Saturday, June 25, 2005

Prozac goes to war: Feeding our troops anti-depressants like they were Skittles or M&Ms

(Author's note: I first wrote this story in order to highlight one American soldier's plight in Iraq -- but then a friend e-mailed me another soldier's story and my essay expanded. Now it has become more than just one individual American's sad experience in Iraq. It has become a larger tale -- of greed, exploitation and mis-use.

Both of these stories -- as well as the many other stories in the hundreds of soldiers' blogs now pouring out of Iraq -- are documenting America's new reality: For Bush Republicans, the war on Iraq is a cash cow, designed to make money at any cost. Judging from all these stories, it appears that the people in control of the Pentagon, the Congress and the White House regard America's finest heroes as merely unfeeling and interchangeable human machines in their sweatshops -- or like indentured sharecroppers chopping cotton while they sip Mint Julips on the veranda of their Green Zone plantations.

No wonder recruiting is down!)


A friend of mine is stationed in Iraq and is totally flipping out. Can you possibly guess why? Maybe he's tired of following orders that routinely involve blowing up babies? Well, for whatever reason, the doctors there are trying to feed him anti-psychotic medications. "A bottle of pills is their answer to everything over here," he e-mailed me.

Guess what? A bottle of pills seems to be the answer to every problem over here too. I bet half of America is on anti-depressants. But I digress.

"I am afraid to take the anti-psychotics," my friend wrote me. "After everyone got so sick from the anthrax vaccinations they gave us, no one trusts ANYTHING the Army medical corps gives out any more."

So. Should our war hero start taking his pills? Or should he just wait until he has flipped out completely and started shooting everyone in sight? What are his alternatives? The Army is NOT offering him psychotherapy. Neither is it offering to let him go home. You gotta have an arm or a leg blown off for that to happen. Just psychosis or a lost finger or two doesn't count.

I just started reading Dr. William Glasser's book,
Warning: Psychiatry Can Be Dangerous To Your Mental Health. So far, the book has said that psychotropic medications are only 50 to 60% effective -- but that placebos are 47 to 50% effective too. That's scary -- that sugar pills are as effective as Prozac or Risperdal.

The next time I write my friend, I'll ask him if he would like me to send him some M&Ms and Skittles instead.

Another good cure for depression, neurosis, post-traumatic stress syndrome and psychosis in our soldiers in Iraq is to have them stop killing babies and start bringing our troops back home!

PS: Here's another quote from my soldier friend. "You might also want to check out where the manufacturers of Prozac are putting their 'charitable' donations, heh heh. I'm sure the government is getting a pretty penny for shoving all those pills in our mouths."

How many millions do Bush Republicans receive from drug lobby political action committees? George Bush alone received $891,208 to help lobby for drug companies in the year leading up to passing the Medicare Prescription Drug boondoggle. Shouldn't that be illegal?


I just received the following e-mail from a VERY worried parent:

My daughter talked to me yesterday in instant messages. She's an MP on a base in Iraq. She was sad because she got reprimanded for not waking up on time. Anyhoo, I told her, "Well you'd better go to bed earlier don't you think."

Her reply was, "Daddy, I go to bed EVERY night at 9 pm. But we are working 12 hours a day and have been since I arrived in January." She has a 12 hour shift and because they are shorthanded, she has to patrol the whole 12 hours alone in an unarmored SUV -- and her base usually gets mortared at LEAST once a day too.

"I already have three alarm clocks," the daughter answered, "but I'm exhausted and we work six days a week every week." It seems that when she arrived, Rumsfeld took half her unit and transferred it to Baghdad and so EVERY MP on her base must work 12 hours a day, six days a week. She told me that she's totally stressed out so I told her to go to the Doc on sick call and ask for Prozac for her stress. I am assuming from your story that she'll get it -- and then it occurred to me. They probably are ALL overworked since they can't get enough recruits to go there and it's stressing them all out. Imagine what the combat troops must be like? Their equipment is the same way, with most of it being used long past its checks and balances and sand takes a heavy toll on moving parts.

As punishment for not waking up on time, my daughter is now working 12 hours a day seven days a week instead of just six.