The Killer Elite - The true story of bullets, bombs and a Marine platoon at war in Iraq

Source: Rolling Stone Magazine

(First article that ultimately led to the book - Generation Kill)

June 13, 2003

By Evan Wright

The invaders drive north through the Iraqi desert in a Humvee, eating candy, dipping tobacco and singing songs. Oil fires burn on the horizon, set during skirmishes between American forces and pockets of die-hard Iraqi soldiers. The four Marines crammed into this vehicle -- among the very first American troops who crossed the border into Iraq -- are wired on a combination of caffeine, sleep deprivation, excitement and tedium. While watching for enemy fire and simultaneously belting out Avril Lavigne?s ?I?m With You,? the twenty-two-year-old driver, Cpl. Joshua Ray Person, and the vehicle team leader, twenty-eight-year-old Sgt.

Brad Colbert -- both Afghan War veterans -- have already reached a profound conclusion about this campaign: that the battlefield that is Iraq is filled with ?fucking retards." There?s the retard commander in their battalion who took a wrong turn near the border, delaying the invasion by at least an hour. There?s another officer, a classic retard, who has already begun chasing through the desert to pick up souvenirs thrown down by fleeing Iraqi soldiers: helmets, Republican Guard caps, rifles. There are the hopeless retards in the battalion-support sections who screwed up the radios and didn?t bring enough batteries to operate the Marines? thermal-imaging devices. But in their eyes, one retard reigns supreme: Saddam Hussein -- ?We already kicked his ass once," says Person, spitting a thick stream of tobacco juice out his window. ?Then we let him go, and he spends the next twelve years pissing us off even more. We don?t want to be in this shit-hole country. We don?t want to invade it. What a fucking retard."



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