On the same day that the Bush administration finally conceded that its search for weapons of mass destruction, the key rationale for the US invasion of Iraq, had been fruitless, US military officials in Iraq were eager to change the topic -- to Islamic fundamentalists on drugs. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Marines who fought in the November assault on the insurgent stronghold of Fallujah said they found numerous stockpiles of stimulant drugs such as amphetamines and adrenaline. Bizarrely, they also claimed to have found crack pipes, which would presumably be quite rare in a country never known for having a cocaine-using population.
US troops pronounced themselves befuddled by insurgent fighters who kept on fighting even while wounded. They must have been on drugs, the Marines concluded. "One guy described it as like watching the 'Night of the Living Dead,'" corpsman Peter Melady said. "People who should have been dead were still alive."
Knowing that their foes were dope fiends prompted the Marines to change their strategy, the Times reported. "On the second day of the fight, word came down to focus on head shots, that body shots were not good enough," said 1st Lt. Tim Strabbing, a platoon leader with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division. Strabbing said his platoon found five locations with stockpiles of needles and adrenaline. "My guys put five [machine gun] rounds into a guy who just stood there and took it and then took off running," he said.
Medical corpsman Quinton Brown also reported wounded fighters continuing to fight. "We actually shot four or five guys multiple times and they got up and moved across the room," said corpsman Quinton Brown, who had accompanied a front-line platoon to treat wounded Marines. "It reminded me of the stories you hear about people on PCP who just keep going." [Editor's Note: It also reminded the editor of those century-old tales about Southern lawmen having to pack heavier pistols because "those damned buck niggers high on cocaine were raping our white women and couldn't be stopped by a normal weapon."]
But it's not just about demonizing the foe as drug-crazed fanatics; it's also about conveniently labeling them as narco-terrorists. The discovery of stashes in Fallujah, along with similar discoveries during the Shiite uprising in Najaf last April, suggests that the rebels may be financing their insurgency through drug smuggling. "They are just as likely to be indications of drug smuggling as insurgents being doped up to provide stamina or have the courage to fight and die," a senior military official in Baghdad said.
As noted in another newsbrief this issue, US soldiers from the Iraq war who get too strung out on drugs are being treated at great expense in Scotland. No word yet on where insurgents facing similar problems are going.