July 28, 2004

THIS IS NOT AS ABSURD AS THE TWINKIE DEFENSE, but I don’t think it’ll work:

Three Fort Carson soldiers charged in the drowning of an Iraqi man last January may argue today that their actions were caused by an anti-malaria drug. . . .

The drug is being investigated to determine whether it is linked to panic reactions, rage, aggressive behavior and other mental and physical problems, said Steve Robinson of the National Gulf War Research Center. Violent behavior by other soldiers has also been blamed on the drug.

“I am not saying this is why people push people off bridges, but there seems to be a pretty plausible connection to rage issues and taking the drug,” Robinson said.

Two of the soldiers, Sgt. 1st Class Tracy E. Perkins, 33, and Sgt. Reggie Martinez, 24, are charged with involuntary manslaughter. The third, Spc. Terry Bowman, 21, is charged with assault.

The three soldiers’ superior officer, 1st Lt. Jack Saville, is also charged with involuntary manslaughter.

This is the case involving Zeyad’s cousin, which has been written about here quite a bit (links to earlier posts in that one). Lariam has, in fact, been linked to psychiatric symptoms — some quite severe — but the likelihood that several soldiers would all suffer from those simultaneously seems quite low to me.