Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lawsuit: Private mercenaries, police trainers in Iraq abuse steroids

If steroid abuse is a problem among police officers, who is surprised to hear allegations that up to 1/4 of private mercenaries employed by the Blackwater Corporation in Iraq may use illegal steroids or other "judgment altering substances"? Those charges arose in a lawsuit filed against the mercenary firm in Washington, which claims that the firm tolerated "widespread steroid abuse" among its designated "shooters" in Iraq.

Blackwater denies the allegations, but plaintiffs' attorneys say company employees have confirmed the company's knowledge of employee steroid use in depositions under oath. See the news story from CNN.

I'll bet this isn't just a problem at Blackwater. One of Blackwater's principal competitors, Dyncorp, operates US anti-drug operations in Afghanistan and South America and is the most likely beneficiary of President Bush's proposal to send private mercenary firms to train Mexican police. One wonders if Dyncorp employees faces similar problems with illegal steroid use?

Do we really want to send a bunch of juiced up mercenaries to Mexico only to suffer some 'roid-rage induced public relations fiasco?

More and more I think it's absolutely absurd that Texas plans to steroid test high school athletes but doesn't require testing for police officers, which I've argued previously "leaves officers open to coercion, blackmail, or at a minimum wrongly divided loyalties." The exact same argument can be made for steroid-using mercenaries if the US decides to send them to Mexico. But at least that offensive lineman in high school won't get an unfair advantage in a football game. Talk about misplaced priorities!


JT Barrie said...

The statement "judgment impairing qualities" is absurd! It's as bad as the "mind altering qualities" attributed to some banned drugs. I would never get violent due to "steroid rage". But then again I'm not a violence oriented security or law enforcement guy either. When your job involves violence whether it's as a football player or security personnel steroid use will "improve" your capacity to do this violence that you are already inclined to do. It will also affect your mind to impair thinking skills that might - but might not - induce you to commit acts of violence. Blaming the steroids is just a cheap way to escape personal responsibility. It's closely akin to "the devil made me do it".

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