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RIPOSTE
     
by RIP RENSE

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WAR ON DRUGS. . .
(March 2, 2005)

        Drugs, as we know, are evil. This is why Nancy Reagan told everyone to "just say no." This is why countless millions---er, billions---are spent fighting the "War on Drugs" instead of on, say, schools. (Gee, isn't it funny how drugs are more plentiful and popular than ever, anyhow?)
        This is why Tommy Chong was thrown in jail for selling water-pipes.
        This is why we have lots of "operatives" in the cocaine republics of South America doing strange things that we rarely hear about (especially when good reporters who write about them, like the late Gary Webb, are discredited and demoralized to the point of suicide.)
        This is why "President" Bush will not admit to past use of marijuana (and, judging from his remarks on recently released tapes, possibly cocaine and LSD, too.)
        This is why we have those neat "This is your brain on drugs" commercials, in which the wacked teenaged girl smashes her kitchen up with a frying pan. Wow. Potent stuff. Convinced me not to have children.
        And this is why we are now giving enemy Iraq combatants the illegal drug, methylenedioxymeth- amphetamine, or MDMA. AKA "Ecstasy." The Love Drug. Adam. Hug Beans. High of choice at "raves" for at least fifteen years.
        No, no---wait, I've got it wrong. We're not giving it to the enemy, we're giving it to our combatants! Our soldiers. That's right. G.I. Joe and G.I. Jane are on MDMA.    
        War on Drugs, meet the war on drugs.
        "Private, I gave you an order! Did you hear me?"
        "You have a beautifu soul, sir."
        "Pick up your weapon!"
        "But the enemy is human, sir. If we could just sit down together and talk for a while. . ."

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       And you thought it was crazy that the military recently considered devising a drug to turn enemy combatants into instant homosexuals. You know, so they would immediately put down their guns and pick up their, well, you get the idea.
        This is your country. This is your country on drugs.
        The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that Ecstasy could help traumatized soldiers deal with "flashbacks" and recurring nightmares---and maybe even head off post-traumatic stress disorder. So a stateside clinical "trial" program is under way for soldiers who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq, in which military victims of rape, sexual abuse and post-traumatic stress are being given MDMA.
        Michael Mithoefer, a shrink in charge of the clinical trial, recently made a lot of clinical statements to the press, such as how it all looks "very promising," and "it's too early to draw any conclusions, but in these treatment-resistant people so far the results are encouraging," and "people are able to connect more deeply on an emotional level with the fact they are safe now."
        Wink, wink.
        Help with nightmares? Ease post-traumatic stress disorder? Make you "connect more deeply on an emotional level?" Is he kidding? You fall in love with the goddamn kitchen table. Kirstie Alley looks like three hundred pounds of heavenly joy. And er, "safe?" Well, Herr Mithoefer is right about that. There is only one thing imaginable that could induce a feeling of safety right in the middle of the Iraq war, and it ain't a visit from Donald Rumsfeld. . .
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Can't you see it? Men with assault rifles and big fake nipples in their mouths. . .
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        Ecstasy is paradise with an ocean view. Physiologically, it blows open the seratonin floodgates until your brain is swimming, bathing, floating in unimaginable bliss. Malice toward no one. Before you know it, you're picking up ants from the carpet and gently placing them on the front lawn, wishing them a long and prosperous life, muttering "you have souls, too, little fellows. . ."
        Ecstasy is Viagra for niceness. Give it to soldiers, and they won't want to kill the enemy, they'll want to kill 'em with kindness.
        "It appears to act as a catalyst," says Mithoefer, "to help people move through whatever's been blocking their success in therapy."
        Oh, it's a catalyst. It'll catalyze you into really enjoying the Teletubbies, and Mister Rogers and trance music. Ever see Rave People with pacifiers around their necks, or even---gasp---in their mouths? One of the features of Hug Beans is that their methampetamine component gets your jaw grinding, so the pacifier sates that particular compulsion.
        Can't you see it? Men with assault rifles and big fake nipples in their mouths, breaking down Iraqi doors to win "hearts and minds." That ought to scare the crap out of Al-Qaeda.
        So here's another reason to enlist, kids! Aside from the fact you have no job, a lousy education, and that Marine recruiter at Wal-Mart said you could use a military career as a springboard to becoming a famous rapper.
        Drugs!
        Go to Iraq, tell a shrink you're a little upset, and you'll get lots of pure pharmaceutical Ecstasy---not that watered down, speedy junk going around the raves. The good stuff. Far out! It's still a felony for us, but it's good fellowship for you. Why not just issue it with K-rations instead of free cigarettes?
        Beats shooting heroin, like those poor Vietnam guys did.
        Yes, forget all the "just say no" rhetoric and all the claims that ecstasy puts holes in the brain (now discredited)---it's a good drug again. Forget about suspicions that too much MDMA burns out seratonin producers or receptors, and can leave users with long-term depression. Just say yes!
        After all, it was legal until the late '80s, when therapists employed it to help patients conquer fear, anxiety, and related disorders. Then the government banned it for the same reason that most things are banned: kids found that it was a lot of fun at parties, then got into automobiles.
        I'm for it, risks and all. I'm for giving all our soldiers Ecstasy---and all their soldiers, too. In fact, all the armies of the world should take it, and certainly all the terrorists and politicians.
        We'd have no more worries, at least until the drugs wore off.
        "Soldier, what is your mission?"
        "Mmmph Blurgh pfrkph."
        "Take the pacifier out of your mouth, son."



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