This hardly serves the common good.

Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts suffering from mental distress, such as disorders like Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, are being used by our government for tests on pharmaceutical drugs which have been linked with violent and suicidal side effects.  ABC and the Washington Times have the undercover story.

In one of the human experiments, involving the anti-smoking drug Chantix, Veterans Administration doctors waited more than three months before warning veterans about the possible serious side effects, including suicide and neuropsychiatric behavior.

“Lab rat, guinea pig, disposable hero,” said former US Army sniper James Elliott in describing how he felt he was betrayed by the Veterans Administration.

Elliott, 38, of suburban Washington, D.C., was recruited, at $30 a month, for the Chantix anti-smoking study three years after being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He served a 15-month tour of duty in Iraq from 2003-2004.

Months after he began taking the drug, Elliott suffered a mental breakdown, experiencing a relapse of Iraq combat nightmares he blames on Chantix.

“They never told me that I was going to be suicidal, that I would cease sleeping. They never told me anything except this will help me quit smoking,” Elliott told ABC News and The Washington Times.

On the night of February 5th, after consuming a few beers, Elliott says he “snapped” and left his home with a loaded gun.

His fiancee, Tammy, called police and warned, “He’s extremely unstable. He has PTSD.”

“Do you think that he is going to shoot or attack the police?” the 911 dispatcher asked.

“I can’t be certain. I don’t know,” she said. (click here to hear part of Tammy’s 911 call)

“He was operating as if he was back in theater, in combat theater,” she told ABC News. “And of course, a soldier goes nowhere without a gun.”

When police arrived, they found Elliott in the street, with the gun in the front pocket of his hooded sweatshirt.

Stop and think about this for a minute — since we entered Iraq, how many different ways have we lost our credibility and integrity in the world’s eyes?  Let’s see — the invasion itself, after doing away with any effort to plan for the victory; the fact we even went into Iraq and let the Taliban re-form; the torturing that went on; and now, the horrible treatment our veterans receive after sacrificing themselves for a mission that was supposed to have been over in 2003.  I’m sure there are more that I’ve missed.

I can’t wait for January 20, 2009 (unless it’s John McCain).