areas in Baghdad and all sorts of pills have become quite common in the south. People living in Basrah and Najaf and other areas in the south complain that Iranians are smuggling them into the country and selling them. Iran has a large drug trade and now, we're getting some of their exports in Iraq.
Zero tolerance leads to 800 expulsions a year and worsens troop shortage
The renewed evidence of high rates of drug-taking in the forces comes amid long-running concerns that the stresses of warfare are turning many young recruits towards illegal substances.
American defence chiefs have reported historically high rates of suicide among personnel who have fought in Iraq and studies have suggested that many returning troops have severe problems with stress and substance abuse.
Clive Fairweather, a former SAS colonel who works for the Combat Stress charity, which treats ex-service personnel for psychological and addiction problems, said there had been a marked change in the culture both within the army and in society as a whole over the past 10 years.
'Most of the problems a decade ago were related to the army's hard-drinking culture. But that has changed dramatically. Drugs are rife in society, particularly in a certain male age group. Many of these soldiers are from inner-city areas. They go home at the weekends and they not only have lots to drink, but they are also exposed to drugs.'
He said there was a question for the public at large: 'They are paying for soldiers to handle a weapon that can kill. Are they prepared to tolerate soldiers who smoke cannabis but don't take heroin? I think the question has to be asked because the army can't keep haemorrhaging troops at the current rate.'
Police in northern Italy say they have broken up an international drug ring that they believe illegally supplied steroids to US soldiers in Iraq as well as people in a dozen different countries, including Australia.
Two people have been arrested and a large amount of performance-enhancing steroids and other drugs have been seized. Another eight people are being investigated.
Police say they noticed strange movements at a local post office, with hundreds of packages being sent to US soldiers in Iraq and many of them being returned for reasons of military security.
They uncovered a ring based in Trieste that allegedly sold steroids like nandrolone via the Internet, sending them to buyers in Australia and across Europe, the United States and Canada.
[...]
The drugs had been ordered over the Internet, and Italian officials presume that some had reached their destinations, police said. Police said steroids also were sent to customers in Europe, North America and Australia and estimated the ring may have had as many as 1,000 customers around the world.
Every war seems to have its drug of choice. German soldiers were said to have been given steroids during World War II to make them meaner. The stress of combat led to use of marijuana by some American soldiers fighting in Vietnam.
U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan submit to regular drug tests but are not routinely tested for steroid use, according to a report in the military newspaper Stars and Stripes.
Beefed up U.S. soldiers are a common sight in Iraq, where many work out using makeshift gym equipment near their sleeping quarters or in elaborate gyms at large bases such as in Tikrit, north of Baghdad.
Lariam, an anti-malaria drug developed by the US military. According to the Associated Press report (below) a review by the Department of Veterans' Affairs found 34 articles in medical journals about patients who took Lariam and became paranoid, psychotic or behaved strangely. Yet, Lariam is listed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a recommended treatment and prevention of malaria.
Lariam has been widely prescribed to US troops since the 1990s: Although the military maintains that Lariam is safe and effective, in the wake of numerous disturbing reports in the media about soldiers becoming violent, psychotic and suicidal shortly after ingesting Lariam, military officials have recently expressed some concern and the military tells its pilots not to take Lariam. AP reports that "the Pentagon has stopped giving out a pill it probably never needed to give to tens of thousands of troops in Iraq in the first place."
"What are we doing giving drugs that cause hallucinations, confusion, psychotic behavior to people that carry weapons and hold secret clearances?" "It doesn't pass the common-sense test."
The Associated Press reports that in written guidance on the drug last year, the military urged commanders to send for a medical evaluation anyone who showed behavioral changes after taking the drug, "especially ... if they carry a weapon" - a description of nearly all U.S. troops in Iraq. "Delay could put the service member or your unit at risk," the guide said.
Roche spokesman Terence Hurley said: "There is no reliable scientific evidence that Lariam is associated with violent acts or criminal conduct."
Remember the American pilots who accidentally killed four Canadian soldiers last year in Afghanistan? Well, turns out that their lawyers are arguing that the pilots’ misjudgment was a result of being pumped full of military-issued "go pills" – amphetamines given to soldiers who have to stay awake during extended missions. U.S. troops have used amphetamines for these purposes since at least the Second World War.
Far more disturbing is the Pentagon’s quest for the "Extended Performance War Fighter," a genetically or neurologically modified soldier who won’t need drugs to stay alert during combat missions. Military contractors at prestigious universities like Columbia are conducting research to figure out how to "zap" a soldier’s brain with electro-magnetic energy to beef up his resistance to lack of sleep.
Some research has focused on animals who stay awake for long periods of time (such as sparrows during migration seasons) or partly awake all the time (sea mammals who need to surface for breath even while sleeping). The idea is that analogous structures in the human brain could be tapped into and tinkered with to ward off the effects of sleep deprivation. Other researchers are trying to isolate the part of the human genetic code that might allow humans to stay awake indefinitely. Soldiers could then be genetically modified to enable them to stay awake for days on end.
If you grew up reading Marvel Comics like I did, you might recall that Captain America, that most patriotic of all superheroes, started out as the proverbial 98-pound weakling. But after being given a dose of "super soldier serum" the skinny Steve Rogers became a one-man Nazi-fighting machine. Maybe our Extended Performance War Fighters will come equipped with red, white, and blue titanium shields to hurl at Osama and Saddam.
ARMY recruiting officers have been ordered to stop asking potential soldiers whether they have ever experimented with drugs in an effort to ease the recruitment crisis.
The relaxation of the rules on drug abuse was authorised last November by senior officers of the Adjutant General Corps, responsible for personnel issues, in response to the shortage of eligible recruits.
The armed services are 9,413 troops under strength, according to government figures. It is understood that the change was ordered after it became apparent that if enough troops were to be recruited, a softer drugs policy would be needed.

Guess which drug is illegal?One deadens nerves, barely works, has foul side effects. The other helps you feel God
This drug, as you've already guessed, is MDMA, or ecstasy. It has finally, after years of governmental ignorance and lack of balls/foresight/integrity in the psychiatric community, earned tacit approval for a precious handful of clinical psychiatric trials. Initial results? Turns out this scary illegal drug just might work wonders for treating post-traumatic stress disorder. Gosh, really?
Yes. As reported by the Washington Post and the Guardian, as far as PTSD alone is concerned, some docs already see MDMA as potentially life-saving, a true wonder drug, which might even be administered to all our traumatized U.S. soldiers. Which could be good news indeed, given how an estimated 24 million Americans suffer from PTSD, whereas only a fraction of that number claim to have fibromyalgia.
Oh, but there are problems. Major drawbacks. Terrible, unspeakable, anti-American issues that seriously trouble our drug-addled nation.
Foremost: MDMA is not patented. Its formula is not owned by anyone. Hence, no single company (or handful of companies) stands to make billions from its potential legalization and the government cannot tax it and organized religion cannot control the power it has to help you totally reject its inane dogma, and they all really, really hate that.
The air force is considering alternatives to amphetamines, in particular a medication that has also gained the attention of long-distance business travelers: modafinil. Marketed as Provigil, it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998 to treat narcolepsy and to help control sleep disorders associated with diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and multiple sclerosis. Modafinil is not a traditional stimulant; rather than bombarding various parts of the brain with arousal signals, it apparently nudges the brain toward wakefulness through specific pathways, perhaps by increasing serotonin levels in the brain stem. The precise mechanism is still not well understood.

[...]
An intervention that minimizes the need for sleep yet maintains cognitive capacity would be a significant advantage for a military force. Infantrymen commonly subsist on three or four hours of sleep nightly for weeks. Special Forces personnel may be awake for several days during search and rescue operations. The Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (DARPA) is spending $100 million in grants on "prevention of degradation of cognitive performance due to sleep deprivation." DARPA's Defense Sciences Office has stated that "if you can prevent bad decisions from being made during sleep deprivation, you can dominate the battlefield." It is also interested in how to reverse losses that might occur during sleep deprivation and whether researchers can "expand the available memory space, so that people can retain cognitive function under tremendous stress and sleep deprivation."
The military effort includes investigation of another class of drugs, the ampakines, which show some promise in treating dementia and symptoms of schizophrenia by improving cognition when used with antipsychotic medication. Clinical trials have not found therapeutic value, but results from a company-sponsored study at Wake Forest University using an ampakine drug in sleep-deprived rhesus monkeys were encouraging. The monkeys' performance was reduced 15 to 25 percent when sleep-deprived, and reaction times doubled. But a single dose of Ampakine CX717 eliminated their performance deficit and sleep deprivation changes. An unpublished human trial sponsored by the company that makes CX717 reported that 16 men deprived of a night's sleep did better on memory and attention tests after taking the drug. The scientist who conducted the study said, "We didn't see any adverse events."
One of the remarkable anomalies of the anti-steroid campaign of the past two decades is that it has virtually ignored the many reports of steroid use by police officers in the United States and in other countries. Unknown but clearly significant numbers of policemen have imported, smuggled, sold, and used anabolic steroids over this time period. According to an article that appeared in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin in 1991: "Anabolic steroid abuse by police officers is a serious problem that merits greater awareness by departments across the country." (1) In 2003 another expert offered a similar assessment. Little research has been done on the use of steroids by police, said Larry Gaines, former executive director of the Kentucky Chiefs of Police Association. "But I think it's a larger problem than people think.".(2)

A segment of the CBS-TV program "60 Minutes" had already made that point on November 5, 1989. "Beefing Up the Force" presented interviews with three officers whose use of steroids had apparently caused the hyper-aggressiveness that had gotten them into serious trouble. The worst case involved what one psychiatrist called "a real Jekyll and Hyde change" in the personality of a prison security guard in Oregon who had kidnapped and shot a woman who made a casual remark he didn't like. He got 20 years in prison, and she was paralyzed for life. The personality he presented during his prison interview made it seem utterly improbable that he would have been capable of such an act. But his testosterone level when he committed the crime was 50 times the normal level. This broadcast conveyed the message that steroid problems were lurking in many police departments across the country, and that police officials were turning a blind eye to a significant threat to public safety.
[...]
The idea that steroids might actually play a functional (and therefore legitimate) role in preparing police officers to do their jobs was not beyond the pale in 1987. For example, the Miami Herald exposé prompted a former Miami police chief, Ken Harms, to make the following comment: "It's probably time that the department makes a conscious decision about whether it's acceptable for officers to take steroids." (4) The sheer political incorrectness of this statement, when judged by today's standards, speaks volumes about how the social status of these drugs has changed in the interim. Although Chief Harms did not go on to parse the pros and cons of steroid-taking by police officers, it is not difficult to imagine what he might have said.

Large numbers of men around the world consume steroids because their professions or criminal activities require physical self-assertion and self-confidence. A 1996 report from Scotland, for example, identifies policemen, firefighters, military personnel, and private security guards as steroid consumers. (5) In Australia the list includes prison guards and the elite troops who in 1998 were discovered to be "using steroids to bulk up, boost stamina and self-esteem and to recover more quickly from injuries they have sustained." (6) In Britain, Australia and some European countries, nightclub bouncers use the drugs to produce the "frilled neck lizard response" that intimidates unruly customers. (7)

"The thinking is that big is better than small, tough is better than weak," says Gene Sanders, a former police officer and a longtime police psychologist in California. "There is sort of an underground, unspoken tradition among several departments that I've worked with that if you really want to bulk up, this is the best way to do it." (8) A website maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports the same attitude toward functional steroid use by police officers: "Law enforcement personnel have used steroids for both physical and psychological reasons. The idea of enhanced physical strength and endurance provides one with 'the invincible mentality' when performing law enforcement duties." (9)

Steroids are also used by criminals as aggression-enhancing drugs. In Oslo, Norway, enforcers known as "torpedoes" take combinations of steroids and amphetamines to produce the psychopathic state that enables them to kill and maim their victims. (10) Danish motorcycle hoodlums put methyl testosterone capsules under their tongues before gang fights to work themselves into a rage. (11) Such vignettes from the steroid underground suggest how little we know about the overall social effects of the black market that serves an international market of action-oriented males that includes a growing number of recreational athletes of all ages.
Military Use
In 1993, U.S. Special Forces commanders at Fort Bragg started experimenting with blood doping, also known as blood loading. Special forces operators would provide two units of whole blood, from which red blood cells would be extracted, concentrated and stored under cold temperatures. Twenty-four hours before a mission or battle, a small amount of red blood cells would be infused back into the soldier. Military scientists believe that the procedure increases the soldiers endurance and alertness because of the increase in the bloods capability to carry oxygen in the blood.
In 1998, the Australian Military approved this technique for the Special Air Service Regiment. Senior nutritionist at the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organization, Mr Chris Forbes-Ewan, is quoted as saying that unlike in sport, "all's fair in love and war". "What we are trying to gain is an advantage over any potential adversary," Mr Forbes-Ewan said. "What we will have is a head-start."
In this study, over 50 performance enhancing drugs and techniques were rejected. The six approved were caffeine, ephedrine, energy drinks, modafinil, creatine and blood-loading. (REFERENCE; Canada's Secret Commandos, David Pugliese. ISBN 1-895896-18-5)
There are two kinds of speed! There is the kind made illegally in motel rooms, in ghetto tenement rooms and in dilapidated trailer camps throughout America and which is increasingly being tied to the most horrific and bloody murders imaginable. There is a second kind of speed that is made in pristine laboratories that have very profitable contracts with the Pentagon. This speed is being provided by the Pentagon to Armed Forces helicopter, fighter plane, and bomber pilots and there is now ample evidence that it is also being provided to other Armed Forces personnel on a routine basis. The effects on the soldiers are no different, when abused, than the effects on civilian dope addicts that buy their speed in the back alleys of America.
The highly illegal and dangerous type of speed called Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth) was originally synthesized by the Nazis and given to their Panzer Divisions and the Luftwaffe in order to give them more endurance in the battle field, however, even the Nazis stopped this practice after noticing bizarre and unpredictable behavior in their soldiers. Many of the Nazis soldiers were going on murderous rampages against civilian populations and some were even turning against their own officers.
Today, the Pentagon has admitted that they provided speed to the U.S Armed Forces during the Gulf War and are doing the same with military personnel in Afghanistan. A report called " Performance Maintenance During Continuous Flight Operations", produced by the Naval Medical Research Laboratory in Pensacola, Florida outlines the Pentagon practice of providing speed to pilots. The report "The Use of Amphetamines in U.S. Air Force Tactical Operations during Desert Shield and Storm", by Emonson DL and Vanderbeek RD outlines the use of speed during the Gulf War. A statement issued by the US Air Force Surgeon General's Office also confirmed the use of amphetamines by pilots. It said: "During contingency and combat operations, aviators are often required to perform their duties for extended periods without rest. While we have many planning and training techniques to extend our operations, prescribed drugs are sometimes made available to counter the effects of fatigue during these operations. The Pentagon, is in addition, providing "downers" after pilots binge on "uppers." In order to help the pilots sleep after a "binge" they are given a dosage of the sedative Temazepam (Restoril). These dosages of "uppers" and than "downers" have a devastating effect on the pilots judgement and overall mental health.
This perhaps explains the "paranoiac behavior" of the U.S. pilots that dropped the bombs on the Afghani Wedding Party and on the friendly Canadian troops. In April of this year, four Canadian soldiers of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry were killed and eight injured when an American pilot dropped a 500lb laser-guided bomb on their position. In addition, many other "friendly fire" incidents and unexplained crashes of numerous helicopters could be explained through the overuse of amphetamines or "speed" by the pilots and other military personnel. Abuse of "speed" causes paranoia, irritability, irrationality and unexplained violent behavior in the user.
[...]
The Medical Profession says this about the Pentagon supplied "speed" called Dexedrine:
"Manifestations of chronic intoxication with Dexedrine include severe insomnia, irritability, hyperactivity, and personality changes. The most severe manifestation of chronic intoxication is psychosis, often clinically indistinguishable from schizophrenia. Because of possible overstimulation, Dexedrine may impair the ability of the patient to perform potentially hazardous activities such as operating machinery or driving a motor vehicle; therefore, the patient should be cautioned accordingly. Symptoms include dilated and reactive pupils, shallow rapid respiration, rhabdomyolysis, fever, chills, sweating, and hyperactive tendon reflexes (Note: this one effect may explain the "pushing of the trigger" on the Wedding Party and on the Canadians). Central effects may include restlessness, aggressiveness, anxiety, confusion, delirium, hallucinations, panic attacks and even suicidal or homicidal tendencies (Note: this affect may explain the killing of the Army wives and subsequent suicides). The stimulant effect is usually followed by depression, lethargy, and exhaustion."

Army Target Drugs Whistleblowers
Exclusive Probe To Halt Leaks
ARMY chiefs are trying to nail whistleblowers who exposed a Scots battalion's orgy of drugs, sex and booze in Mexico.

Soldiers have been warned to stop leaking stories to the Record after we revealed they snorted cocaine, had sex with prostitutes and guzzled tequila as they prepared to serve in Afghanistan.
Furious Army bosses also threatened to take mobile phones off the soldiers - nicknamed The Cancun Platoon.

And photos of the men boozed-up and naked have been removed from websites.
Despite being threatened by officers at the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders' Howe Barracks in Canterbury, Kent, the troops refuse to be gagged.
One said: "They are trying to put the fear of God into us but I take my hat off to the soldiers who spoke to the Record. People need to know what is going on and how bad it is.
"I am not saying everyone is taking drugs but it's out of control and not enough is being done by the Army to sort it out."
[...]
One soldier insisted they were "very good ambassadors" for the forces in Cancun.
But another hit back: "You may be able to fool civvies... but most of this site know what soldiers get up to on the lash (booze, women, fighting and, in the Scots case, drugs)."
“I became stronger. I climbed on top of the roof of the car. They gave me a weapon and put some marks on my face. I was no longer human. I could do anything.”
–A child-soldier given amphetamines and tranquilizers that enabled him and certain other children to go on murderous binges for days during the Sierra Leone, Africa civil war.
[...]
The use of amphetamines before committing violence can be found throughout recent history. Kamikaze pilots in WW II were charged up with meth. Suicide bombers in the Middle East were given amphetamines in the 1980s; Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk who attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul in 1981, had amphetamines in his blood. Dr. Aziz Al-Abub, the psychiatrist behind the torture of hostages by terrorists in Beirut, Lebanon in the 1980s, provided amphetamines for suicide-bombers. I have previously reported on Yasir Arafat’s dilated pupils and almost-certain amphetamine addiction (Thorburn Addiction Report, November 2004). Hitler was on a combination of amphetamines and barbiturates as early as 1936. When we consider the fact that no one figured out that Hitler was on drugs until almost 35 years after his death, or suggested that the best explanation for Arafat’s behaviors was addiction, we should not be surprised at a scarcity of reports on use of psychoactive drugs by terrorists. Because almost everyone thinks bad morals or upbringing cause misbehaviors resulting in addiction, reversing cause and effect, virtually no one comprehends the significance of the use and that the biochemical processing of the drug may be the cause of horrific behaviors.
Super Soldiers? Military Drug is Rage Among Students, Young Professionals
The Stimulant Has Few Side Effects, but Could Harm Long-Term Cognition
In 2003, David Plotz, a busy writer and father of a toddler, was feeling sleep-deprived and run-down. Unable to catch up on rest, he searched for a solution other than sleep that might improve his performance on both the home and career fronts.
He began taking modafinil, a drug developed in France and approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998 to treat narcolepsy or daytime sleepiness. Modafinil is a memory-improving and mood-brightening psycho stimulant that enhances wakefulness -- not unlike cocaine or amphetamines.
Sleep-deprived groups ranging from truck drivers to the military have experimented with modafinil, marketed for nearly a decade by Cephalon under what Plotz calls the "creepy, pharma-Orwellian" name Provigil.
Military officials have found it so effective that some now refer to it as a "super drug." But its off-label uses have created a rich debate on how far to push the limits of the human body.
[...]
The French used modafinil in the first Gulf War, and the U.S. Air Force tested the drugs on pilots flying 40-hour sorties during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
Unconfirmed reports say American soldiers took modafinil as they marched into Baghdad in 2003.
Tinkering With the Brain
Doctors have long "tinkered" with artificially enhancing the brain, and the military spends about $100 million each year on research to find ways to reduce soldiers' need for sleep and still retain cognitive function, according to Moreno.
"The human being is the weakest instrument of warfare," he said. "[Soldiers] must eat, sleep, discern friend from foe and heal when wounded & The first state to build superior fighters will make an enormous leap in the arms race."
Until now, the military has used amphetamines or "go pills" for its pilots, but the side effects of amphetamines can cause problems. Investigators blamed those drugs for a 2002 incident in which American pilots inadvertently killed four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan.
In studies funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and Cephalon, modafinil has proved to be a better drug.
Scientists treated 16 healthy subjects, depriving them of sleep for 28 hours and then expecting them to sleep from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. for four days and stay awake through the night. Those on modafinil did far better on cognitive tests than those on a sugar pill. Some could stay awake for more than 90 hours, according to Moreno.
At the University of California at Irvine, experiments in rats indicate that the brain's hormonal reactions to fear can be inhibited, softening the formation of memories and the emotions they evoke. At New York University, researchers are mastering the means of short-circuiting the very wiring of primal fear. At Columbia University one Nobel laureate's lab has discovered the gene behind a fear-inhibiting protein, uncovering a vision of "fight or flight" at the molecular level. In Puerto Rico, at the Ponce School of Medicine, scientists are discovering ways to help the brain unlearn fear and inhibitions by stimulating it with magnets. And at Harvard University, survivors of car accidents are already swallowing propranolol pills, in the first human trials of that common cardiac drug as a means to nip the effects of trauma in the bud.
The web of your worst nightmares, your hauntings and panics and shame, radiates from a dense knot of neurons called the amygdala. With each new frightening or humiliating experience, or even the reliving of an old one, this fear center triggers a release of hormones that sear horrifying impressions into your brain. That which is unbearable becomes unforgettable too. Unless, it seems, you act quickly enough to block traumatic memories from taking a stranglehold.
Some observers say that in the name of human decency there are some things people should have to live with. They object to the idea of medicating away one's conscience.
"It's the morning-after pill for just about anything that produces regret, remorse, pain, or guilt," says Dr. Leon Kass, chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics, who emphasizes that he's speaking as an individual and not on behalf of the council. Barry Romo, a national coordinator for Vietnam Veterans Against the War, is even more blunt. "That's the devil pill," he says. "That's the monster pill, the anti-morality pill. That's the pill that can make men and women do anything and think they can get away with it. Even if it doesn't work, what's scary is that a young soldier could believe it will."
Are we ready for the infamous Nuremberg plea?"I was just following orders"?to be made easier with pharmaceuticals? Though the research so far has been limited to animals and the most preliminary of human trials, the question is worth debating now.
Discovering molecules that enhance cognition (nootropics) comprises one of the most exciting areas in drug development. There is uniform support for use of these drugs as therapeutic agents. Nootropic drugs will also be used by healthy individuals as enhancing agents. Perceptions about the appropriateness of performance-enhancing drug use is contextual. The International Associations of Athletics Federations and WADA consider drug use as cheating. In contrast, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) actively supports performance-enhancing drugs for military use. The DARPA website notes that, “Sleep deprivation is a fact of modern combat. Current operations depend on a warfighter’s ability to function for extended periods of time without adequate sleep.” By changing only 2 words in the DARPA quote, one can describe a performance challenge often encountered by health care providers.
Performance outcome also influences attitudes concerning drug enhancement. The 2003 tragedy in which Canadian ground troops were killed by US pilots who had taken amphetamines has been interpreted as a condemnation of performance-enhancing drugs. For decades, US astronauts have used amphetamines therapeutically to suppress nausea and to enhance performance. Concerns over drug use have never sullied celebrations of a successful space mission. Likewise, if a clinical case goes well, and the anesthesia provider has taken a performance-enhancing drug, the probability of repercussions is low. One can easily envision a very different response to the same scenario terminating in a negative clinical outcome.
Monsters, Inc.
The Pentagon Plan to Create Mutant "Super-Soldiers"
The DARPA "war fighter enhancement" programs--an acceleration of bipartisan biotinkering that's been going on for years--will involve injecting young men and women with hormonal, neurological and genetic concoctions; implanting microchips and electrodes in their bodies to control their internal organs and brain functions; and plying them with drugs that deaden some of their normal human tendencies: the need for sleep, the fear of death, the reluctance to kill their fellow human beings.
The research is "very aggressive and wide open," says Admiral Stephen Baker of the Center for Defense Information. Indeed, the U.S. Special Operations Command envisions the creation of "iron bodied and iron willed personnel" who can "resist the mental and physiological effects of sleep deprivation" while relying on "ergogenic substances" to "manage" the "environmental and mentally induced stress" of the battlefield. Their bodies juiced, their brains swaddled in Prozacian haze, the enhanced warfighters can churn relentlessly, remorselessly toward dominion.
The Pentagon's search for an "Extended Performance War Fighter" concentrates on employing advanced genetics and neurological science to keep warriors awake and alert.

Jan Walker, the spokesman for the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency, which conceived "stealth" technology, confirmed the Pentagon was "working out ways to resist the effects of sleep deprivation. If our fighters can do that, we can fundamentally change the order of battle".
One of the agency's plans for keeping warriors awake is to "zap" their brains with electromagnetic energy. Much of the research is being conducted at Columbia University in New York, in the laboratories of the neurological science department.
Researchers have identified a small area of the brain above the left ear that they would zap either before or during missions. "When he needed it, the pilot could just be zapped during operations," said one leading research scientist.
The first research contracts for the program were handed out at the beginning of last year.
On Dec. 12, Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, called a hearing on "Stopping Suicides: Mental Health Challenges Within the Department of Veterans Affairs." At that hearing suggestions were raised and conversations begun that hopefully will bear fruit.
But I find myself extremely anxious in the face of some of these new suggestions, specifically what is being called the Psychological Kevlar Act of 2007 and use of the drug propranalol to treat the symptoms of posttraumatic stress injuries. Though both, at least in theory, sound entirely reasonable, even desirable, in the wrong hands, under the wrong leadership, they could make the sci-fi fantasies of Blade Runner seem prescient.
[...]
Since World War II, our military has sought and found any number of ways to override the values and belief systems recruits have absorbed from their families, schools, communities and religions. Using the principles of operant conditioning, the military has found ways to reprogram their human software, overriding those characteristics that are inconvenient in a military context, most particularly the inherent resistance human beings have to killing others of their own species. "Modern combat training conditions soldiers to act reflexively to stimuli," says Lt. Col. Peter Kilner, a professor of philosophy and ethics at West Point, "and this maximizes soldiers' lethality, but it does so by bypassing their moral autonomy. Soldiers are conditioned to act without considering the moral repercussions of their actions; they are enabled to kill without making the conscious decision to do so. If they are unable to justify to themselves the fact that they killed another human being, they will likely -- and understandably -- suffer enormous guilt. This guilt manifests itself as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and it has damaged the lives of thousands of men who performed their duty in combat."
[...]
U.S. military training also includes a component to desensitize male soldiers to the sounds of women being raped, so the enemy cannot use the cries of their fellow soldiers to leverage information. I think it not unreasonable to connect such desensitization techniques to the rates of domestic violence in the military, which are, according to the DoD, five times those in the civilian population. Is anyone really surprised that men who have been specifically trained to ignore the pain and fear of women have a difficult time coming home to their wives and families? And clearly they do. There were 2,374 reported cases of sexual assault in the military in 2005, a 40 percent increase over 2004. But that figure represents only reported cases, and, as Air Force Brig. Gen. K.C. McClain, commander of DoD's Joint Task Force for Sexual Assault Prevention and Response pointed out, "Studies indicate that only 5 percent of sexual assaults are reported."
[...]
What they have come up with has already been dubbed "the mourning after pill." Propranalol, if taken immediately following a traumatic event, can subdue a victim's stress response and so soften his or her perception of the memory. That does not mean the memory has been erased, but proponents claim that the drug can render it emotionally toothless.
If your daughter were raped, the argument goes, wouldn't you want to spare her a traumatic memory that might well ruin her life? As the mother of a 23-year old daughter, I can certainly understand the appeal of that argument. And a drug that could prevent the terrible effects of traumatic injuries in soldiers? If I were the parent of a soldier suffering from such a life-altering injury, I can imagine being similarly persuaded.
Not surprisingly, the Army is already on board. Propranolol is a well-tolerated medication that has been used for years for other purposes.
And it is inexpensive.
It might harm their reputation, but Israel's air force is considering giving its combat pilots Viagra to improve their performance in the air.
A recent study conducted by Israeli doctors among mountain climbers in Africa found a link between erectile dysfunction drugs and improved performance in high altitudes, the mass-selling Yediot Aharonot reported.
The active ingredient in the drugs was found to make climbers perform better in an environment with less oxygen, which causes fatigue and dizziness.
This has led army doctors to consider giving jet fighter pilots - who can fly at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet - the same drug.
"The Viagra family of drugs is considered effective in these conditions because when there is a long shortage in oxygen it leads to high blood pressure in the lungs, and the drugs help fight that," the report quoted military medical sources as saying.
...in the 1930s the U.S. pharmaceutical company Smith, Kline & French (now GlaxoSmithKline) started marketing it as Benzedrine. Officially it was sold as a medical treatment for narcolepsy. Unofficially it was one of the first drugs being pushed as a performance enhancer. German athletes in the 1936 Olympics were given amphetamine injections, as was Adolph Hitler.
“In the 1936 Olympic Games films, Hitler can be seen moving his hands back and forth on his upper legs in a way that’s consistent with the ‘stereotypical behavior,’ of heavy amphetamine use,” says a report on “Meth in the military.” (www.allpositiveoptions.com)
The online Science Encyclopedia says that amphetamine use was widespread in World War II. “Soldiers on both sides were given large amounts of amphetamines as a way of fighting fatigue and boosting morale. The British issued 72 million tablets to the armed forces. Records also show that Japanese Kamikaze pilots—who crashed their bomb-laden planes into enemy ships—and German Panzer troops were given large doses of the drug to motivate their fighting spirit. Hitler’s own medical records show that he received eight injections a day of methamphetamine, a drug known to create paranoia and unpredictable behavior when administered in large dosages.” (science.jrank.org)
Hitler is not the only government head known to have regularly used amphetamines. John F. Kennedy also received injections from his physician.
After World War II, Smith, Kline & French emerged as a key player in the military-industrial complex, making a killing in the drugs it sold to the military. After the war, new markets were created for this “performance enhancer,” which was being pushed to workers throughout industry—from steelworkers facing fatigue on their grueling shifts, to auto workers on the assembly line, to long-distance truck drivers.
Then during the Vietnam War, the U.S. troops were flooded with easily available amphetamines, though by that time the drug had become an allegedly controlled substance because its destructive effects were well established.
It is now known that all too frequently the war crimes committed by U.S., German, British and Japanese troops during World War II were the result of the maniacal effects of drugs like the amphetamines. The same is true for the U.S. troops in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
Some dietary supplements may provide a health benefit to Soldiers, but many have dangerous side effects. Of considerable concern are products containing ephedrine alkaloids such as ephedra (ma-huang), epitonin, and sida cordifolia. These botanical ingredients may be associated with adverse side effects including rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, and increased risk of heat injury, depression, agitation, muscle breakdown, heart attack, stroke, memory loss, convulsions, and death. Furthermore, exercise, dehydration, caffeine, and some medications (to include over-the-counter medications) used in conjunction with ephedrine-containing products will increase the risk of these adverse side effects as well as their severity. Due to life threatening safety issues, the food and drug administration recently banned the sale and use of ephedrine alkaloids in dietary supplements in the us. However, certain products containing ephedrine alkaloids may be available internationally. Soldiers and their Family members should never use products that contain ephedra.
Many products are now labeled as "ephedra free," but contain ingredients that mimic the action of ephedra such as synephrine (also called citrus aurantium, bitter orange or zhi shi), octpamine, yohimbe, yohimbine, hordenine, and high doses of caffeine. These products may have stimulant effects similar to ephedra in some individuals and should be avoided. Soldiers and their Family members who are taking a blood pressure, cholesterol, or decongestant medication, or consuming high doses of caffeine, should never take ephedra-free supplements.
Surely this isn't news? BBC News is reporting that 'stay-up-forever' drug modafinil has been tested on UK troops.
The drug, which prevents sleep and increases cognitive performance but does not cause the same 'wired' effect as amphetamines, has been used by the US military for several years.
One of the problems with amphetamines, the previous military drug of choice, is that over time it vastly increases the risk of paranoia and psychosis (obviously not good for heavily armed soldiers), whereas the risk with modafinil seems, at least at this stage, to be minimal in comparison.
It has been previously reported that the UK Ministry of Defence bought thousands of doses of modafinil prior to 2004.
It's hardly a shock that they've been given to troops in an attempt to give them a cognitive edge over the opposition.
Did anyone really think that they were bought in case there was a massive influx of soldiers with narcolepsy?
One bizarre aspect, however, is the BBC News story reports that modafinil pills are called 'zombies' on the "drug scene".
Modafinil is noted as having virtually no pleasurable effects, making it a poor candidate for a recreational drug. Furthermore, there seems to be few references to the nickname on the net.
Hallucinations linked to drug given to troopsMalaria medication can cause paranoia, other mental side effects
Military issues guidelines
The U.S. military, which developed the drug after the Vietnam War, maintains that Lariam is safe and effective, though officials have expressed some concern and the military tells its pilots not to take Lariam.
In written guidance on the drug last year, the military urged commanders to send for a medical evaluation anyone who showed behavioral changes after taking the drug, “especially ... if they carry a weapon” — a description of nearly all U.S. troops in Iraq.

“Delay could put the service member or your unit at risk,” the guide said.
Lariam is among the drugs recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for treatment and prevention of malaria, which kills about 1 million people worldwide each year. The drug’s New Jersey-based manufacturer, Roche Pharmaceuticals, points out that more than 30 million people worldwide have used Lariam over 20 years.
“There is no reliable scientific evidence that Lariam is associated with violent acts or criminal conduct,” Roche spokesman Terence Hurley wrote in an e-mailed response to questions.
Side effects or combat stress disorders?

Further blurring the issue, the side effects associated with Lariam closely mirror symptoms of stress disorders related to combat, making diagnosis difficult.
Still, the pill has dedicated critics who believe it’s causing problems that are only beginning to be understood. A review by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs found 34 articles in medical journals about patients who took Lariam and became paranoid, psychotic or behaved strangely.
Within the civilian medical community, faith in the drug is mixed among doctors who specialize in tropical diseases. Two said they routinely prescribe it to travelers and believe troop complaints are overblown. Another criticized the military’s use of a drug with a known history of psychiatric complications.
Dr. G. Richard Olds, professor and chairman of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, is among Lariam’s critics.

“There’s a strong recommendation not to use Lariam for those who depend on fine motor skills,” he said. “Do you call firing an M-16 a fine motor skill? I do.”
Doctors at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego have diagnosed a disorder in the region of the brain that controls balance in 18 service members who took Lariam, among them Pogany.
Number of military prescriptions doubles

The Pentagon’s records show the number of Lariam prescriptions issued to active-duty personnel nearly doubled from 18,704 in 2002 to 36,451 the next year, said Lt. Col. Stephen Phillips, a program director for deployment medicine. Since prescriptions issued at remote locations aren’t counted, actual numbers may be higher.
Shortly after the March 2003 invasion, military doctors determined another malaria drug would do the job with fewer side effects. Around the same time, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that doctors should give patients revised information, underscoring that some Lariam users experience severe anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, depression and think about killing themselves.
Troops were supposed to receive those kinds of warnings, but several current and former soldiers interviewed for this story said they did not — and that they continued taking the drug in Iraq as recently as 2004. In that year, Phillips said, the number of prescriptions fell to 12,363.
Concerns about those taking the drug weren’t new. Some U.S. and Canadian forces deployed to Somalia in the early 1990s reported strange behavior. Lariam came up as a possible explanation after four Fort Bragg, N.C., soldiers killed their wives over 43 days in 2002. An Army probe ruled out Lariam, which was only prescribed to two of the soldiers.
BRITISH troops are being prescribed with a controversial drug which has been blamed for making US pilots "trigger-happy" and causing friendly fire deaths.

The Ministry of Defence has admitted that it prescribes the amphetamine dexedrine, which is capable of keeping users awake for as long as 60 hours.

While the MoD has refused to say what it uses the Class B drug for, leading narcotics experts say that the main purpose is to keep soldiers awake during special operations. However, they have warned that the substance can be highly addictive.

In addition, the MoD has admitted that it permits soldiers to take a drug called kava-kava, from the South Pacific, which is known to be linked to severe liver damage.

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information provisions show that although the amount the MoD spends on dexedrine is just GBP32per year, this is estimated to be enough for several hundred 5mg doses. A typical course will see a user given the pills for about two or three days.

Outwith the armed forces, the amphetamine is used to treat narcolepsy, a condition where sufferers cannot stop falling asleep at random times.

In addition to dexedrine, the MoD dispenses a small number of tablets of ephedrine, which has a similar, though less potent, effect.

The ministry also spends about GBP3,000 a year on melatonin, a substance which aids sleep, in order to get the body clocks of troops into synch after flying long distances.

Amphetamines have been controversially used by the US Air Force to keep pilots awake on long missions, although the UK has always denied giving the 'go pills' to its pilots.

In 2002, the 'Tarnak Farm incident' saw US fighter-bombers attack a group of Canadian soldiers, killing four and wounding another eight near Kandahar in Afghanistan.

During official hearings into the incident, the US pilots testified that they had been ordered to take amphetamines to keep awake. The pilots blamed the pills for their actions.

One leading defence insider said: "There are not many uses for these drugs in the military apart from keeping soldiers awake for long periods. If you need them for narcolepsy then there is not much point in you being in the army.

"Is it operationally justified? Yes - if you are on deep patrol for days at a time then you need to be awake, otherwise you risk getting killed."

Dr Paul Skett, a drugs expert at Glasgow University's Institute of Biological and Life Sciences, said: "It is a matter of concern because these substances are very addictive indeed. They can also make the user aggressive."

The documents also reveal that the MoD has decided to permit the use of kava-kava, which is popular in Fiji and produces a euphoric high, provided local commanders don't believe its use compromises operational effectiveness.

It is usually taken as a drink after being ground to a fine powder and mixed with water.

An MoD policy paper on the substance said: "There is some medical evidence that kava-kava could be detrimental to health, in particular that it can cause severe liver damage."
THE British Army loses almost a "battalion a year" due to illegal drug use, research published today said.
The findings also showed a four-fold growth in soldiers testing positive for the class A drug cocaine.
Research into compulsory drugs testing (CDT) of UK service personnel identified a rise in positive tests for illegal substances in the British Army from 517 individual cases in 2003, to 795 in 2005 and 769 in 2006.
The findings, published by the Journal of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) said the cost is nearly the equivalent of losing one battalion a year and higher than fatalities and serious casualties in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Conflict within and between countries based on tribes, clans, religion, and political ideology is well described worldwide. War is known to contribute to a higher burden of mental health problems among specific individuals who experience trauma as well as among those living in or near to conflict zones. The mental health burden is mostly recognised as post-traumatic stress disorder. However, during conflict there is also significant disability from common mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and substance misuse, which are linked with the poverty associated with economic fragmentation and with a reduction of basic security functions and safety.

Substance Use and Conflict in East Africa

In a new cross-sectional study published in this issue of PLoS Medicine, Michael Odenwald and colleagues interviewed 8,723 Somali combatants to assess their use of khat and other drugs. In total, 36.4% (99% confidence interval, 19.3%–57.7%) of respondents reported khat use in the week before the interview.
[...]
Khat is reported to be an amphetamine-like substance; when used excessively it increases the risk of mental illness. When used in moderation, it appears to have more of a social function akin to alcohol use. In Europe, a moral panic emerged about khat use and misuse and how it may contribute to disability. Even in the European Union there are contradictions; the use of khat is illegal in most EU countries but not in the United Kingdom or in Holland. Khat is also illegal in Canada and America but is smuggled into these countries frequently. In our previous cross-sectional studies in the UK, we found associations between khat use and mental illness.
The story in this week's Hartford Courant should scare the hell out of anyone. Soldiers in combat in Iraq are regularly given powerful anti-depressants to help them cope with the stress of war.

Lisa Chedekel and Matthew Kauffman report:
When Army Sgt. 1st Class Mark C. Warren was diagnosed with depression soon after his deployment to Iraq, a military doctor handed him a supply of the mood-altering drug Effexor.

Marine Pfc. Robert Allen Guy was given Zoloft to relieve the depression he developed in Iraq.

And Army Pfc. Melissa Hobart was dutifully taking the Celexa she was prescribed to ease the anxiety of being separated from her young daughter while in Baghdad.

All three were given antidepressants to help them make it through their tours of duty in Iraq - and all came home in coffins.

Warren, 44, and Guy, 26, committed suicide last year, according to the military; Hobart, 22, collapsed in June 2004, of a still-undetermined cause.

The three are among a growing number of mentally troubled service members who are being kept in combat and treated with potent psychotropic medications - a little-examined practice driven in part by a need to maintain troop strength.
In past wars, the military's policy has been to pull soldiers with mental problems off the front lines. But the invasion of Iraq has stretched America's military too thin and the Pentagon wants to keep everyone in combat as long as possible.
The Courant report continues:

• Antidepressant medications with potentially serious side effects are being dispensed with little or no monitoring and sometimes minimal counseling, despite FDA warnings that the drugs can increase suicidal thoughts.

• Military doctors treating combat stress symptoms are sending some soldiers back to the front lines after rest and a three-day regimen of drugs - even though experts say the drugs typically take two to six weeks to begin working.

• The emphasis on maintaining troop numbers has led some military doctors to misjudge the severity of mental health symptoms.

Some of the practices are at odds with the military's own medical guidelines, which state that certain mental illnesses are incompatible with military service, and some medications are not suited for combat deployments. The practices also conflict with statements by top military health officials, who have indicated to Congress that psychiatric drugs are not being used to keep service members with serious disorders in combat.
Soldiers on anti-depressants kill themselves or they make mistakes that get others killed. Just another sad example of the madness called the war in Iraq.
The Pentagon has launched a series of remarkable medical experiments to find a way to keep its soldiers and pilots awake and alert for up to five days at a time.
The mission to create an "Extended Performance War Fighter", as the project is known, took on added urgency last week as the military use of amphetamine stimulants - "go pills" as they are called - was plunged into deep controversy.
The defence lawyers for two American pilots who accidently killed four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan last April said they will argue that the forcible use of the drug dexamphetamine was to blame. Majors Harry Schmidt and William Umbach are threatened with courts martial for dropping a laser-guided bomb on the Canadians near Kandahar as the pilots approached the end of a six-hour night patrol.
A preliminary hearing is to be held next week to decide whether full courts martial should proceed. David Beck, the lawyer for Major Umbach, said he will argue that the drugs impaired the pilots' judgment and that the US Air Force should accept responsibility.
Major Schmidt has said that he flew seven 10-hour missions during his several weeks in the region and used the "go pills" each time because he became too tired without them.
The Pentagon's search for an "Extended Performance War Fighter" concentrates on employing advanced genetics and neurological science rather than the drugs which have been used since the Second World War to keep warriors awake and alert.
Jan Walker, the spokesman for the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa), confirmed that the Pentagon is "working out ways to resist the effects of sleep deprivation. If our fighters can do that, we can fundamentally change the order of battle, and it would make a revolutionary difference".
Darpa is an inner circle of scientists and defence bureaucrats whose job is to dream up the next battlefield tools - they were the ones who first thought of creating "stealth" technology to make low-flying aircraft invisible to radar.
One of Darpa's plans for keeping warriors awake is to "zap" their brains with an electro-magnetic energy called TMS. Much of the research is being conducted at Columbia University in New York in the laboratories of the neurological science department. It was there that Dr Yaakov Stern led me to a basement room and pointed to an old yellow dentist's chair festooned with cables and clamps.
"Sit in there," he said with a jovial smile. Rick Ellasser, the laboratory technician, clamped a contraption rather like a microscope attached to a miner's helmet around my brow and picked up an instrument like a raygun.
If I were a bomber pilot and the year was around 2005, Mr Ellasser might now pull the trigger and "zap" a piece of my brain not much bigger than a penny with a powerful electro-magnetic field. At the moment, though, the equipment is too experimental for use on humans.
"When he needed it, the pilot could just be zapped during operations," said Dr Stern, a leading research scientist who has spent years mapping the brain with MRI scanners to work out which clusters of neurological cells do what.
"I am convinced that we can help the Pentagon. I have identified the parts of the brain that seem to control the response to sleep deprivation, and we have the technology to stimulate that part to improve the resistance to lack of sleep. The generals want a man who is awake and alert for up to a week. We think we can actually do that."
The part of the brain identified by Dr Stern for "zapping" with his TMS magnetic-wave is just above the left ear, a spot mapped out after performing week-long experiments on volunteers whose brains were scanned as they performed simple tasks.
The first research contracts for the "Continued Assisted Performance" programme were handed out at the beginning of last year: Darpa wants results by 2005.

[...]

Meanwhile, biologists at the US Navy's Marine Mammals Programme, the organisation which once trained dolphins to place mines against the hulls of enemy ships, is now studying how the animals keep at least part of their brains awake at all times so that even when submerged and asleep they still surface to breathe.
Mothers and newborn dolphins have also been found to stay awake continuously for several days after birth.
The idea now is to identify the genetic material which allows this, and find it in human "junk" DNA - those parts of the human genome which have no so-far identified function. Genetic codes could then be modified to create soldiers who run and run.
But as Dr Stern points out, this raises considerable ethical issues with a permanent genetic change. His own work - "zapping" brains with electro-magnetic energy - does no harm, he insists.
Original version published in The Moscow Times, July 30, 2004
America calls its soldiers who fought in World War II "the greatest generation." They are hymned by Hollywood, celebrated by publishers and politicians, hailed at every turn. And for their troubled descendants, whose military misadventures stretch from My Lai to Abu Ghraib, the clean-limbed victors of the "last good war" do indeed shine out like heroes from a lost golden age.

Yet despite the vast tonnage of celluloid and printer's ink devoted to their praise, what is perhaps the truest, highest measure of their worth has been almost universally neglected. And what is this hidden glory, which does more honor to the people of the United States than every single military action ordered by their corruption-riddled leaders during the past fifty years? It's the fact that in the midst of history's most vicious, all-devouring, inhuman war, only about 15 percent of American soldiers on the battlefield actually tried to kill anyone.

In-depth studies by the U.S. Army after WWII showed that between 80 to 85 percent of the greatest generation never fired their weapons at an exposed enemy in combat, as military psychologist Lt. Colonel Dave Grossman reports. Many times they had the chance, but could not bring themselves to do it. They either withheld their fire altogether or else shot into the air, to the side, anywhere but at the fellow human beings – their blood kin in biology, mind and mortality – facing them across the line. This reticence is even more remarkable given the incessant demonization of the enemy by the top brass, especially in the Pacific, where the Japanese – soldiers and civilians – were routinely portrayed by military propaganda as simian, sub-human creatures fit only for extermination.

Yet even with official license given to the most virulent prejudice, even with the sanction of a just cause (self-defense against aggression), even with the incitements of mortal fear, of grief and anger over slain comrades, even with all the moral chaos endemic to warfare, American soldiers, as a whole, killed only with the greatest reluctance, in the direst extremity. These were not "warriors," bloodthirsty automatons with stripped-down brains and cauterized souls, slavering in Pavlovian fury at the bell-clap of command. No, they were real men, willing, as Grossman notes, to stand up for a cause, even die for it, but not willing, in the end, to transgress the natural law (implanted by God or evolution, take your pick) that says: Do not kill your own kind – and every person of every race and nation is your own kind.

You would think that this apotheosis of human transcendence, this Emersonian ideal achieved, in the best democratic fashion, by ordinary conscripts – farmboys and dock workers, factory hands, bank clerks, guitar players, teachers, cab drivers, hobos, card sharks, college men – would have been inscribed on plates of gold and fixed to the walls of the Capitol for all time, a blazon of national greatness. Just think of it: soldiers who hated to kill, who went out of their way to avoid killing or even firing their weapons, who held on to their essential humanity in the face of the severest provocations – and yet still won battle after battle in history's greatest war.

But far from celebrating this example of genuine glory, the military brass were horrified at the low "firing rates" and anemic "kill ratios" of American soldiery. They immediately set about trying to break the next generation of recruits of their natural resistance to slaughtering their own kind. Incorporating the latest techniques for psychological manipulation, new training programs were designed to brutalize the mind and habituate soldiers to the idea of killing automatically, by reflex, "at the bell-clap of command," without the intervention of any of those inefficient scruples displayed by their illustrious predecessors.

And it worked. The dehumanization process led to a steady rise in firing rates for U.S. soldiers during subsequent conflicts. In the Korean War, 55 percent were ready to pump hot lead into enemy flesh. And by the time the greatest generation's own children took the field, in Vietnam, the willingness to slaughter was almost total: 95 percent of combat troops there fired with the intent to kill.

And today in occupied Iraq, the brutalizing beat goes on. "Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, it's like it pounds in my brain," a U.S. soldier told the Los Angeles Times last week. Another shrugged at the sight of freshly slaughtered bodies. "It doesn't bother me at all," he said. "I'm a warrior. My soldiers, they are all warriors. They have no problems. There's no place in this Army for men who aren't warriors." Said a third: "We talk about killing all the time. I never used to be this way…but it's like I can't stop. I'm worried what I'll be like when I get home." A few military officials are beginning to worry too, noting the high rates of suicide, mental damage and emotional torment among combat veterans.

But the warlords of the White House – notorious battlefield shirkers who prefer to do their killing by remote control – have little regard for the cannon fodder they churn through in their quest for dominance and loot. "Training's intent is to re-create battle, to make it an automatic behavior among soldiers," says Colonel Thomas Burke, Pentagon director of – what else? – mental health policy. Any efforts to mitigate the moral schizophrenia induced by this training would undermine "effectiveness in battle," he adds.

Yet strangely enough, this new model army, imbued with eager "warrior spirit," has not produced the kind of lasting victories won by the reluctant fifteen-percenters of yore. It was stalemated in Korea, defeated in Vietnam, chased out of Lebanon and Somalia, balked in Afghanistan (where 40,000 Taliban troops slipped away to fight again and drug-dealing warlords rule the countryside), while its two excursions into Iraq have ended first in irresolution (with "worse-than-Hitler" Saddam still on his throne) and now in bloody quagmire.

Could it be that the systematic degradation of natural morality and common human feeling – especially in the service of dubious ends – is not actually the best way to achieve national greatness?

It seems like any major military or corporate backed venture to give a mundane person super powers or just enhance their normal abilities always results in the test subject going uncontrollably berserk as a side-effect.
Sometimes the choice of test subject is clearly to blame. Convicted criminals make pretty poor guinea pigs if you're trying to develop a Super Soldier who can punch out a tank, yet nobody in any of these programs ever seems to have been given the most basic psychiatric evaluation. The evidence indicates a connection between morals and one's ability to remain "sane." Normally, using the power makes you crazy the longer you use it, because Evil Feels Good, but a noble, heroic character is better able to stay in control.
Other times, it seems that insanity happens as a side effect for no discernible reason other than to justify the needs of the plot and/or give the super individual a weakness that they must struggle to balance and maintain. This also gives the Badass Normal their one edge over the competition as they lack this weakness.
Sometimes, the creators of the super being realize the error while in the prototype phase and will deep six the subject, hoping everyone just forgets about them. This never works. Often, the first subject to undergo the process - or a single subject at least - will turn out okay, so on top of all the various other issues that the treatment has, it's usually their job to clean up the mess made by subsequent failed attempts.
If it's a Science Is Bad story, the sponsors of the program are likely to just keep pumping out nutty prototypes hoping they'll eventually make one that is not insane.
Karmic Death is a frequent end for not only the subject, but the scientists who created him/her/it.
May be either the cause or the result of Science Related Memetic Disorder, especially if the person is already a Mad Scientist to begin with.
H.G. Wells used the trope in The Invisible Man, making it one of The Oldest Ones In The Book. In fact, it seems invisibility seems to drive one insane more than any other power, due to homage.
Often occurs when someone acquires god-like powers.
A.K.A. Comes Great Insanity for short, to go with the original version, Comes Great Responsibility.


The terrorists who waged war on Mumbai for three days were fuelled by drugs including cocaine, it has been reported.
Indian officials believe terrorists injected themselves with cocaine and LSD before carrying out the 60 hour attack that killed nearly 200 people.

They also reportedly carried drugs and syringes in their bags alongside their weapons and ammunition, with one terrorist injecting himself with stimulants to enable him to continue fighting despite suffering a life-threatening injury.

The extremists had previously used steroids to bulk up their bodies while training in Pakistan for last week's deadly assault.

"We found injections containing traces of cocaine and LSD left behind by the terrorists and later found drugs in their blood," UK newspaper Telegraph reported an Indian official as saying.

"There was also evidence of steroids, which isn't uncommon in terrorists.

"These men were all toned, suggesting they had been doing some heavy training for the attacks. This explains why they managed to battle the commandos for over 50 hours with no food or sleep."...

 See Also: 

Junkies in jackboots: Nazi soldiers given highly addictive crystal meth to help them fight harder and longer

THE PRE-HISTORY OF MKULTRA By Martin Cannon
 
"...Arguably, the Russians really were the first brainwashers, just as the propagandists of the 1950s alleged.

4500 years ago, the Koyak and Wiros tribes of the central Russian steppes conducted what may be the first experiments in stimulating violence through the use of drugs. They derived from the Amanita muscaria mushroom a drug which reduced the warrior's anxiety and fear while increasing his strength, stamina, mental acuity, and ability to withstand pain. The shamans hit upon a noteworthy method of increasing the drug's potency: The mushroom was first fed to reindeer, and the soldiers would drink the animals' urine on the eve of battle. Viking warriors also depended on chemical stimulants derived from deer urine. (Today's soldiers should ponder this history before complaining about their MREs.) Combatants in India relied on similar drugs, as did Native American tribes of the Southwest. Incan warriors made use of the coca leaf. The tradition continues today: In Vietnam, soldiers sought relief in a veritable pharma-cornucopia, which offered everything from marijuana to heroin. The warring tribes of Somalia, Rwanda and Liberia all routinely partake of the locally-preferred narcotics..."

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