Stupid Drug Story of the Week
The New York Times mixes its intoxicants and gets stupid.
- What is the time interval over which the 240 convictions were recorded?
- Is the incidence of drug- and alcohol-related crime among U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan higher than you would observe at a stateside U.S. base of 168,000 troops?
- What is an alcohol-related crime? If a GI drinks one beer and then stomps a guy in his barracks, is that alcohol related?
- Given that alcohol is forbidden by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan, doesn't it stand to reason that troops who obtain a bottle will drink it all because they have no legal space to store the unconsumed contents? (When you, dear reader, were an underage drinker, didn't you and your pals binge on the case of Miller you scored?)
- U.S. troops in Vietnam were allowed alcohol. Are the Vietnam crime statistics radically different from the ones recorded in Iraq and Afghanistan? Would alcohol-related crimes go down if troops could drink legally?
- What nonalcohol drugs are being consumed? Which drugs are most popular? How do troops get them? Which psychoactive drugs are dispensed to combat soldiers?
- The article states that 73 of the 240 convictions were for murder, rape, assault, and armed robbery, and that 12 convictions were for sex crimes. What other crimes brought convictions?
- Of the approximately 120 drug-related convictions recorded, how many were for drug possession?
We learn from the article that "the rate of binge drinking in the Army shot up by 30 percent from 2002 to 2005." Isn't that a useless statistic unless we know how many binge drinkers were in the Army in 2002?
As you may have sensed, I've roiled myself to a point that can only be calmed by a Maker's Mark over ice. Cheers!
Why did the Times cover this story like a sobbing drunk? If you think the editors should lead the newsroom in a seminar of controlled drinking, what drinks should be served? Send your cocktail recipes and wine lists to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please, no goofball drinks like coke, rum, and Coke. (E-mail may be quoted by name unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)