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Drugs,Vietnam and Russia

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#1
Interesting article in today's Sunset Times, covering the rise and rise of 'legal highs' including Spice.

LINK

This paragraph caught my eye:

John Huffman,whose original research into synthetic cannabinoids was the pump primer says

"My wife looked up the compound JWH015 on Google. My compound was available as a growth stimulant for bonsai plants,which makes sense. But now it was a drug craze in Russia,then Europe,then it spread to the US and now worldwide"

Hmmmm.



Question: I read that during the Vietnam War, one of the ways the North Vietnamese demoralised and broke down unit cohesion amongst US forces was the deliberate supply of both marijuana and heroin to enemy troops. Anyone got a serious source for this? @chippymick ?

Question: Spice and other legal highs are a serious problem in British prisons. What are the known links to organised crime in former Eastern bloc? Any screw......er.....prison officers on Arrse who have a view?

Question : from an historical perspective,what precedents are there for the use of recreational drugs as a destabilising influence?

Interesting times....


 
#2
The stuff that they used to say they put in the tea to control people in the army had a fairly de-stabalising influence in the British army, it put a dent in the amount of tea breaks taken.

Things like Spice are a natural reaction to legislation prohibiting the drugs that these things seek to emulate. They are very often far more dangerous than those that came before them.

Ending prohibition in a sensible way is the only effective way to discourage the production and use of these horrific synthetic compounds.

It really is a long over due and pathetic state of affairs that the prohibition of certain drugs remains in force and has led, directly to untold deaths and suffering no to mention the lining of criminals pockets.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#3
Can you answer any of the three questions posed above please?

Or do you wish to hijack a thread to ride a hobby horse about legalising cannabis?

Just askin' like?
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#5
Yeah,aware of the Porton Down experiments back in the day. I'm sure much the same thing went on at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

If I recall,everyone stepped smartly away from it. Too uncontrolled ironically.

( ' Like.....its like.....acid man,y'know.....what did you expect?')



I was thinking more along the lines of clandestine warfare ,social engineering stylee?
 
#6
Yeah,aware of the Porton Down experiments back in the day. I'm sure much the same thing went on at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

If I recall,everyone stepped smartly away from it. Too uncontrolled ironically.

( ' Like.....its like.....acid man,y'know.....what did you expect?')

I was thinking more along the lines of clandestine warfare ,social engineering stylee?
Well why ask the question when you know the experiments were carried out, the notion being that you could somehow dope the "enemy's" water or food supply to cause the destabilisation you ask about?
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#7
Cos it occurred to me that,following the Vietnam war pattern, a good way to destroy the target country's will to fight may be to make large quantities of hallucinogenics freely available.

Got any better citations?
 
#9
Interesting article in today's Sunset Times, covering the rise and rise of 'legal highs' including Spice.

LINK

This paragraph caught my eye:

John Huffman,whose original research into synthetic cannabinoids was the pump primer says

"My wife looked up the compound JWH015 on Google. My compound was available as a growth stimulant for bonsai plants,which makes sense. But now it was a drug craze in Russia,then Europe,then it spread to the US and now worldwide"

Hmmmm.



Question: I read that during the Vietnam War, one of the ways the North Vietnamese demoralised and broke down unit cohesion amongst US forces was the deliberate supply of both marijuana and heroin to enemy troops. Anyone got a serious source for this? @chippymick ?

Question: Spice and other legal highs are a serious problem in British prisons. What are the known links to organised crime in former Eastern bloc? Any screw......er.....prison officers on Arrse who have a view?

Question : from an historical perspective,what precedents are there for the use of recreational drugs as a destabilising influence?

Interesting times....


I am way out west currently and don't have access to my library.

Firstly, drug use in Vietnam, cannabis and heroin, was not a deliberate ploy by the cunning communists. It was by the turn of the 70th decade a consequence of US forces serving in a place where those plants grow like weeds. Plenty of supply.

Helped along by the 60's counter culture demand increased.

By 1971 it was becoming a significant problem in US units. It was never a serious problem in Australian units because in the 60's Australians were extremely conservative Country Cousins.

One of the remarkable things that I have seen reported is that even though heroin is reputably one of the most addictive drugs, most US recreational users in Vietnam managed to kick the habit easily on return to the US.

The Vietnamese Communists have always been staunch opponents of both Cannabis and Opium. You can and will be shot for Heroin trafficking there.

That was not always the case. Prior to 1950 before Mao won the civil war and sponsored Uncle Ho, the Viet Minh were desperate enough to do a bit of drug traffiicking of their own. The plan from 1945 to 1950 was to seize the opium crops grown out on the border with Laos, sell it to Chinese entrepreneurs and with the cash buy weapons in Bangkok. For whatever reason post war Bangkok became the centre of the black market for surplus WW2 weapons.

There is a school of thought that Dien Bien Phu was fought in 1954 at that place for economic reasons. Control of a significant cash crop.

Once the Indochinese communist party gained state sponsorship from China and subsequently the USSR post 1950-54 they became extreme zealots against all drug production and consumption. A position they still adopt today.

That presented a big problem after the fall in 1975. Serving ARVN officers who couldn't escape were sent off to some really nasty re-education camps. Drug dealers were sent off to the nearest convenient wall and shot.

That lead to an interesting immigration problem for countries accepting what were then called "Boat People". Those with the greatest incentive to leave and the greatest resources to do so were the drug traffickers and dealers.

They were so successful in leaving Vietnam that they managed to create the Heroin Plague in Australia and elsewhere in the 1980's. In the 1980-90's the Vietnamese were seriously over-represented in prisoner population to census data.

It was a massive social problem for at least a generation.

Nowadays, two generations on, that much maligned immigration tranche at the time is underrepresented in prisoners and overrepresented as doctoral candidates and bakers.

(Partly due to the the fact that heroin is no longer a fashionable drug but Meth is. Not an improvement but there will always be a market for recreational drugs. As kindly Uncle Ho well knew)

The Indochinese after a rough start have truly become a success story here in Australia.

Occam's razor needs to be applied here.

Was there a deliberate 'Commy' policy to undermine US performance in Vietnam?

The answer in spite of Hanoi hypocrisy has to be no.

Drug use in Vietnam and later in Countries that Vietnamese settled in is more adequately explained either situationally or economically.

Demand for recreational drugs will always be met.

"If there is a choice between deliberate government conspiracy and normal market forces go the market forces everytime. Governments and Public Servants are crap at running anything, anywhere for whatever reason"

I'm going to coin that Chippymick's Razor
 
#10
Cos it occurred to me that,following the Vietnam war pattern, a good way to destroy the target country's will to fight may be to make large quantities of hallucinogenics freely available.

Got any better citations?
Do you have any as, well, there's very few citations that back up your claim about Vietnam, many others that say more along the lines of what Mick says.

The Cong didn't supply what was already there...
 
#11
"If there is a choice between deliberate government conspiracy and normal market forces go the market forces everytime. Governments and Public Servants are crap at running anything, anywhere for whatever reason"

I'm going to coin that Chippymick's Razor
I think Robert Heinlein beat you to it..."You have attributed to villainy conditions that can be adequately explained by stupidity."
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#12
Thanks for contributions,not least on the realities of dope smokin' Yankees at war. Another Hollywood trope possibly.

It occurred to me that the British policy on raising opium as a cash crop in India under the Raj to sell in China was a possible forerunner.

But I don't think it was designed to undermine the Emperor,just make lots of money.

I would be interested to know whether Britain's Spice epidemic is home manufactured or largely imported.
 
#13
Thanks for contributions,not least on the realities of dope smokin' Yankees at war. Another Hollywood trope possibly.

It occurred to me that the British policy on raising opium as a cash crop in India under the Raj to sell in China was a possible forerunner.

But I don't think it was designed to undermine the Emperor,just make lots of money.

I would be interested to know whether Britain's Spice epidemic is home manufactured or largely imported.
Imported, I believe
 
#14
I asked around here about the theory that the NV supplied the US army with drugs as a kind of Chemical warfare and drew a blank. One of the things that did come out was that whilst the NVA/VC didn't indulge in H and C (because it cost too much) there was widespread use of betel nut and hooch (home made rice wine and vodka).

US forces spending weeks and months in country Vn with little to spend money on had plenty of dosh to go on RnR with in places like BKK, Phils and Taiwan, where there was (and still is) a thriving black market in illicit drugs.
 
#15
Two of my neighbors are Vietnam vets (one infantry, one marine) and a family friend was infantry too. I have asked them about their Vietnam experiences and two of the three said they never saw weed, in any unit close to any enemy. The third said he saw it, but only in those conscripts of a 'darker shade'.

I honestly think it was overplayed by Hollywood, probably to increase some kind of anti-war sentiment. No doubt it was smoked, just not the levels we have been led to believe.
 
#16
This is from the Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol, and Addictive Behavior (link).

At the height of the use of opiates, in 1971, almost half the army's enlisted men had tried them; of those who tried them, about half used enough to develop the hallmarks of addiction—Tolerance and Withdrawal symptoms (Robins et al., 1975). Marijuana use was even more common; about two-thirds of these soldiers used it. The estimates come from an independent survey of a random sample of army enlisted men eight to twelve months after their return from Vietnam, after the great majority had been discharged (Robins et al., 1975). Previous studies in Vietnam (Stanton, 1972; Roffman & Sapol, 1970; Char, 1972) or among men still in service after return (Rohrbaugh et al., 1974) were less reliable, because of difficulties in collecting a random sample, use of questionnaires rather than interviews (which can lead to careless responses or failure to answer completely), and because the surveys were being done by the army itself, while the men were still subject to possible disciplinary action.
 
#17
Thanks for contributions,not least on the realities of dope smokin' Yankees at war. Another Hollywood trope possibly.

It occurred to me that the British policy on raising opium as a cash crop in India under the Raj to sell in China was a possible forerunner.

But I don't think it was designed to undermine the Emperor,just make lots of money.

I would be interested to know whether Britain's Spice epidemic is home manufactured or largely imported.
Another dope smoking trope most definitely.

You have to remember that drug usage by US servicemen peaked in 1971.

71 was an important year, William Calley was convicted of the shocking crimes committed at Mai Lai in 1971. Troops were being withdrawn wholesale under 'Vietnamisation'. The anti-war movement reached their peak crescendo in 1971 after being oddly quiet until the inauguration of the Republican Nixon in 1969.

By the end of 1971 the troop level had dropped to 139,000 from its peak of 543,400 in 1969. Protest against the war continued nonetheless.


The Army had been severely affected in recruit quality as a result of the disastrous Project 100,000 begun in 1966. Most of all no one wanted to be the last GI to die in Vietnam.

The GI's of 1971 had a vastly different Vietnam experience to those GI's that bore the brunt of the war in 1968. A lot of chickens came home to roost in 1971.

I wouldn't put to much store in the 'British colonial oppressor' narrative as it relates to the Opium Wars either. That was economics pure and simple. Imperial Preference which applied later certainly did not apply to the Opium trade. Many Americans were engaged in the trade and some made staggering fortunes. Warren Delano, FDR's Grandad for example made a bundle and set the family up for generations.

The most seriously researched reference on the subject is the

'The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia by Alfred W. McCoy'

The whole thing is available to read on line so if you are interested in the subject just click on the link.

I have a few issues with it but is basically on the money and an interesting read.
 
#18
CH 5 had this on the other day: Platoon: The True Story - Oliver Stone reveals the real-life events that inspired his Oscar-winning film and talks about the soldiers who he fought alongside in the Vietnam War, and who he immortalised on the big screen. This documentary examines how much of Platoon was based on Stone's personal recollections of the conflict and what was Hollywood fiction. The programme also features contributions by star Willem Dafoe (Sgt Elias) and Dale Dye, the Vietnam veteran and former Marine who worked as the military adviser on the movie

Catchup linky: My5

Was very interesting and surprisingly informative as I wasn't expecting it to be. It had interviews with Oliver Stone, Dafoe along with men that had fought in Stone's unit plus others. Part of the program touched on the drugs and alcohol myths of the war.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#19
I wouldn't put to much store in the 'British colonial oppressor' narrative as it relates to the Opium Wars either. That was economics pure and simple. Imperial Preference which applied later certainly did not apply to the Opium trade. Many Americans were engaged in the trade and some made staggering fortunes. Warren Delano, FDR's Grandad for example made a bundle and set the family up for generations
Thanks CM.

I don't - the European presence in Imperial China was part and parcel of the times. We sold them opium,and bought tea. The French sold them Snider rifles,the Germans artillery and the brewery that makes Tsingtao beer. Whatever.



Autres temps,autre moeurs
 
#20
I will say they all describe a different war to the movies too - My infantry relative did multiple tours and said the Vietnamese tactics were simplistic and easily countered. It was only on return to the U.S, was there a feeling of a defeat. It didn't correspond to what he felt while deployed in 68-70.

He told me that he took thousands of pictures and had a chest full of them, but after the war a spiteful woman threw his stuff in the street and they were gone forever. He also had the chance to get a war trophy/pick up WW2 Thompson back to the U.S ( they probably picked it up from someone else), but changed his mind as it would have cost him $50!
 
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