Can't wait till they get home:
Julian Borger in Washington
Monday June 5, 2006
The marine unit involved in the killing of Iraqi civilians in Haditha last November had suffered a "total breakdown" in discipline and had drug and alcohol problems, according to the wife of one of the battalion's staff sergeants.
The allegations in Newsweek magazine contribute to an ever more disturbing portrait of embattled marines under high stress, some on their third tour of duty after ferocious door-to-door fighting in the Sunni insurgent strongholds of Falluja and Haditha.
The wife of the unnamed staff sergeant claimed there had been a "total breakdown" in the unit's discipline after it was pulled out of Falluja in early 2005.
"There were problems in Kilo company with drugs, alcohol, hazing [violent initiation games], you name it," she said. "I think it's more than possible that these guys were totally tweaked out on speed or something when they shot those civilians in Haditha."
The troops in Iraq have been ordered to take refresher courses on battlefield ethics, but a growing body of evidence from Haditha suggests the strain of repeated deployments in Iraq is beginning to unravel the cohesion and discipline of the combat troops.
"We are in trouble in Iraq," Barry McCaffrey, a retired army general who played a leading role in the Iraq war, told Time magazine. "Our forces can't sustain this pace, and I'm afraid the American people are walking away from this war."