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Ah, for crying out loud. Had to be some mistake. Back in the good old days, when men were men and a dollar was a dollar, sure. But now? Then it occurred to me. Obviously there’d been a mixup. The international currency exchange confused loonie with toonie.

«Did not.»

Did so.

«Did not.»

Did _

«No, this time you listen. You’ve never let me get my two cents in. I really did make it to par. Doesn’t matter, though, because I’ve quit giving a damn whether you care or not. Why should I?cheap nfl jerseys You’ve never shown any confidence in me.»

Confidence in the Canadian dollar? Good one! A real laugher, big thigh slapper, yuks all around.

«Shut up. It’s always been about you. When was the last time you paid any interest in me?»

Interest? Oh, let’s see now. Mortgage, car payments, credit card balances.

I’ve tried. Goodness knows I’ve tried. Read all the books about raising a dollar, I did. Take care of your money, the experts said. So I did, and what happened? Bada bing, bada boom _ that dollar’s gone. Put your dollars to work for you, they advised. Same deal exactly, never to be seen again. They’re all the same. You can’t change a dollar. Well, OK, you can, but what I meant was, as far as two way loyalty goes _

«Just so you know, a lot of folks think I’m going even higher.»

I asked the dollar if it was high now.

Yeah. That and forty five cents will buy me a cup of coffee, and I told the worthless little dollar as much.

Worthless. It was a word that cut deep, for a piece of legal tender, a mean word that I immediately regretted. Both the dollar and I fell silent. Where, oh, where, had it all gone so very wrong between us?.

Military looks to drugs for battle readiness

When Navy fighter pilot «Maverick» and his sidekick «Goose» declare «I feel the need the need for speed!» in the box office hit «Top Gun,» they’re speaking about the capabilities of their fast and furious F 14 Tomcat.

In the air war over Afghanistan, «the need for speed» may have taken on quite a different meaning.

«Speed» is the well known nickname for amphetamines, the controversial and potentially harmful drug some American pilots are taking in order to enhance their performance. Despite the possibility of addiction and potential side effects that include hypertension and depression, such drugs are needed, military officials believe, in order to stay alert and focused especially on long range bombing missions. Such flights can mean nine hours or more alone in expensive, high performance aircraft.

Amphetamines follow a pattern that goes back at least 40 years to the early days of the Vietnam War further back if one counts strong military coffee as a stimulant. But they’re also part of a new trend that foresees «performance enhancements» designed to produce «iron bodied and iron willed personnel,» as outlined in one document of the US Special Operations Command, which oversees the elite special operations troops that are part of all the military services.

Indeed, the ability to keep fighting for days at a time without normal periods of rest, to perform in ways that may seem almost superhuman (at least well beyond the level of most people in today’s armed services), is seen by military officials as the key to success in future conflicts.

«The capability to resist the mental and physiological effects of sleep deprivation will fundamentally change current military concepts of ‘operational tempo’ and contemporary orders of battle for the military services,» states a document from the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). military employments.»

A ‘radical approach’

What’s called for, according to DARPA, is a «radical approach» to achieve «continuous assisted performance» for up to seven days. This would actually involve much more than the «linear, incremental and . limited» approaches of stimulants like caffeine and amphetamines.

«Futurists say that if anything’s going to happen in the way of leaps in technology, it’ll be in the field of medicine,» says retired Rear Adm. Stephen Baker, the Navy’s former chief of operational testing and evaluation, who is now at the Center for Defense Information in Washington. «This ‘better warrior through chemistry’ field is being looked at very closely,» says Admiral Baker, whose career includes more than 1,000 aircraft carrier landings as a naval aviator. «It’s part of the research going on that is very aggressive and wide open.»

In a memo outlining technology objectives, the US Special Operations Command notes that the special forces «operator» of the future can expect to rely on «ergogenic substances» (such as drugs used by some athletes) «to manage environmental and mentally induced stress and to enhance the strength and aerobic endurance of the operator.»

The memo continues: «Other physiological enhancements might include ways to overcome sleep deprivation, ways to adjust the circadian rhythms to reduce jet lag, as well as ways to significantly reduce high altitude/under water acclimatization time by the use of blood doping or other methods.»

Although the Air Force Surgeon General’s office recently acknowledged that «prescribed drugs are sometimes made available to counter the effects of fatigue,» it is not publicly known how widespread the practice is or whether special operations forces on the ground in Afghanistan are taking such drugs.

But it is certainly widely talked about among combat veterans and military experts.

During the Gulf War, according to one military study, «pilots quickly learned the characteristics of the stimulant [Dexedrine] and used it efficiently.» Pilots were issued the pills and took them if and when they felt the need.

Some people have defended that practice. «If you can’t trust them with the medication, then you can’t trust them with a $50 million airplane to try and kill someone,» says one squadron commander whose unit had the fewest pilots but flew more hours and shot down more Iraqi MIGs than any other squadron.

But military officials, as well as medical experts, warn that the use of amphetamines can clearly have its bad side.

The flight surgeon’s guide to «Performance Maintenance During Continuous Flight Operations» (written by the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory in Pensacola, Fla.) mentions such possible side effects as euphoria, depression, hypertension, and addiction. There’s also the possibility of «idiosyncratic reactions» (amphetamines can be associated with feelings of aggression and paranoia) as well as getting hooked on the «cyclic use of a stimulant/sedative combination.»

«The risk of drug accumulation from repetitive dosing warrants serious consideration,» the guide notes. The «informed consent» form that military pilots must sign notes that «the US Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of Dexedrine to manage fatigue.»

Amnesia on the job?

It’s not just the «go pills» that can cause problems in certain individuals. «No go pills,» used to induce sleep, can have dangerous side effects as well including the possibility of what’s called «anterograde amnesia . amnesia of events during the time the medication has an effect.»

«For the military aviator, this raises the possibility of taking the medication, going to a brief, taking off, and then not remembering what he was told to do,» according to the lab’s report.

But researchers say suchsymptoms «are primarily dose related and are not expected with 5 10 mgs of dextro amphetamine (Dexedrine)» the amounts given to pilots in the Gulf War and in Afghanistan.

For the most part, the issue of prescribed drug use by US pilots has gone unreported in the United States. But in England and Canada, it has been raised recently especially in a possible connection with errant bombings.

In April, four Canadian soldiers were killed and another eight injured when an American F 16 pilot on a long range mission, thinking he was under attack, dropped a 500 pound laser guided bomb on an allied military exercise.