These days, Governments of Western countries around the world like to promote transparency and openness; however this was not always the case. This story first appeared on CNN last Thursday, please take your time and have a click through the videos on CNN. This story dates back to the Cold War and is an example of how anything is possible during war time.
From 1955-1975, the United States Government performed human experiments on their own soldiers as part of the Edgewater Arsenal Experiments. This time period was the height of the Cold War with wars being fought in Korea and Vietnam. A special interest of the United States government at the time was brainwashing techniques. In Hollywood movies, we see brainwashing and mind control as a science fiction movie and just take it as entertainment, but these events did happen.
The Government attracted young soldiers to Edgewood by saying that they would have three day vacation leaves and their only responsibilities were testing gas masks, army field jackets and clothing. There was no disclosure about any sort of drug testing. After signing a disclosure, the soldiers were experimented on daily testing various hallucinogens, drugs, nerve gases and chemicals. The soldiers never knew what they were being tested with and the drugs were just known as “Agent 1 or Agent 2”. Many of the soldiers now have health problems such as Parkinson’s and various types of cancer due to their exposure to the chemicals the military experimented on them.
Surviving participants are now suing The Department of Defence and The Department of Veteran Affairs in order to receive compensation for their medical bills that they have been paying out of pocket. One veteran stated he was paying $2000 out of pocket for Parkinson’s medication every month.
Personally, I admit I was horrified after reading this article on CNN. These men would have laid their lives down serving this country and to have their own country turn their backs on them is saddening. I just hope these men find justice and at least get their medical expense covered which is the minimum compensation they deserve.
The more I research this topic and the history of illegal human experimentation in the United States and around the world, the more I start to question humanity. I would like to say that if I were in the Experimenter’s shoes I would simply not participate in harming experimenting on the human subjects. Recalling the infamous Milgram Stanford Experiments, from a psychological point of view when we are forced into a role, we will fulfill it even if it is against our human nature. Due to society’s expectation of obeidience even innocent people can be forced to do horrible things, just like how not all Nazi’s were originally bad people but were just “following orders”. Thus, before we judge, we must remember that put in the same situation a lot of us would have OBEYED and experimented on the soldiers.
Ending the post on a brighter note, I do hope that this kind of event never happens again in our modern world. One way we can all ensure that this does not happen again is more public awareness and we should encourage governments around the world to become more transparent. With that in mind, I hope you all found this eye opening and share this with all your friends so that more people are aware of the atrocities these men have been put through.