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The Men Who Stare At Goats
November 26, 2007 12:31 AM   Subscribe

Crazy Rulers of the World: The Men Who Stare at Goats - A rather clear look at attempts to use the paranormal in the US military. (Part 2: Funny Torture, Part 3: Psychic Foot Soldiers)
posted by loquacious (38 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
Strange film. But the CIA did things like remote viewing experiments, so, well, wtf?
posted by ryoshu at 12:40 AM on November 26, 2007


Goats are the key.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 12:42 AM on November 26, 2007


Neat. I read Ronson's book of the same name a few years back and loved it. I heard about the documentary version at one time but completely forgot about it - probably due to some sort of psy-ops conducted on my head for god know what reason.

Thanks for the find.
posted by item at 12:49 AM on November 26, 2007


Loving it, loq.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:04 AM on November 26, 2007


1st Earth Battalion Manual
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:20 AM on November 26, 2007


Okay, third in a row, but I just placed where I know this narrator from. He's the one who was pushed into the lake by his friends. (on TAL)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:53 AM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ah, so it made the Blue. Strange I didn't think about posting it here, we watched most of this a couple of weeks ago, it's a very nice doc.
posted by JHarris at 2:21 AM on November 26, 2007


Not a good film this one. Too much about Ronson, and Ronson's attitude toward his subjects, which is usually oh, how weeeeird! It doesn't come across half as intriguing as he thinks. Light entertainment, basically.
posted by dydecker at 2:29 AM on November 26, 2007


This one guy? He's so powerful? He like, kicked a hamster's ass. Just, creamed him. Like, WHOA.

It's funny the mix of crack-pot to not-crack-pot. The guy training at Pendelton? Not crack-pot. The guy who kicks hamster butt? Kicks hamster butt. The guy who wrote the Earth army manual? Seems like a Kurz (both the Conrad and Brando variety) at the out-set, but clearly is much, much scarier. And interesting.

If they had excised the whackos, it's actually kind of interesting. I mean, as a history of the American Armed Forces absorbing and adapting (and not adapting) to the lessons of the Vietnamese war.

But man, it's long.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:13 AM on November 26, 2007


They do use goats at Bragg, but they don't stare at them.

You don't want to know what they use them for.
posted by konolia at 3:55 AM on November 26, 2007


Are you serious, konolia? That's the sort of behavior I'd expect from the Navy, not the Army.

/pirate
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:10 AM on November 26, 2007


:40
posted by greenskpr at 4:29 AM on November 26, 2007


I believe Konolia is implying (but please correct me if I'm wrong) that the Army uses animals such as goats and dogs for weapons testing. Bullet effectiveness, exit and entry comparisons, etc.

First heard about it when I was at Fort Benning, O many years gone. Hoped it was a) not true, or b) not true anymore.
posted by Haruspex at 4:33 AM on November 26, 2007


MetaFilter: The Men Who Stare At Goatse
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 5:23 AM on November 26, 2007 [7 favorites]


Previous hilarity on the First Earth Battalion.
posted by longbaugh at 5:47 AM on November 26, 2007


Special Forces medics originally used dogs to learn how to deal with bullet wound trauma and so forth. They changed to using goats under the theory that nobody likes goats.

If I recall correctly they now send them to Detroit*.


*actually partly true - some Army medics were sent to hospital trauma centres prior to the First Gulf War to get used to dealing with bullet wounds.
posted by longbaugh at 5:51 AM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


When I was a Navy medic (first Gulf War) I was told that I would have to go through 'Goat Lab' if I wanted to be attached to a Marine recon unit, if I went out for SEALs, or if I was to be attached to any other elite combat unit. I was more interested in SAR or EMT work, however, so I never had to see the goats.

It was described to me how a goat would be shot through the gut and your job would be to try your best to save it's life. Petty Officer Fitzgerald, a long-time Marine recon corpsman, told me, "The goat always dies. You just try to do the best you can." It sounded awful to me, but I could understand its educational benefit to the fledgeling medic. Still, I'm glad I never had to see it first-hand.

For further educational benefit, pigs and goats were restrainded and shot through the legs while being recorded with high-speed cameras. This was done to study the effects of cavitation on exit wounds. Those films were very hard to watch. Again, I can understand the benefit, it's just a horrible thing to see (and hear).
posted by Pecinpah at 6:29 AM on November 26, 2007 [4 favorites]


For further educational benefit, pigs and goats were restrainded and shot through the legs while being recorded with high-speed cameras. This was done to study the effects of cavitation on exit wounds.

Any reason they didn't just humanely kill them immediately beforehand?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:03 AM on November 26, 2007


The line company medics in my battalion had to go through the goat trauma training. Didn't sound fun.

The US military also tested VX on goats. (Don't click that link if you like goats.)

The Ronson book is pretty good. Looking forward to watching the documentary. Thanks, loquacious.
posted by cog_nate at 7:11 AM on November 26, 2007


Any reason they didn't just humanely kill them immediately beforehand?

My guess is that they had two reasons. 1) The military mindset doesn't really work like that, and 2) they wanted to see what effect this had on a living organism (bleed-out times, damage to tissues due to struggling, impact-to-reaction times, things like that). There is footage of a bullet being shot through a cube of clear gelatin as well (you can see the waves of pressure and cavitation very clearly moving through the gelatin), but that wouldn't be as useful to the military as the live tests.

I'm pretty happy to not be in the military anymore.
posted by Pecinpah at 7:39 AM on November 26, 2007 [2 favorites]


You'll have to check with her on the rules (since this in three parts) BUT I think you may have just won a dollar.
posted by pokermonk at 8:07 AM on November 26, 2007


He's the one who was pushed into the lake by his friends.
That's not how I remember it!

Thanks loquacious, this looks good.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:12 AM on November 26, 2007


This isn't the first full length documentary on MeFi, I know this for a fact. Because I've also linked to the ARPAnet doc and the Tetris one as well.

Gimme 3 dollar!
posted by loquacious at 10:36 AM on November 26, 2007


Here you go.
posted by cog_nate at 10:50 AM on November 26, 2007 [3 favorites]


Some years back I met a guy from the NSA who had some experience either with the FEB or Project Star Gate, not sure which. Among other things he thought he could travel through time. He wanted me & my girlfriend at the time to join his side in some NSA-CIA internecine conflict & hack the CIA for him. Seriously, it was like something out of Alias. Ever since then I've been convinced that the entire intelligence community is infested with absolute wack-jobs & should be pretty much scrapped & dismantled.
posted by scalefree at 11:01 AM on November 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


I bet these guys could find WMDs on demand though, unlike the useless pre-Iraq invasion intelligence guys.
posted by Artw at 11:35 AM on November 26, 2007


Here you go.

!!!

Can I please have a hardcopy of that? I need to buy some, er, bug powder.
posted by loquacious at 11:40 AM on November 26, 2007


Man, I’d like to stare at a goat. That’d be sweet.

I wonder if there’s some quantifiable relationship is between authority and stupid useless tasks? There are folks who (I’ve met ‘em, I suspect most of you have) will do just about anything for money as long as it’s low energy and doesn’t require thinking. Someone was telling me how easy their job was sitting at a desk all day, getting the occasional file, getting paid for basically doing nothing and they thought it was great (it’d drive me nuts). So obviously there’s some willingness (Stare at a goat all day? Yes sir!) but I’m curious if there is - and I’ve got the milgram experiment in mind (and, yes, perhaps all the Burroughs references are coloring my perspective here) - some relationship where it’s appeasing to authority to get someone to do something entirely stupid and/or arbitrary (as opposed to, in those experiments, banally evil).
posted by Smedleyman at 11:53 AM on November 26, 2007


Man, I’d like to stare at a goat. That’d be sweet.

I have a sneaking suspicion that they made underhanded use of myatonic fainting goats to fake the whole heart attack thing. Maybe not always, but at some point they needed to keep funding up & they brought in a ringer to impress the brass.
posted by scalefree at 1:52 PM on November 26, 2007


What's this stuff about shooting goats? I've watched the first two parts of the documentary, and I don't remember anything about shooting them. It's quite definitely goat staring they're talking about.
posted by JHarris at 4:45 PM on November 26, 2007


I don't think they mentioned it in the documentary but Goat Lab is a dual-purpose facility. Its original function was to provide wounded bodies for practice in battlefield wound repair. Shoot a goat then have the trainee (try to) fix it up. The goat starers co-opted the place to practice their wackiness.
posted by scalefree at 5:09 PM on November 26, 2007


Shit, I never realized Discordians got that far into the military. This stuff has Operation Mindfuck written all over it.

Wait, they're serious serious, like not just fucking with people and working at being serious?

This stuff makes Haliburton look reasonable.
posted by Hactar at 5:21 PM on November 26, 2007


Smedleyman -- like firewatch?
posted by pax digita at 7:17 PM on November 26, 2007


Needs more Louis Theroux.
posted by tighttrousers at 8:38 PM on November 26, 2007


Because I've also linked to the ARPAnet doc and the Tetris one as well.

ARPAnet was 30 minutes? And Tetris is dead but I think was only an hour long.

There have been a bunch that have hit the hour-forty-five mark, but I haven't seen one hit 2 hours until now. Not that it's my dollar, anyway.
posted by pokermonk at 11:24 PM on November 26, 2007


Yeah, some firewatches. Some stuff you have to do so people don't mill around and get into trouble. But actively spending money, time, talent - on some programs, I just don't get.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:09 AM on November 27, 2007


It's worth remembering the name "Stubblebine" - he's one of the nuttier elements in the documentary. It's worth remembering that name because he gets cited by the "911 Truthers" as lending credibility to their cause.
posted by WPW at 6:22 AM on November 27, 2007


Stubblebine ran Star Gate & married a psychiatrist/UFO abductee.
posted by scalefree at 8:09 AM on November 27, 2007


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