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Pentagon, Big Pharma: Drug Troops to Numb Them to Horrors of War

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posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 03:31 AM
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Pentagon, Big Pharma: Drug Troops to Numb Them to Horrors of War


www.alternet.org

The DoD is flirting with the idea of medicating soldiers to desensitize them to combat trauma -- will an army of unfeeling monsters result?

is it moral to weaken memories of horrendous acts a person has committed? Some would say that there is no difference between offering injured soldiers penicillin to prevent an infection and giving a drug that prevents them from suffering from a posttraumatic stress injury for the rest of their lives. Others, like Leon Kass, former chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics, object to propranolol's use on the grounds that it medicates away one's conscience.
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 03:31 AM
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It seems now that if you aren't willing to tow the line at a place like Abu Ghraib because your conscience can't/won't go along, there will be a solution.

I've got friends in the military, even special forces, and I consider them friends. How should I think of a "friend" using these drugs? Would they hesitate when ordered to kill me?

Maybe soldiers with a conscience is a good thing. Maybe PTSD sufferers in our society indicate that we should find other solutions, not drug away our conscience. Nahhh.

www.alternet.org
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 03:51 AM
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This is very concerning! Imagine armies of soldiers without any conscience. This in itself is a war crime in my eyes, imagine the atrocities a bunch of drugged up men with weapons would commit. I guess it's just another brick in the path toward a whole new era of warfare...making men into machines.



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 04:57 AM
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There are a few notable things about this thread.

One, this must be at least the fifth thread on this topic.

/2py7o8

Second, it is just as loose with the facts as all the rest.

Third, it is another in a long string of threads that use shamelessly biased sources.

Propanolol has been found to reduce the effects of psychologically traumatic experiences when administered soon enough after the event.

If this drug can reduce the incidence of PTSD in the population of returning vets, then it is a good thing.

As the drug is administered after the fact and has the effect of disconnecting emotion and experience, the subject of conscience is invalid. Furthermore, the accusations by some that the drug is a "memory eraser" is a blatant lie.


...propranolol won't cause PTSD sufferers to forget their ghastly memories, "but it can take out the sting," says professor of psychiatry Roger K. Pitman.

harvardmagazine.com...



As for your friends in the "military, even special forces", if you question their use of a drug that helps them to avoid years of anguish brought on by experiences that exceed those of normal human experience, then you're not much of a friend and I doubt any veteran would care much what you think.

www.mental-health-today.com...

However, there is no evidence that I can find that suggests that propranolol has been approved for use against the development of PTSD.

There are certainly ethical concerns both in the medical community and in the military concerning the drug's use.

I feel that these ethical concerns will be put to rest once the drug's effects are better known and an optimal drug regimen has been established.

As for your source article, it is plain to anyone who has served in the military, especially combat, that the author has no real idea what military training is all about.

It is true that operant conditioning is used in the military, but it is also used by parents and teachers and in the work place. It is even used on this website to keep members in line.

Operant conditioning does not transform soldiers into mindless, killing machines. It does, however, help to train soldiers to survive on the battlefield and repeated intense training helps to ensure that soldiers can respond to the life-threatening situations instinctively so that time is not lost thinking oneself through the situation, in much the same way as a baseball infield can execute a double play without convening a conference on how to carry it out.

This does not mean that thought processes are not necessary. In fact, to survive an ambush or an assault one must continually adapt to an ever changing set of lethal threats. Problem-solving strategies must come into play if a unit is to survive, as does the sense of esprit de corps and the willingness to follow orders under extreme duress.

If one is to understand a topic as complex as this one, it is important to choose one's sources carefully in order to present a balanced treatment of the subject.

One site whose raison d'etre is purely political is not adequate to meet the standards of responsible reporting of any phenomenon or to initiate a cogent discussion of the material.


[edit on 2008/1/11 by GradyPhilpott]



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 05:33 AM
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My bro in law has a friend who used to be a marine and now works in iraq as a security consultant. He was home for christmas, and I met him when they came down for a christmas party. He had hundreds of strips of diazepam that he sold on the black market.
His explanation was, and i quote
"we can get as many of these as we want, free of charge"
10mg diazepam - thousands of them, being given away to security services and troops in iraq, apparently.

The strange thing is, they don't look much like the diazepam prescribed by doctors - these were a larger oval shaped blue tablet.

I'm not sure of the truth of his statement, but I saw the strips, and the tablets.

BTW I didn't attend the party - wasn't my kind of thing if you know what I mean.

Just thought it worth a mention.

I saw this on alternet, but didn't post it as I thought this had been covered before.

[edit on 11/1/2008 by budski]



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 05:43 AM
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reply to post by GradyPhilpott
 


Hi Grady,


One, this must be at least the fifth thread on this topic

Please refer me to other threads on the Phychological Kevlar Act of 2007. I hadn't seen any, or I wouldn't have posted this new news article.


If this drug can reduce the incidence of PTSD in the population of returning vets, then it is a good thing.

I agree up to a point, and the determining factors are "to what end" and "at what cost". Another good thing would be to figure out how not to put our troops in harms way to begin with. During WWII, our country was behind the war because we were fighting for a just cause. With the preemptive, agressive approach we have to war these days and the atrocities we've committed that could give any sane, involved person PTSD, I think we shouldn't be asking how can we drug it away, but instead, how can we truly regain our moral backbone as a nation, certainly not by torture, sexually deviant or otherwise.

I agree that if propanolol can be used to help vets fight the good fight and avoid PTSD, that is a good thing, but many of us believe we aren't fighting the good fight, and the article isn't about propanolol.

The article is about the Phychological Kevlar Act of 2007, a partnership between military and big pharma to study the use of drugs that might prevent PTSD, potentially used before and/or after traumatic events. Propanolol was an example in the article, and is simply one, known drug that has been shown to reduce the vividness of memories enough to reduce their potential to cause PTSD. Comments about operant conditioning in the article may not argue for its use, which you have done reasonably, eloquently, and effectively, but they are informative and based on fact. If viewed with an open mind, that information and the statistics cited might teach us something.

Finally, regarding the bias of the article. I read many "biased" articles, from right to left and back. Mainstream news such as FOX is about as biased as you can get with a purely political focus, but I've used their articles as sources as well. The facts cited in the article are facts. That you don't agree with the site's politics doesn't invalidate this news.

I do appreciate your comments. Thanks for providing your most likely combat-experienced perspective. Does it not concern you at all that the military is considering the use of drugs before and/or after combat to phsychologically numb our soldiers to the effects of war? In my opinion, experiencing the consequences of our actions, all of them, is part of what makes us human and provides a reason to hope that we can historically oscillate somewhere near an ethical or moral path. Since I am not a reporter and am entitled to biases, just as you are, given the past 7 years of this administration, I am starting to believe it may not be enough.



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 06:06 AM
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Looks like our military is further trying to turn out soldiers into the men they fight....


If i recall the insurgents often drug themselves up before battle to reduce pain and fear...



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 07:11 AM
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If you take away the psychological stress of war you trivialise it to a point where it becomes a numbers game only.

You are, in effect, creating psychopaths with no feeling for what they have done.

There is a reason that people suffer from PTSD, and usually its because they have seem something so awful, frightening and horrible that they cannot rationalise it and fail to come to terms with it.

It is far better to acknowledge that horror, educate people so that they can learn from it and try and ensure it never happens again, than it is to just blot it out.

There should be proper care for war veterans and sufferers of PTSD, rather than an attempt to remove the humanity from the situation.

If a politician/political party/country hasn't got the guts to provide proper lifetime care for soldiers it wants to send into battle, then it shouldn't send them at all.



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 01:25 PM
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reply to post by neformore
 


Hi Neformore,



It is far better to acknowledge that horror, educate people so that they can learn from it and try and ensure it never happens again, than it is to just blot it out.
...

If a politician/political party/country hasn't got the guts to provide proper lifetime care for soldiers it wants to send into battle, then it shouldn't send them at all.


I couldn't agree with you more. That goes for things like respecting the lives of our troops enough to let people see photos of the thousands of coffins we're sending back to the US from our ventures as well, which was the whole point of memorials in the first place.

It seems that some people would prefer that our soldiers no longer inconvenience us with the fact of their not so positive ailments or death as a direct consequences of our policies. By all means, let's help them recover, but by acknowledging what causes those ailments in normal, drug-free, thinking humans in the first place, perhaps we'll stand a better chance of considering humanity in the decisions we make as a country.



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 03:22 PM
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I didn't think much about this topic until I read a post by BlueRaja which I hope he won't mind me reproducing here:


Originally posted by BlueRaja
As a member of the military, it is your duty to disobey an unlawful order.
An order to shoot US citizens would fall into that category, and no US military commander would go along with that. One thing that folks who ask questions like that fail to take into consideration is- members of the military are US citizens too, we're not in the military for life, we would have to live in whatever draconian fantasy that anti military types think we would willingly bring about. Soldier, Marines, etc... are not unthinking, unfeeling, unquestioning robotic killers. We have the same hopes, dreams, desires as anyone else might.


The original post can be found here.

Combine this with this part of the original article:


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.


Would these 'unfeeling, robotic' soldiers be more or less willing to use deadly force against their countrymen? Perhaps a little 'tin-foil hat' but these drugs (or their succesors) could potentially enable the military to be used to put down any uprising against the government. Could be very useful in a martial law situation.



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 03:29 PM
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The nazis implemented this.



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 03:29 PM
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I've never heard anything about this while I was in the AOR. Heck, I thought I was going to have to give a kidney just to get Ambien to sleep!

There are a lot of side effects of drugging troops. During WW2, they gave benzidrine to guys and they reports stuff like double vision, too aggressive, etc.



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 03:38 PM
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Originally posted by lifestudent
That you don't agree with the site's politics doesn't invalidate this news.


The article is not honest. It disparages the military in ways that are unnecessary to make its political point.

The kind of experiences that cause PTSD do so regardless of the politics involved and even when politics are not involved--whether the experiences occur in war or in a street crime.

Thank God for "Big Pharma." Would "Little Pharma" be better.

Does no one comprehend how difficult and tenuous life was before there were pharmacological interventions and prophylactics?

Only the grossly ill-informed or the grossly insensitive could fault a plan that will help people, soldiers and civilians alike, avoid the often life-long consequences of terror.

Nothing in the evidence points to this drug creating unfeeling, monster killers, as so many articles on the internet propose. Guilt is as much a cognitive function as it is an emotional one.

It is my observation that those who oppose this law, do so purely from a political perspective. They hate the military. They hate capitalism and they hate Bush. They hate America.

Using this issue to launch a diatribe against America is unconscionable, but there's nothing new in that.

www.google.com...



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 03:42 PM
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the use of drugs in warfare goes back way beyond the nazis. the celts used magic mushrooms before entering into warfare, apparently the romans were completely shocked by their abilities.
the simple fact is that most members of the military in all countries of the world are as someone pointed out earlier just normal people like you and i. nowadays we grow up in a very pampered world here in the west and watching shootings on the tv or you local neighbourhood do not compare in the slightest with modern warfare. it is a shock that some people cannot bear (understandably).
my own family are/werte members of special forces and i have listened to enough stories to understand that it takes a certain type of character to continue normal life after witnessing such events.
i do not believe suppressing emotion is good from a personal or military point of view, but hey, as long as pharmaceutical companies make money.....



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 03:53 PM
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My concern is what will happen when soldiers and personnel that may have been influenced by illegal drug selling in the combat zone comes back to their families and society with drug dependency.

This is something that should be taken into consideration.



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 03:56 PM
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reply to post by marg6043
 


are you talking along the lines of gi's in vietnam and the heroin situation?



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 04:03 PM
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reply to post by monoton
 


Yes, I am old enough to remember Vietnam and the results of the drug abuse after the war was over.

It was very sad when I was a teen in the seventies to see the disable vets homeless in the streets back in my Island of PR begging for pennies to support their habits.

That is something I never forget.



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 04:11 PM
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reply to post by marg6043
 


even though i am not american i am aware of the aftermath of vietnam and how sad it was/is, to this day the world is still reeling in the aftermath of the explosion of heroin into the western world. what i think it would be extremely frightening is if these drugs got into the hands of serial-killer types or rapists etc.
please don't misunderstand me but i think your leaders sometimes have horrendous ideas on what they think will improve humanity



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 05:33 PM
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reply to post by GradyPhilpott
 



Nothing in the evidence points to this drug creating unfeeling, monster killers, as so many articles on the internet propose. Guilt is as much a cognitive function as it is an emotional one.


I'm beginning to feel like we're not communicating very well. As I said in my earlier post, the Phsychological Kevlar Act of 2007 isn't about propanolol. That was just an example, so in spite of the fact that I don't agree that guilt is as much cognitive as emotional (it is an emotion), to debate this specific drug's effects is to avoid the bigger issue of the bill itself.


It is my observation that those who oppose this law, do so purely from a political perspective. They hate the military. They hate capitalism and they hate Bush. They hate America.


That's an obviously false statement, especially from where I'm sitting. This is more than a political issue to me. Furthermore, I certainly recognize the need for a military and a militia, both of which include friends of mine. I don't hate capitalism as I've benefited from it and contributed to it greatly, and I don't know Bush well enough to come close to hating him.

I am certainly embarassed for the mockery Bush has made of the integrity we were once recognized for, his violation of oath via shredding of the constitution and our Bill of Rights, his pioneering of lies to the American people as part of the State of the Union Address, and his seemingly complete lack of morals or ethics, but I don't hate him.

In fact, if we had someone that I felt we could trust in office and hadn't watched in shame as our own president lied to start a preemptive war for the profit of his friends and those of the VP, or as he and the VP institutionalized torture in the name of my country, I suppose I might be less concerned about the horrors this bill could lead to. Even then, I'd rather see normal, medically approved therapy applied to our troops for many reasons, including their health. A real treatment for just PTSD wouldn't require a special collaboration between the military and big pharma to be used in military units or hospitals.

[edit on 11-1-2008 by lifestudent]



posted on Jan, 11 2008 @ 06:52 PM
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monoton

I understand but the scariest thing is the way wars are now created and fought for agendas that has profits written all over.

Since congress passed the disarmament bill, in my town already the main hospital is dedicating an entire area "federally funded" to "treat" the wave of money making treatable soldiers that will be hooked on drugs to treat the many related illnesses related to the post war mental problems that will also be used as an excuse to keep this soldiers from been able to exercises their right to bear arms.

Where is money to be make, humanity and human suffering is off not consequences.

Iraq will bring a great boost to the drug lords of the pharmaceutical business to test on soldiers diagnosed with post war syndromes.




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