So that's sad. But at least now that we know the long-term damaging effects of meth, the government no longer- ha ha no, kidding. It's still given to troops all the time.
In accordance with the military's zero-tolerance-except-sometimes drug policy.
Soldiers Won't Stop Taking War Trophies
As we've discussed before, soldiers have long had a tendency to take souvenirs home from their deployments -- fun things to place on the mantelpiece like swords, or bullet casings, or human skulls. Well, they're still at it, though the latest generation of soldiers has put a modern twist on this classic (and very illegal) hobby.
Sometime after the fall of Saddam Hussein, items from his palaces began turning up on eBay -- rugs and swords and other trinkets originally brought back by U.S. personnel or security contractors. This wasn't in any way legal, and we think it actually borders on a war crime, but the soldiers involved say it wasn't difficult or even really discouraged. Some were even told they could bring up to ten items home.
"It's by item, so don't waste it all on Legos or whatever."
Sure, plundering palaces post-invasion may seem a little shady, but trinkets are relatively minor on the scale of potential war trophies. For instance, some soldiers make trophies out of dead bodies. It isn't uncommon for troops to keep pictures of themselves posing alongside corpses and various severed body parts. Some soldiers have been known to create compilations of these macabre moments and pass them around on thumb drives like a baseball card album.
Imagine finding that in Grandpa's mementos.
But again, even that is kind of minor in the grand scheme of war trophies, which is a scale that runs from "taking home a bullet casing" to "making jewelry out of body parts." Like this unit of American soldiers in Afghanistan, who were convicted of killing civilians and cutting off their fingers to keep as souvenirs. In retrospect, it suddenly makes way more sense why the higher-ups were willing to turn a blind eye to a bunch of stolen swords and rugs.
That particular incident is an anomaly, to be sure, but when you're feeding people meth and burning garbage, making them pee on themselves, repossessing their homes, and encouraging them to dehumanize the enemy, you're rolling the dice on the edge of that anomaly pretty much every day.
Also check out 5 Stupid War Myths Everyone Believes (Thanks To Movies) and 6 Things Everyone Knows About War (That Are Totally Wrong).
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