Wild Blue Tweakers


It was pretty much inevitable, but still noteworthy that a USAF doc trotted out to tell the world that speed is good for pilots.

Two Air Force pilots face court martial for accidentily bombing Canadian forces in Afghanistan. The pilots claim the Dexedrine they were given by the Air Force is to blame. The military says, nonsense, we've been using speed for 60 years and we know what we are doing.

Has the President, well-spring of the "If you quit drugs, you join the fight against terror in America" formulation, been briefed?

NEXT: Genoa Scandal

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  1. Jeff, I’ve seen several times the implication that, somehow, the government is hypocritical for doling out “uppers” to the troops while fighting a “war on drugs” at home.

    This misses the point. First, the armed forces aren’t passing out lines of coke, bags of weed, or other goodies. Which, come to think of it, may help enlistment rates but that’s another thread yes? ๐Ÿ™‚ They are perscribing specific drugs for specific reasons. For example, during wartime pilots can be asked to fly a 14-hour mission. That’s a long time, and it makes a landing potentially more dangerous when the pilots are fatigued. So maybe a little speed to keep them going until they land is actually safer, no?

    The second point is that the men and women in our armed forces are regularly asked to do things that are illegal for regular citizens. For example (to paraphrase P.J. O’Rourke) they get to drive through buildings and shoot foreigners.

    On a more serious note, there are good reasons that our soldiers, pilots, etc., are occasionally provided with drugs. A good place to start reading up on the topic would be http://www.strategypage.com by Jim Dunnigan.

  2. Casey, you seem to be making the point that the guv’t is being hypocritical yourself – the WOD relies on the manifesto, “drugs are bad, no matter what.”

    Drugs are not good or bad, they have good or bad health consequences (usually a bit of both, as with all things).

    According to WOD logic, a fighter pilot on speed is nowhere near as dangerous as I am at home with a pizza and a bong, watching Friday Night Fights.

  3. The Air Force issues the pills, but it’s up to the pilots to decide if and when to take them. This makes a lot of sense, IF they’ve given the pilots training on the side-effects and dangers of speed, as well as how to recognize when they’re about to fall asleep and fly into the ground.

    But why should gov’t employees have the option of deciding this for themselves, while it is denied to all civilians?

  4. Josh, what is “WOD?” Sorry, I’m not familiar with that acronym.

    I might say the pilot is a _little_ more dangerous than you and your bong. ๐Ÿ™‚ But no more than that fella driving a semi on I-75 after 18 hours on the road, doing a little speed to keep the hammer down…

  5. One of the key differences between an AF pilot using dexedrine and John Doe snorting coke is that the pilot is under the care of a physician, the physician prescribed the med, the pilot is in excellent physical condition, and both pilot and physician have a clear understanding of the effects, the risks, and the benefits.

  6. Oh…and the dosage is closely monitored.

  7. Closely monitored? Maybe, but I bet there are more than a few Canadians who would beg to differ.

  8. WOD – that’s what we insiders know as War On Drugs.

    On the flip side, there are many instances where it is more dangerous without drugs. For instance, I’d rather the semi-driver be a little high on speed than, oh, I don’t know, asleep.

  9. Josh, I’m afraid that’s very much begging the question. There is no evidence that the dexedrine affected the pilot’s judgement in any way.

    This is just another “smoke and mirrors” defense where the lawyer throws every lame excuse at the jury to convince them it wasn’t the defendant’s fault.

  10. These pilots need exposure to Jim Morrison’s anti-drug slogan: “Speed kills. So smoke pot instead!”

  11. You can’t really give the “under the care of a physician” excuse for the pilot’s using drugs. One of the more terrifying consequences of the War on Drugs is that physicians are not allowed to be “too free” with narcotic medication. Look at the consequences of the whole Oxycontin (aka Hillbilly Heroin according to DEA press leaks) issue. Many people, with legitimate need for the drug, were denied access to the drug because the DEA thought it was being over-prescribed.

  12. During WW2 U.S. bomber crews and fighter jocks used speed to keep them alert, which is probably no bad thing against the ace Luftwaffe pilots of the time. There are also tales of how British bomber crews on their nightime raids were partial to a hipflask of whisky to help them deal with the cold and sheer fear. Of course the British navy gave us grog, a scary mix of rum, lime juice, water and sugar, the consumption of which ensured that the Royal Navy’s sailors were the most dangerous folk afloat.

  13. Yes, the pilots had a choice: use the pills or you don’t fly. They also had ridiculous pre-flight orders to go over for each sortie, some as long as 45 pages. This is a tragic event, made moreso by the legal entanglements which have followed. Responsibility follows the bullet, or in this case the bomb. If the drugs are to be an issue, fine, but they are NOT an excuse.

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