LRB Blog page 23rd December 2016

Long review of books concerned describing  the uses of drugs in modern warfare. The bit that really related to me was this extract below:-

Kamieński confines the use of alcohol in war to his prologue and wisely so, or the rest of the book would risk becoming a footnote to it. A historical sweep from the Battle of Hastings to Waterloo or ancient Greece to Vietnam suggests that war has rarely been fought sober. This is unsurprising in view of the many different functions alcohol performs. It has always been an indispensable battlefield medicine and is still pressed into service today as antiseptic, analgesic, anaesthetic and post-trauma stimulant. It has a central role in boosting morale and small-group bonding; it can facilitate the private management of stress and injury; and it makes sleep possible where noise, discomfort or stress would otherwise prevent it. After the fighting is done, it becomes an aid to relaxation and recovery.

Any young man could tell you that alcohol makes you braver, less inhibited by danger and more aggressive. The usual morning after effects bring an awareness of what you did. Countless court cases reflect this in their reportage. ” My client had a large amount to drink and this affected his ……………………. for which he is truly sorry!” The Evening News and Star are full of this piety. As a former ‘young man‘ and possibly a not even reformed un-young man, this is manifestly untrue because I did know and still know how beer works on my brain; badly.

The whole article is in this link





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