Johnny Got His Pills …

Published on Dissident Voice, by E.R. Bills, September 11, 2010.

…  Our Army brass is looking for answers regarding the suicides of soldiers like Hale, but not under their noses. War is insane. It isn’t hell; it’s a planned, coordinated communal psychosis. If you take a normal, all-American boy or girl and plop them down in a psychotic situation for months and years at a time, tour after tour, psychosis or extreme disturbance are not abnormal responses. And they can lead to suicide. Especially when the nation who sent these men and women into harm’s way still hasn’t clearly justified why this madness was necessary. It’s hard enough to maintain your sanity in a war zone when you’re fighting the good fight. But when you’re risking your life or limbs or sanity simply to fulfill the “wartime president” fantasy of an imbellic, oil fund aristocrat or to enable a rich, pasty-faced assembly of stuffed shirts look “tough” on terrorism, your outlook on things isn’t going to be positive. Or healthy. 

I read an AP piece in the newspaper the other day that suggested that one of Big Phama’s wonder drugs was killing American GIs. It said that many of the soldiers serving in and returning home from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were taking a drug called Seroquel to help them deal with chronic restlessness, severe insomnia and constant nightmares. If I was a soldier it might have made me laugh.

Seroquel is a “potent antipsychotic.” Instead of reducing combat tours to reasonable time frames, limiting the number of tours a soldier should have to endure or simply removing unstable soldiers from the psychotic environment of these ill-conceived wars indefinitely, the U.S. Military is apparently using our men and women in uniform as guinea pigs for a soldier’s-little-helper pill that will supposedly desensitize them to the insanity around them … //

… In 2008, American emergency rooms treated a million people for abusing prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines, roughly the same number of folks our ERs treated for heroin and cocaine overdoses or abuses of other illegal drugs—and this number doesn’t even factor in alcohol. We’re taking the edge off our insanity any way we can. The only war more stupid and psychotic than the one in Iraq was the one on drugs. But it’s been going on so long its mention no longer even penetrates our daze. The military-pharmaceutical complex is making a killing or, more specifically, making a fortune off the folks we’ve asked to do the killing—and the rest of us. They dope our unruly kids, they dope the young men and women fighting in and returning home from the war; and they dope the rest of us right here at home for being sick of wars overseas and fearful of war on the Middle and Lower Classes and disgusted by Capitalist expediency and dreading the reckonings to come and being ashamed of our own sad, national shadow. (full text).

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