January 15, 2008

An Army of Sociopaths on The Mourning After Pill

This report was originally in AlterNet and excerpts with comments are reposted in today's Winter Patriot. It discusses The Psychological Kevlar Act of 2007, the principles of “operant conditioning,” Battlemind Training and the moral implications of inhibiting natural human responses to horrific events. Please read and if you have time, follow the links. If implemented, we all will experience the repercussions. Imagine a nation of homeless, desensitized, militarized zombies. Wes Craven, the Pentagon calls you. [My emPHAsis in bold]
Pentagon, Big Pharma: Drug Troops to Numb Them to Horrors of War
By Penny Coleman, AlterNet. Posted January 10, 2008.
The DoD is flirting with the idea of medicating soldiers to desensitize them to combat trauma -- will an army of unfeeling monsters result?
[...] 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. [...] 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), [quote from Lt. Col. Peter Kilner, a professor of philosophy and ethics at West Point]
[...] current 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
[...] The Psychological Kevlar Act perhaps holds out the promise of a prophylactic remedy, but it should come as no surprise that Big Pharma has been looking for a chemical intervention.
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.
[...] 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."
In an older post linked to this story, Chris Floyd asked what made the "Greatest Generation" so great, and finds a very non-Steven Spielberg/Hollywood answer: MOST DIDN'T KILL!
[...] Killing the soul is the ultimate aim of those who seek to create tools for empire, instead of recruiting citizens to defend the Republic from attack. I wrote about this in 2004 (Manufacturing Intent:The Army's Cult of Killing Leaves a Generation Gap)
[...] 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.

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