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The Pentagon goes to war against the demon drink

What happens when you take lots of hopped up young men far away, and put them under a great deal of stess but ban alcohol? They find ways of getting hold of booze or narcotics, and in common with drunk and stoned people the world over end up doing things they regret later. The New York Times has discovered that "Alcohol- and drug-related charges were involved in more than a third of all Army criminal prosecutions of soldiers in the two war zones — 240 of the 665 cases resulting in convictions".

Further, it notes that "While average rates of alcohol consumption in the Navy and Air Force have steadily declined since 1980, the year the military’s health survey began, they have significantly increased in the Army and Marine Corps and exceed civilian rates". This is not exactly surprising - the dough boys and the fly boys do not have to deal with very much by way of incoming at the moment, whereas grunts and leathernecks are rather more at the sharp end. Air and marine supremacy does make combat rather less stressful I would think.

So, what is Uncle Sam doing about his misbehaving nephews and nieces? It "has spent millions of dollars on several initiatives to reverse the trend, including a new Web site that deglamorizes drinking".

And as a public service, I have taken an extended tour of duty around thatguy.com, for that is the website in question.

It is very heavy on Flash, and has a rather annoying soundtrack, so be warned. The 'are you that guy' saw more fail dismally, as I've never woken up with drawings on ny face and I'm unlikely to sing 'Living on a prayer' loudly or quote all the drill instructor insults from 'Full Metal Jacket'. Among other useful indicators it has a game where cheesy pick up lines (which you cannot choose) fail to get the girl - who looks a bit like Cameron Diaz. Unsurprising really. And based on a hypothetical annual bar spend I could buy a howler monkey. Uh-huh.

Now with Nick's splendid e-mail tale in the comments....

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Anonymous nick drew said... 3:17 pm

there is a most amazing chain-email circulating the military which stems from young US subaltern's personal rejection of all things alcoholic.

Needless to say, his peers did not share his viewpoint. Some of them expressed this most forcefully, others with great wit.

If I get a moment I will try to condense it into a shareable form.  



Blogger The Hitch said... 9:32 pm

No doubt mr drew will back me up on this but if the british army were to go "dry" everybody would leave , same with the Navy.
Two cans a day my arse.  



Anonymous nick drew said... 10:35 pm

Yup - even in Oman where the Sultan 'understood' and allowed the taps to flow. Wise man.

I've sent C the email chain mentioned above and if it's not quite up his street it'll be headed your way Hitch.  



Anonymous nick drew said... 10:45 pm

Oh yes, and the RAF too, including pilots, there was always a bottle or 2 of hooch secreted in an onboard cubby-hole

I have an RAF+booze story that is only fit for telling across a pub table  



Blogger Croydonian said... 10:20 am

Nick's e-mail story. Read from the bottom up:

From: Capt aaaa, USAF


Subject: [COS_C] FW: A MUST READ!! FW: Fort Collins Brewery Tour

I read this email chain and decided that I'm going to Germany on vacation to meet 2nd Lt Megan ***. You have to read the entire thing from the bottom up.

/ / / / / / / / /

[30 emails further down]

/ / / / / / / / /

From: ***, Megan 2d Lt
Sent: Friday, May 12, 2006 12:58 PM
Subject: RE: A MUST READ!! FW: Fort Collins Brewery Tour WoW

Okay, it's Friday and a beautiful sunny day in Germany. All I can think about is how freakin wasted and ridiculous me and the girls are going to be tonight out on the town (watch out K-Town)! And guess what, I'm cool, I stay in school, get all my work done AND get plastered! Alcohol has been a motivator for me! Get drunk = have lots of cool friends. Get drunk = have amazing monkey sex. Get drunk = write the most amazing psychology papers ever written. Get drunk = get naked or watch other people (not to mention names) jump around in waterfalls in Majorca! How is this the life that Mr. Smalley (okay- is that seriously his name?) does not want?!!! Well, Mr. Smalley, I have news for you. If you keep yapping about your seriously distorted view of alcohol prohibition, then you will never have cool friends, have insane monkey sex, write collegiate papers that wow the masses, or get naked in Majorca! I'm going to go out on a limb on this one, but from what I've read, you will get stuck with a nasty, hairy woman from Bible Study, play golf with men 50+ years-old, and have horridly retched kids that will drink alcohol and ruin your life anyways. So why don't you jump on the bandwagon and drink a beer or 3!

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

From: Smalley, xxx 2d Lt USAF
Sent: Wednesday, 26 April 2006 11:25 AM
To: nnn, Michael 2dLt
Subject: RE: Fort Collins Brewery Tour

Lt. nnn,

Below is a sort of editorial on my views on drinking. I really don't mean anything personal by it and I hope it doesn't sound too preachy, but it needs to be said.

Nothing personal against all you drinkers out there, but alcohol use is logically unjustifiable. I'm "falling on my sword" on this one but I can't remain silent any longer. No one can deny that alcohol causes suffering. What everyone needs to acknowledge is that the "good times" don't nearly make up for that suffering. The costs outweigh the benefits. More human suffering comes out of a bottle than a gun. That's a fact. If you don't believe me, go to a group therapy session and see how many people are there because their dad shot someone versus how many are there because their dad was an alcoholic. Ask around a prison how many people are there because of alcohol. Ask the same question at a hospital emergency room or an abortion clinic. How many "date rapes" have happened under the influence? How many people have died in car accidents? How many crimes, including shootings, have involved alcohol? And I'm just talking about in our community. These are unnecessary casualties that fly in the face of Operational Risk Management.

They say you should "drink responsibly" so as to maintain self-control (I assume). But the biggest problem with alcohol consumption is that it degrades one's ability to maintain self-control. It clouds judgment. To "drink responsibly" is literally an oxymoron that only serves as a legal disclaimer to protect alcohol producers from inevitable lawsuits. To quote a recent movie: "Alcohol is a social lubricant. It makes men brave and women loose." (Just Like Heaven, 2005)

That's a recipe for date rape. This is the very scenario in a mandatory training video presented by the Air Force on Sexual Assault Awareness. The perpetrator's modus operondi was to get his victim drunk first. After I watched that video with my co-workers, I asked the group, "Can anyone tell me what good comes from alcohol use that could possibly offset this much bad?" Everyone shook their heads and muttered "No." We keep trying to address the symptoms of alcohol related problems but never the root cause: THE ALCOHOL.

I know some people say, "I don't hurt anyone else." But alcohol always hurts the user in one way or another. Just ask my friend whose dad died of alcohol poisoning. Or maybe they say, "It's my choice." But too often the choices of people under the influence of alcohol become consequences for others.

So, my plea to you is this: Kick the alcohol habit before it kicks you! You don't need it in your life. I've lived my entire life without a drop of alcohol and I still have fun at social events. And I've never done anything I regretted the next day because I voluntarily handed my self-control over to a chemical the night before. You see, you can give away personal control but you can't give away personal responsibility. So why not maintain control over the decisions and actions for which you alone will be held accountable? Finally, if you think you can't live without a beer, think how you'll be able to live with yourself if you kill someone driving home from your favorite brew pub. Is it really worth it? Operational Risk Management says no. Why walk close to the edge of the cliff? Just avoid it all together.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

From: nnn, Michael 2d Lt
Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2006 11:19 AM
To: CGO All
Subject: Fort Collins Brewery Tour

I am looking to see how many people are interested in doing a beer tour in Fort Collins in the upcoming months (I am thinking early June or July timeframe, but the date is flexible). For those who are unaware, besides the Budweiser plant there are quite a few local breweries in Fort Collins that make some of the best (I would argue THE best) beer in the country.

This was done back in 2003 and Capt R (as one of the few people who are still here that went) has attested that this was an awesome time. It's a great way to meet some people you may not normally meet plus experience the best part of Fort Collins, the beer!

I will be glad to organize this but I need people to email me if they are interested...including people who would like to be a DD.

Mike  



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