Graeme Wood


The Dry War

Modern Drunkard, April 2005. Also published in the Chicago Sun-Times, 21 August 2005.

Winston Churchill said the Royal Navy promised nothing to its enlistees but “rum, sodomy, and the lash. ”

If you could stand buggery and arbitrary flogging, you could at least look forward to a mug of hot grog at the end of the day.

In the US military, sodomy and the lash are mostly history, unless you’re stationed at Abu Ghraib. But for the thousands of US soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait, gone too is the consolation of hot rum — or cold vodka, or whatever other cocktail the 120-degree desert heat might demand. Rather than being doled out in rations as a meager thanks for their defense of country, booze is strictly verboten, and for US soldiers all over Mesopotamia a sip of liquor is a first step to a court-martial. Read the rest of this entry »

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