I am not a soldier, just a former athlete, but I’m going to contribute to this thread because i) I work with soldiers on just this issue, ii) it’s fascinating enough and iii) frankly, it gets to the heart of a lot of cultural hypocrisy surrounding ‘doping.’
My first comment is the general misunderstanding that most people have in thinking that testosterone-derivatives (anabolic-androgenic steroids) are just for bodybuilders. Yes, they CAN build huge muscles if you eat like a hoss and devote every waking second to PBs in the gym. But testosterone is a “multi-potent” substance that - at sane dosages - does a host of other things, many of which would directly contribute to military performance - from mood elevation during multiple deployments, to enhancing certain aspects of cognition under stress, to preventing the catabolism we regularly see during deployments, to increasing alertness and motivation.
If you think of the number one thing killing our men in OIF, it’s IEDs, which is a function of largely paying close attention to your surroundings - a damned tough thing to do after you’ve eaten the Meal Rejected by Ethiopians, which will play havoc with your blood sugar and hormonal integrity. TDs can counter those and sane dosing for 6 months won’t mean the entire 3rd MEF goes down with prostate cancer. Think of TDs as enhancing more things about performance of military folks than muscular hypertrophy - although we sure would like our adversaries to think that’s all they do.
Okay - already too long. Last comment for now - the American notion that competition is a game and it should be “fair.” The Eagles lose the Super Bowl, they go home to their Escalades and bikini and thong Fluff - in that case, I can sort of understand that people get upset that someone, having agreed not to use TDs, ends up doing so.
However, if the Lance Corporal or Staff Sergeant loses, then IF (s)he even goes home, it’s without legs or eyes and probably means sitting upright in Walter Reed for two months with IVs and a couple of yellow ribbons to console them. If TDs could help prevent this - and I’m not saying for certain they can, but at least we should look at the possibility - then we should get our heads out of our asses and stop thinking that soldiers should be on a level playing field.
You think that mattered to the insurgents in Fallujah who shot up amphetamines and adrenaline, forcing Marines to make headshots to drop them? FYI, a headshot in urban ops is a pretty tough ask at the best of times - wonder if there’s a substance that might improve spatial judgment and aim in guys whose testosterone levels have been suppressed due to bad food and chronic stress?
Oh, wait. Journal of Andrology, Vol. 24, No. 4, July/August 2003
Cognitive Changes Associated With Supplementation of Testosterone or Dihydrotestosterone in Mildly Hypogonadal Men: A Preliminary Report
MONIQUE M. CHERRIER, SUZANNE CRAFT, AND ALVIN H. MATSUMOTO
We’re not giving this to guys because?..