Vol. 1, Issue 24, October 28, 2003
Think Difference (Engine).
The Sleaze

Sharp Rise in Gambling Addiction Among Armed Forces

The State Department has confirmed an ABC news report alleging that gambling addiction has risen substantially among American forces stationed in Iraq.

"I want to stress that this trend has in no way affected our progress in turning Iraq into a progressive, productive democracy," said Secretary of State Colin Powell. "As always in such a large military operation, there are substantial logistical issues to address. In this case, an excess of gambling seems to be one of those issues."

The problem has apparently been traced to the military's widespread distribution of playing cards bearing the likenesses of wanted Iraqi officials.

"The cards were actually seen as a remarkably innovative tactic for the military," said University of Chicago political science professor Gail Donner. "And of course the cards have generated millions of dollars in sales back in the United States. It seemed like a win-win program; we should have known better, of course. After all, this was a military program."

According to an unofficial estimate performed by ABC, most American servicemen stationed in Iraq are spending up to 80% of their free time in furious and often combative games of poker. The collective debt of the servicemen is estimated to total over $64 million, much of which is owed to Iraqis, who have proved astonishingly quick at mastering the game.

"I don't know, I find their poker faces kind of hard to read, you know?" said Corporal Peter Jolbert, of the 3rd Infantry Division.

Rumors that the ongoing insurrection is equipping itself with munitions obtained from American soldiers paying off gambling debts have not been confirmed. However, the State Department did confirm that a high-ranking naval officer was relieved of his command last week for "conduct unbecoming an officer," which may or may not have involved putting up a destroyer as stakes in a poker game.

"We continue to stand by the playing-card distribution program," Powell asserted. "They're cheap, require no power, and are keeping our men and women in uniform reasonably well-occupied during their down-time in Iraq. Given the alternative activities they could be engaged in, this doesn't seem so bad after all."

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