REMEMBER THE COURT-MARTIALED ARMY RESERVIST WHO REFUSED to take the military’s anthrax vaccine?
It looks like the Pentagon may have more drug controversies on the way after a special report released tonight by UPI and CNN on the anti-malaria drug Lariam.
According to the report:
Six Special Forces soldiers who took their lives are all believed to have taken the drug, according to the UPI-CNN investigation. . .
Those deaths then raise concerns about the tens of thousands of soldiers who have taken Lariam during the war on terrorism — and about dozens of suicides and a handful of murders among troops while overseas or after returning home.
The pattern also suggests that the Army might have missed the cause of three murder-suicides involving Special Forces soldiers at Fort Bragg, N.C., in the summer of 2002. A report by the Army surgeon general’s office blamed marital problems for all the deaths and called Lariam an unlikely factor. But the report did not consider physical or mental problems among the three Special Forces soldiers, described by family and friends, that fit side effects from Lariam. . .
The UPI/CNN investigation found three more suicides by Special Forces soldiers — all of them Green Berets believed to have taken Lariam. None appears to have had acute marital problems, combat stress or other personal issues that would help explain their sudden plunge into violence.
Lariam, also known as Mefloquine, can according to drug warning labels cause aggression, psychosis and suicidal tendencies. UPI’s Mark Benjamin reported that none of the soldiers he interviewed recalled being informed of these potential side effects.
The report makes clear that there is still no scientifically proven connection between the aggressive, erratic, and suicidal behavior of these Special Forces units and Lariam, but there is a correlation thus far.
Although anthrax is not malaria, the court-martial of Pvt. Kamila K. Iwanowska looks like something the military courts should revisit.
If there are serious questions raised by civil society or by those actually taking these drugs and vaccines, the Pentagon should go to extraordinary lengths not to treat our armed forces like compelled and unsuspecting guinea pigs in a lab.
— Steve Clemons