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Pilot
The Need For Speed
The Need For Speed: Going To War On Drugs
ARD/Studio Hamburg
Germany: ARD
 
When Tom Cruise uttered those famous words in the Hollywood blockbuster, ‘Top Gun’: "I feel a need, a need for speed", he would not have known that his words had already been taken literally by the U.S. Air Force, in a way he could never have imagined.

‘The need for speed’ exposes how the Pentagon has been issuing a concoction of mind-altering drugs to its soldiers and airmen, resulting in the deaths of allied forces, innocent civilians and, almost certainly, their own men.
 
Tom Heemstra
Pilot Tom Heemstra
 
Amphetamines, sedatives, anti-nerve agents, adrenaline and a whole variety of vaccines, including anthrax, make up a cocktail of chemicals 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.

In an extraordinary investigation, American military personnel speak for the first time to explain how they were used as guinea pigs in wars ranging from Panama, the Gulf, Bosnia, Afghanistan and right up until the recent conflict in Iraq. These are not dissidents, nor are they unpatriotic: they love their country and were ready to give their lives in its service. But they can no longer stand by and watch their comrades suffer as the Pentagon pushes more and more drugs onto the frontline.
 
Family
Pilot Steve Tate
 
"I guess I best remember it as almost paranoia. I had a dizziness; I wasn’t falling over dizzy, but there was a little bit of a tumbling sensation going on. I felt paranoia where I was nervous and skittish about what was around me and what was happening. I wasn’t in complete control." Steve Tait: Gulf War Hero "They made you ruthless, just utterly ruthless. I made decisions that I feel now I would not have made. I eliminated individuals that I considered to be a threat, that I would not normally have done." ‘Mike’: U.S. Special Forces

"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 Cder "Many of the times, the sad part is that they can’t tell if it was real or not. That’s the part that is really frightening." Cpt Joyce Riley: Air Force Nurse

In this documentary, filmed at locations throughout the United States and Britain, we speak with a former White House ‘Drugs Czar’ who expresses grave concerns about the use of amphetamines in the military; we interview 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; we follow the story of one pilot who sacrificed his career in pursuit of the truth; we feature the case of a ‘ground’ soldier who killed innocent civilians for reasons he cannot understand to this day.

We explain 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 establish that, in reality, the U.S. military is a law unto itself.

We discover that vital information on ‘friendly fire’ incidents, including the deaths of nine British soldiers in the Gulf War, has been withheld and we examine the true human costs of wars fought on drugs.

 
25 June 2003
 
 
Watch Film   Need For Speed
Going To War On Drugs
Trailer 00:04:55

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