Cocaine is a risk factor for permanent mental impairment, and disqualification for access to nuclear weapons
The Obama campaign, as shown by material on my.barackobama.com over which the campaign’s staff exercises editorial control, sanctions the spread of rumors to the effect that John McCain has an age-related neurodegenerative disease. The Obama campaign is apparently unfamiliar with the adage about glass houses and stones. Let’s begin with the facts, as stated by Barack Obama himself.
I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though… (Barack Obama, “Dreams From My Father,” page 93, paperback edition. http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/streetterms/ByAlpha.asp?strTerm=B, “Blow” = “Cocaine; to inhale cocaine; to smoke marijuana; to inject heroin”)
While the Obama campaign sanctions supporters’ use of McCain’s age (younger than Dianne Feinstein, Robert Byrd, and Ted Kennedy by the way) to suggest that he might have a neurodegenerative disease, Obama’s admitted use of cocaine puts him at higher risk for mental impairment. It also disqualifies him from access to or control of nuclear weapons under the Armed Forces’ Nuclear Weapon Personnel Reliability Program.
Cocaine is one of the most potent, addictive, and unpredictable recreational drugs, and thus can cause the most profound and irreversible damage to the nervous system. The high risk associated with cocaine remains the same regardless of whether the drug is snorted, smoked, or injected into the user’s bloodstream. In addition to the intense damage cocaine can cause to the liver, intestines, heart, and lungs, even casual use of the drug will impair the brain and cause serious damage to the central nervous system. Although cocaine use affects many components of the body, including vision and appetite, the most significant damage cause by cocaine takes place in the brain and central nervous system.
Taking cocaine could cause irreversible brain damage, scientists from Edinburgh University have warned.
Tests on genetically modified mice showed that cocaine inhibited the brain by destroying a key protein responsible for learning and memory.
Abusing the highly addictive drug can lead to long-term memory loss and learning difficulties, say experts.
The fact that cocaine use increases the risk for permanent mental impairment does not make such impairment automatic, just as age does not make neurodegenerative diseases automatic. On the other hand, if the Obama campaign wishes to tacitly albeit not actively suggest that the country should not take a chance on McCain because of his age, we are quite prepared to argue that the country should not take a chance on a former cokehead–and the Armed Forces’ Nuclear Weapon Personnel Reliability Program agrees. While pre-service marijuana use does not automatically disqualify a service member from access to or control of nuclear weapons, pre-service cocaine use does.
(2) Drug Abuse
(a) See definition 15. in enclosure 2. It is not the intent of this
Directive to automatically render ineligible for the PRP any individual
who, before the effective date of this Directive, has disclosed
pre-Service drug abuse, or who has not yet been asked to make such
disclosure, and who is currently certified for PRP duties after having been
formally screened in accordance with then-existing guidance. Further
recertification of such individuals for future PRP status shall be in
accordance with this Directive, except that previously disclosed and
considered drug abuse and pre-Service drug use not required previously
to be disclosed, shall not be sole grounds for denial of
recertification or for mandatory decertification.
(b) Except for the category of individuals identified in
subparagraph B.2.a.(2)(a), above, or otherwise provided in this
Directive, any pre-Service use, admitted or otherwise discovered, of illicit drugs such as heroin, heroin derivatives, cocaine, “crack,” phencyclidine (PCP), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), ecstasy,” or other “designer” drugs, amphetamines, barbiturates, or other narcotic drugs not prescribed by proper medical authorities, and anabolic steroids shall
render an individual ineligible for admission to or retention in PRP
duties. The individual shall not be certified into the program or shall
be permanently decertified, and those actions shall be made a matter of
The reference adds that prior marijuana use (to which Bill Clinton as well as Barack Obama admitted) is not an automatic disqualifier. The bottom line is, however, that prior
history of cocaine use disqualifies a member of the Armed Forces from
touching a nuclear launch key, or indeed any access to weapons of mass
destruction. The idea of giving someone with that kind of
history the authority to order the use of such weapons, or even access
to the codes for launching such weapons, should therefore appall all
Americans. This document from the Secretary of the Navy adds,
b. Drug Abuse. Drug abuse is a violation of the law. It
demonstrates a behavior pattern or action which is reasonably
indicative of a contemptuous attitude toward the law or other
duly-constituted authority. Any conduct which falls within the
definition of drug abuse may be grounds for disqualification or
(1) Any personnel determined to have pre-service or inservice abuse
of any drug will be disqualified prior to initial assignment to a PRP
billet or, if currently assigned, will be permanently decertified except:
(a) pre-service or in-service cannabis use which was acceptably
screened under previous PRP guidance will not be the sole basis for
disqualification or decertification,
Again, PRP refers to the (Nuclear Weapon) Personnel Reliability Program, and pre-service marijuana use is not an automatic disqualifier. Any history of cocaine use, however, does permanently disqualify an individual from access to or control of nuclear weapons, because the Armed Forces cannot afford to take the slightest chance on a person with impaired judgment having access to weapons that can kill millions of people.