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Tense Fallujah Standoff Lightened With Mentos
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FALLUJAH, Iraq - Despite a nominal cease-fire, sporadic gunfire can still be heard ringing through the streets of Fallujah. U.S. Marines have said that the deadline for Fallujah residents to turn over their heavy weapons is quickly approaching. To avoid taking tensions beyond the breaking point, marine patrols are being instructed to brandish packs of Mentos candy and wink deliberately at anyone they see. So far, the tactic is working.

"I was skeptical, of course," said Dave, a marine commander who would give only his first name, "But our intelligence people have been telling us that it would lighten the moment. We tried it, and I have to admit it's been very successful." Fallujah residents, on seeing the packs of Mentos, have been seen smiling, waving, and taking on a look that seems to say, "You old scamps!", but in a friendly sort of way.

"We're hoping that under the spell of the candies, the people will more or less welcome us as liberators," said Dave, explaining that current thinking suggests this was the vital missing element in the initial siege on Baghdad. "With packs of Mentos in our hands, we'd've taken the city without a shot. After all, it's the Freshmaker."

No solid intelligence suggests that the mint variety is preferable over the fruit variety, but the marines are using mint exclusively. "We'll field test fruit when we don't have lives on the line. For the moment we're going to go with what works," explained Dave.
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