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Author Kuzmarov, Jeremy, 1979-

Title The myth of the addicted army : Vietnam and the modern war on drugs / Jeremy Kuzmarov.

Imprint Amherst, [Mass.] : University of Massachusetts Press, c2009.


Location Call No. OPAC Message Status
 Axe 2nd Floor Stacks  959.70438 K969m 2009    ---  Available
Description xii, 303 p. ; 24 cm.
Series Culture, politics, and the cold war
Culture, politics, and the cold war.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (p. [247]-285) and index.
Summary This work is an analysis of the links between the Vietnam War and the evolution of American drug policy. The image of the drug addicted American soldier, disheveled, glassy eyed, his uniform adorned with slogans of antiwar dissent, has long been associated with the Vietnam War. More specifically, it has persisted as an explanation for the U.S. defeat, the symbol of a demoralized army incapable of carrying out its military mission. Yet as the author documents in this book, popular assumptions about drug use in Vietnam are based more on myth than fact. Not only was alcohol the intoxicant of choice for most GIs, but the prevalence of other drugs varied enormously. Although marijuana use among troops increased over the course of the war, for the most part it remained confined to rear areas, and the use of highly addictive drugs like heroin was never as widespread as many imagined. Like other cultural myths that emerged from the war, the concept of an addicted army was first advanced by war hawks seeking a scapegoat for the failure of U.S. policies in Vietnam, in this case one that could be linked to permissive liberal social policies and the excesses of the counterculture. But conservatives were not alone. Ironically, the author shows, elements of the antiwar movement also promoted the myth, largely because of a presumed alliance between Asian drug traffickers and the Central Intelligence Agency. While this claim was not without foundation, as new archival evidence confirms, the left exaggerated the scope of addiction for its own political purposes. Exploiting bipartisan concern over the perceived drug crisis, the Nixon administration in the early 1970s launched a bold new program of federal antidrug measures, especially in the international realm. Initially, the War on Drugs helped divert attention away from the failed quest for peace with honor in Southeast Asia. But once institutionalized, it continued to influence political discourse as well as U.S. drug policy in the decades that followed.
Contents Introduction : the politics of scapegoating -- "The press has done a tremendous disservice" : historical perspective -- Creating the myth of the "Nam junkie" : mass media and the rise of a drug scare -- Deconstructing the myth : the great national drug debate of the sixties and seventies -- "A generation of junkies" : the antiwar movement, the Democratic Party, and the myth -- The brass responds, part I : Nixon's war on drugs -- The brass responds, part II : from counterinsurgency to narco-insurgency in Southeast Asia -- "Get up you doped up bastard!" : the myth in Hollywood and popular television -- The crackdown : the Reagan revolution and the war on drugs -- The myth endures.
Subject Soldiers -- Drug use -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Soldiers -- Drug use -- Vietnam -- History -- 20th century.
Drug control -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Drug abuse -- United States -- Prevention -- History -- 20th century.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Social aspects.
ISBN 9781558497054 (pbk. : alk. paper)
1558497056 (pbk. : alk. paper)
9781558497047 (library cloth : alk. paper)
1558497048 (library cloth : alk. paper)

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