In the wake of Vietnam, the US military were demoralised and prey to some fairly crazy ideas. They thought they could train ‘super soldiers’ with psychic powers. In 1979 a secret unit was established by the most gifted minds within the US Army. Defying all known accepted military practice – and indeed, the laws of physics – they believed that a soldier could adopt the cloak of invisibility, pass cleanly through walls and, perhaps most chillingly, kill goats just by staring at them. Entrusted with defending America from all known adversaries, they were the First Earth Battalion. And they really weren’t joking. What’s more, they’re back and helping to fight the War on Terror. Why are they blasting Iraqi prisoners-of-war with the theme tune to Barney the Purple Dinosaur? Why have 100 de-bleated goats been secretly placed inside the Special Forces command centre at Fort Bragg, North Carolina? In his new book, The Men Who Stare At Goats, Jon Ronson describes the connections between 1970s new age bullshit and the torture of prisoners in Iraq. Read excerpts via the Guardian  , mirrored at Religious News Blog  . See also www.jonronson.com.