XO 13139: unproven drugs used on soldiers?

Executive Order 13139 was signed by the President on September 30th of this year. The full text can be found at http://www.pub.whitehouse.gov/uri-res/I2R?urn:pdi://oma.eop.gov.us/1999/10/1/8.text.2 .

It looks like this X.O. allows untested drugs to be used on military personnel, and even allows the Executive to waive said personnel’s right to informed consent. The President could theoretically inject soldiers with the Ebola virus and not tell them about it. Is this Executive Order really as bad as this?

Quick-N-Dirty Aviation: Trading altitude for airspeed since 1992.

I was reading this and at first I thought “Okay, they have to get informed consent.” Then I looked at the rule for waiving the informed consent, and the three rules for determining to waive it are if obtaining consent:
(1) is not feasible;
(2) is contrary to the best interests of the member; or
(3) is not in the interests of national security.

The rules basically say that if you don’t give consent then, in theory, they could give it to you anyway.

All in all, it looks like it’s a bad time to be a soldier.

Yeah, I’ve heard of this and it has some very scary implications. I’ve heard that top-notch career military service members are leaving the military in droves.

Here’s a link to an interview with former Air Force Captain Joyce Riley in which she talks about the Gulf War Syndrome, the anthrax vaccine, and what she terms a “mass mutiny” going on right now in the military:

Click on the November 3rd program to listen. It gets REAL interesting around the 20 minute mark…

Oh yeah, almost forgot… Here’s a link to Captain Joyce Riley’s website and an interesting page of related information:

This probably goes on my list of “The Dumbest Fucking Things I’ve Ever Heard of Anyone Doing. Ever.”

A nation pokes itself in the eye with this one folks! Let’s give the government a hand!

This law sounds very wide-ranging, and, as written, has tremendous potential for abuse.

But, what is really being authorized is the use of Pyridostigmine (PB) tablets to protect against nerve gas exposure.

Yes, this is the same drug cited as a potential cause of some symptoms experienced by some soldiers after the Persian Gulf War. No one with any credibility, however, believes that it is THE cause of the whole spectrum of PGWS affecting “millions”.

A couple of reality checks.

  1. PB is FDA-approved. It is used to diagnose and treat a condition called myasthenia gravis, which causes some of the same effects as nerve gas.
  2. Nerve gas kills. In training, we are expected to be able to don our face masks & establish a seal within 8 seconds. If everyone exposed did that correctly, there would be a 1 to 10% fatality rate depending on the concentration of nerve gas employed. The nation was stunned by the number of lives lost in a single SCUD missile attack. That number would have been much higher if the missile were armed with CS.
  3. PB does protect against nerve gas. It buys time, and perhaps makes that involuntary gasp of surprise surviveable. PB is not FDA-approved for protecting against nerve gas. That would require HUMAN studies demonstrating significant fewer deaths or disabling symptoms in PB-treated vs non-PB-treated HUMANS. Any volunteers out there? ::scanning fruitlessly:: I guess the FDA won’t be approving PB for the prevention of nerve gas symptoms/death anytime soon.

So we have a drug that works in animals (and maybe has been shown to work in humans in Russian Army camps where soldiers did train with live nerve gas, and deaths did occur, but don’t cite me) but won’t ever get FDA-approval. It could save lots of lives, but only if taken by large numbers of people at risk to prevent serious harm to (one hopes) a small number of people exposed. And some of those taking the drug just might get chronically ill from it. This is a real tough call, guys. I’m personally glad that I don’t have to make it.

I am disturbed by the broadness of the EO as written, and recognize potential abuses by leaders too anxious to prevent casualties & bad press and the loss of homefront support that would result. In another 12 years, very few service members, even the “brass” will have any personal recall of the Gulf War, and the “lessons learned” will be from a manual, not from a book. This sounds like a recipe for trouble.

This is the personal opinion of the poster, and is not the official policy of DoD.

Sue from El Paso


::Note to self: Stop posting so late::

A few corrections:

  1. CS is tear gas. I meant Soman and/or Sarin, volatile nerve gas agents.

  2. the “lessons learned” will be from a manual, not from a book should, of course, have read not from life.

  • Sue

Regarding Gulf War Syndrome (GWS):

There is considerable evidence that GWS isn’t a “real” organic condition; that is, GWS may be entirely psychosomatic, a kind of “mass hysteria.” See, for example, http://www.acsh.org/publications/priorities/0703/gulfwar.html .

Even if this is so, though, I don’t feel that it should be taken as an excuse for the Commander In Chief to issue such an easy-to-abuse executive order.

Quick-N-Dirty Aviation: Trading altitude for airspeed since 1992.

Does nerve gas have to be inhaled?

This may be a dumb question, but I’d been led to believe that it had an effect simply through exposure. Thinking on it though, that seems like it would be a miracle weapon (hey, check it out, something that kills automatically on contact and spontaneously diffuses entirely throughout an area!)

I’ve likewise heard that “nerve gas” agents are supposed to be insinuative; that is, absorbed directly through the skin without needing to be inhaled.

Although I’d imagine that you could last a lot longer being exposed to nerve gas if you weren’t also breathing it. Lung alveoli [sp?] absorb stuff really fast.

There are different kinds of nerve agents.

Sarin & Soman are “volatile” agents aka nerve gas. They are usually dispersed as a liquid, which quickly vaporizes, and diffuses through the air. They kill very quickly, and in trace quantities, when inhaled. If any liquid comes in contact with your skin, very small amounts get absorbed, but the liquid gives off vapors in relatively high concentrations. So if you enter a “safe” area with no penetration of the nerve gas, with liquid on your skin or outer protective gear, you can still inhale the nerve gas & become ill or die.

There are also viscous nerve agents. These are sometimes combined with DMSO, or some other chemical, to help the agent penetrate the skin, and are can be lethal through the skin. These agents, if ever used, are extremely long-lasting, and would cause the area in which they were deployed to be uninhabitable for centuries.

Sue from El Paso

Here is a link to an Army Times article on the EO:

For info on PB tablets & GWS, on AOL (no url available, can’t copy due to copyright restrictions), go to:

Latest News (blue button, lower left)
Army Times
Top News stories
Drug may be linked (about 2/3rds way down)

Or e-mail me & I’ll send you copy.

Sue from El Paso

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

Majormd wrote:


Say … that article mentions a “Dr. Sue Bailey”. Is that the same Dr. Sue as you, Dr. Sue?

Also, according to that article, before EO 13139 it was possible for the DoD without the President’s approval to obtain informed-consent waivers from the FDA. It sounds like EO 13139 makes it HARDER to get informed consent waivers for untested drugs, not easier.

I think I can sleep easier now.

And “thank” you, UBB, for trying to second-guess my intentions with that last /QUOTE directive. Grumble grumble.

No, Dr. Sue Bailey is a civilian assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs. She is not I.

In the past, there was no codified procedure for DoD to get FDA approval to use a drug for a non-FDA approved way. DoD kinda invented that wheel during the Gulf War. The EO establishes that whell as a formal procedure, adding Presential approval as an additional requirement. [sarcasm]Gee, I feel so much safer now!![/sarcasm]

Sue from El Paso

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.