Ditch the Antidepressants and Pass me a Beer!

Virginia senator and Man-about-Oktoberfest Jim “Women Can’t Fight” Webb http://webb.senate.gov/ has proposed what has been on the minds of bar flies for years: “Ditch the antidepressants and pass me a cold one.

The suggestion is typical of the 1968 Naval Academy graduate, who is lauded by some for his performance as a Marine in the all-but-forgotten tussle in Vietnam.

We are not anti alcohol, but we are anti Webb. It was during hearings before the Senate Armed services’ personnel subcommittee, which Webb now heads, that he learned servicemembers in theater are medicated with antidepressants and other drugs for mental maladies.

Webb agreed with leaders that the force is under stress and gave his solution: get rid of the meds, lift the drinking ban in theater and let them drink to relieve stress.

We agree with Webb. The drinking ban is ridiculous. But replacing prescription medication with alcohol (as a means of self-medication as Webb appears to suggest) is a bad idea. This is the man who railed against the presence of women at his precious academy and quit as Navy secretary after 10 months because he did not get the funding he wanted. Are defense drinking guidelines his latest cause? He may have the force of 2010 confused with that of the late ‘60s when, if the lore and B movies are accurate, self-medication was the rule.

We also agree with Webb’s concerns about meds at the front. There was a time when those suffering from mental health concerns would be sent packing, and it has been reported many still are. But it seems you may have individuals who may or may not take their medication sporting the latest firepower. While this probably is not a good idea, liquoring them up like the supporting cast in a John Wayne flick (or Webb novel) may not be the way to go either. What Webb may have been getting at (and we hate to agree with him again) is command climate. Life in a war zone isn’t the greatest, so why not give those who serve some normalcy. Webb sees that in an occasional brewski. Our guess is this crowd self-medicates at home, so why break the routine?

Here’s to you senator, and to the Men of Genius like you. Deceased Pennsylvania congressman John “Blurtha” Murtha would be proud.

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