Smoking in the Military


Tiny bit of perspective is needed for the Sunday Herald account of U.S troops roughing up captured Iraqis. When troops "smoke a PUC"—person under control—they are reaching back to basic training tactics still in use today:

After finishing the bayonet course, [Pvt. Craig John] Politowicz and his fellow trainees resumed discussing the "smoking" their platoon had received the previous evening when prohibited items were found in the barracks.

"Smoking" means exercising the privates to exhaustion. Sometimes drill sergeants make them do a kind of agonizingly slow push-up in which they must hold themselves alternately in the "up" and then the "down" position.

Perhaps this also violates the Geneva Convention. But there is little doubt that U.S. troops really do not know how to handle the captives they take in Iraq and no one much seems to want to fix that.