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The Need For Speed: Going To War On Drugs
Broadcast: Monday January 26, 2004 CBC
Irish filmmaker Jamie Doran's investigation exposes how the Air Force, Navy and Special Forces have been issuing mind-altering drugs to their soldiers and airmen, almost certainly resulting in the deaths of allied forces and innocent civilians.

"A lot of times the fighter pilots say: 'speed is life, speed is life'; in this case, speed became death."
Lt. Col. Tom Heemstra: F-16 Squadron Commander

The Need for Speed: Going to War on Drugs follows the case of the two U.S. pilots, Major Harry Schmidt and Major Bill Umbach, who are under investigation for the deaths by friendly fire of four Canadian soldiers from Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry - in Afghanistan on April 18, 2002. Their defence is that they were flying under the influence of amphetamines supplied by the Air Force.

Irish filmmaker Jamie Doran's investigation exposes how the Air Force, Navy and Special Forces have been issuing mind-altering drugs to their soldiers and airmen, almost certainly resulting in the deaths of allied forces and innocent civilians. Amphetamines, and the sedatives that often accompany them, are banned by civilian authorities in the ordinary workplace, yet forced upon pilots flying multi-million dollar jets into combat and Special Forces soldiers operating behind enemy lines.

American military personnel speak for the first time, to explain how they were used as guinea pigs in wars ranging from Gulf, Bosnia, Afghanistan and right up until the recent conflict in Iraq.

We hear from a former White House 'Drugs Czar' who expresses grave concerns about the use of amphetamines in the military; from the man who, as Air Force Chief of Staff, banned the drugs as soon as he took over, only to see them re-introduced after his retirement; from one pilot who sacrificed his career in pursuit of the truth, as well as the case of a 'ground' soldier who killed innocent civilians for reasons he cannot understand to this day.

We're also told how the 'voluntary' nature of dispensing these drugs makes legal nonsense and how the Pentagon may very well be breaking its own laws, to the detriment of its serving men and women; only to discover that, in reality, the U.S. military is a law unto itself.

The Need for Speed, directed by Jamie Doran, is a co-production of Atlantic Celtic Films and Studio Hamburg Documentaries.  Video: 


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