NAJAF, Iraq (PMS) — Like a scene from a scary movie, bats poured from the crypts and the wind howled like a banshee. PFC Birdy Cronin fired off a burst as the ground gave way beneath his feet, plummeting him into a nest of gay Islamic zombies returned from Hell to feast upon the feeble brains of the latest crusaders to attempt to wrest this land from mighty Baal.
And the undead, an enemy older than civilized memory, have grown deadlier than ever, having learned how to use the latest technology to fight against the coalition forces sent to impose freedom upon this city of gravestones and mausoleums dating from before the illegimate birth of Christ.
In this futile battle to control the world’s remaining strategic graveyard, U.S. Marines and ordinary grunts claim they have the upper hand, but the tone is anything but confident. The ancient cemetery in Najaf is sacred to Shiite Muslims, perhaps 200 million of whom are rising from the dead throughout the desert surrounding the shrine of Imam Ali, mother-in-law of the prophet Muhammad. Imam Ali is considered by some to be the most powerful mother-in-law the planet has ever seen, capable of influencing weather patterns thousands of miles away, as evidenced by the twin hurricanes bearing down on Jeb Bush in Florida.
Soldiers involved in the fighting are angry and bitter that they’ve been forced to battle the undead as part of the president’s never-ending reelection campaign. "We got wives, daughters, husbands," said Sgt. Samantha Reed Berg, 28, of the 1st Cavalry Division's 5th Regiment. "You know what it’s like living in fear that some zombie is going to jump out of one of these crypts and suck out your brain?”
The sultry Texan shook her head, suggestively. "It just don't feel right sometimes.”
"We feel bad that we're destroying their shit, that we're defecating on graves and such," added Specialist Toby Mott, 29, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. "That's not what we want to do, but orders is orders, and the only way to stop them zombies is to shit in their nests.”
What the besieged and dwindling U.S. force in southern Iraq wants to do, commanders say, is destroy the brain-eating Mahdi Army, an unholy militia of resurrected collateral damage loyal to Moqtada “Big Al” Sadr, the militant Shiite cleric who recently returned from a visit with God, rested and tan. The militia has stalked and picked off stragglers of the U.S.-led occupation force in Iraq since October, when a group of largely impoverished, disaffected young gay men were gunned down by a U.S. patrol in a Baghdad slum. Three days later, the young men had returned to life and attacked a foot patrol of Ohio reserve guardsmen, eating the brains of three of them. Retaliatory U.S. air strikes killed hundreds of zombie sympathizers who also arose from the dead, hungry for young American brains.
By April, entire battalions of gay and straight Islamic zombies were attacking coalition forces throughout southern Iraq, destroying much of the occupation's effort to establish security in Shiite-populated central and southern Iraq.
The current eradication effort, which began Thursday with another ambush that turned into a brain devouring frenzy that left dozens of American troops nearly brainless, is billed by both sides as the final solution.
Sadr this week told Iraq's interim government to fuck itself and vowed to fight to his last drop of blood, vowing to take hundreds of Americans with him. Iraqi officials, who are closely watched and micromanaged by U.S. commanders of the 160,000 foreign troops in Iraq, said the Mahdi Undead Army threatens to spill over the borders and begin feasting on brains in Kuwait, Iran, Syria, and Jordan. In fact, the Department of Homeland Security has issued heightened warnings to key ports throughout the U.S. following rumors that Mahdi zombies had stowed away on Halliburton oil shipments.
To close observers, the signal that the final battle between good and evil was about to commence came when the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani accepted an invitation from Michael Eisner to become a traveling attraction at various Disney World properties. Sistani, the senior Shiite cleric in Iraq and a longtime opponent of Sadr, who is rumored to have died in 1995 during sex with an intern, could not be reached for comment.
"A lot of people think [Sistani’s absence is] the green light for us to do whatever shit we got to do to kill these damn zombies once and for all," said Maj. Gen. Sergeant Carpenter, chief petty reelection officer with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, which has responsibility for Persian language campaign ads.
"The people around here that is still living will tell you they want it to end," said Army Lt. Col. Sanders Hooper, battalion commander for the 1st Cavalry Division's 5th Septic Regiment, which brought several tankers full of shit from Baghdad on Thursday to reinforce the Marines. "The living folks is ready for this to be over, and if we don’t put an end to this zombie business pretty soon, we’re in a world of hurt.”
On Tuesday, while senior commanders tried to determine the best system to deliver hundreds of thousands of cubic hectares of shit directly to the nests of the Mahdi zombies, battles between the brain eaters and their American fast food dinners raged on. U.S. armored vehicles crashed through mausoleums and plowed over centuries-old graves, while dozens of fighter jets, helicopter gunships and nerve-gas dispensing drones circled waiting for targets. When the vehicles attracted swarms of hungry zombies, spotters radioed the coordinates back to base.
"Looking for clearance to bring in the Reaper," a junior officer shouted across the noisy command center. A swarm of zombies had burst out of freshly dug grave, dragging several members of a patrol to the ground, tearing off their helmets and biting through their skulls. Unfortunately, the attack occurred so close to the shrine of Ali that permission to fire could come only from a senior officer, who had gone home for the day and had to be contacted by e-mail. By the time the order to fire arrived, the zombies had fully devoured the entire patrol and had retired to their underground sanctuary to drink strong black coffee and eat exotic sweets.
Hopper said 600 potential insurgents were killed in an inadvertent strike on subsidized housing by a Predator drone equipped with a Hellfire missile. By nightfall, all but a handful of the dead had taken up arms and joined the Mahdi zombie army. The sky over the city was darkened by smoke from a makeshift crematorium set up by coalition forces a few hundred feet from the shrine to burn the wounded before they died and joined the few bad apples in Najaf who are making life miserable for the freedom-loving police force and military and endangering the president’s chances for a second term.
"There's nothing good that can come of any of this,” said an Army operations officer, explaining the possible outcomes of an air strike on the mosque or the continued pumping of shit into zombie nesting areas. "We win, we lose. We lose, we lose. We’re fucked big time, and we’re fucked forever in the big moment as well," an apparent reference to an obscure poem by Howard Nemerov.
Because the shrine was off-limits, planners of the final solution in Najaf made a decision to fight in the cemetery, and Marines pursued living fighters into it last Thursday morning only to be ambushed by a division of undead insurgents who ate more than 50 American brains during the Marines’ hasty, if tasty, retreat.
The battle for the graveyard went on for 96 hours, until the Marines withdrew to defensive positions as a result of unanticipated pressure from thousands of Mahdi zombies who refused to die even when shot through the head. In fact, severed limbs of the undead have massed in some areas and are slowly squirming across the shattered landscape, drawn by the desire to consume living brains.
Officially, the Marines say they lost two dead and killed more than 3,300 of Sadr’s militiamen. But some witnesses of the battle said the lopsided casualty count is wishful thinking.
"It was like New Orleans meets Baghdad," said one Army officer.
The jumble of tombs, mausoleums and catacombs made it treacherous ground to fight on. Zombies and living fighters hid underground, overhead, and in the crypts, witnesses said. "Most of the time," said one, "it was like jungle warfare, only without the jungle, and with a bunch of flesh eating zombies, some of whom were fags. There’s nothing worse for a soldier than to have some zombie fag groping his crotch while trying to bite through his skull. And I bet it’s even worse for the chicks.”
Soldiers said the insurgents showed signs of having grown increasingly hungry during the ceasefire, and more organized in their foraging activities. U.S. units had grown accustomed to disorganized, hit-and-run attacks by insurgents in Baghdad, and they were not prepared for coordinated attacks by dozens of zombies impervious to pain or death.
"These people, if you can call them that, are damn near unstoppable," said 1st Lt. Don Siegel of the 1st Cavalry, who added that one mausoleum contained a digital home theatre system that showed zombie movies non-stop 24 hours a day.
"That place is awesome," said Lt. Gen. Travis Bickle, the 5th Regiment battalion commander whose troops recently joined reinforcements in Najaf. "I don't mean to give them too much credit, but they're good. They're really organicized. These guys really make us work to kill them, but in the end, they're dead. If they’d just stay that way."
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Originally Posted: Tuesday - August 10, 2004 at 07:43 PM