"By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Pentagon health experts are urging Defense Secretary Robert Gates to ban the use of tobacco by troops and end its sale on military property, a change that could dramatically alter a culture intertwined with smoking.
Jack Smith, head of the Pentagon's office of clinical and program policy, says he will recommend that Gates adopt proposals by a federal study that cites rising tobacco use and higher costs for the Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs as reasons for the ban."
You have GOT to be fucking kidding me! We make up bullshit reasons to go to war with Iraq and send our soldiers into a meat grinder, we get over 4,000 of them killed dead, tens of thousands of others maimed and wounded and these fucktards want to take their cigarettes away from them?
These soldiers, regardless of why they were sent into harms way, are risking their fucking lives 24/7, being ripped away from their families, being forced to stay in the military past the end of their enlistment, being re-deployed over and over again and we're going to take that as an opportunity to help them quit smoking? Really?
That's beyond shenanigans and bullshit. That's just fucking stupid and it's spitting in the faces of our troops.
Look, I quit smoking almost 3 years ago. In fact, on July 31st it will be exactly 3 years. I'm glad I did it. Smartest thing I ever did and I've never had the urge to start smoking again. But unlike some folks, I did not become a born-again anti-smoking Nazi. I don't give a flying fuck at a rolling donut whether other people smoke or not. I'm not a smoke free zealot and I think businesses should be able to choose whether they want to allow smoking or not. I let my smoking friends smoke in my house. I even keep an ash tray around for them. Because I'm a tolerant person and a good host.
But I'll tell you what. If you were to pick me up, strap 90 pounds of armor and equipment on me, send me into a live firefight in 110 degree heat with bullets whizzing by me, explosions going off, people around me being ripped apart and killed, after it was over and I realized I was still alive, I bet a cigarette would taste pretty fucking good! After a couple of good smokes I'd worry about shovelling the shit out of my pants and puking up everything I'd eaten in the past 12 years.
Taking cigarettes away from fighting soldiers is the sort of thing that could only be conceived of by fat-assed academics sitting in air conditioned offices who think they are being protected by the 70 year old security guard at the front desk of their building.
"One in three service members use tobacco, the report says, compared with one in five adult Americans. The heaviest smokers are soldiers and Marines, who have done most of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the study says. About 37% of soldiers use tobacco and 36% of Marines. Combat veterans are 50% more likely to use tobacco than troops who haven't seen combat."
GEE! Ya fucking think? Who saw that coming? Jesus Fucking Christ, people.
"The military complicates attempts to curb tobacco use by subsidizing tobacco products for troops who buy them at base exchanges and commissaries, says Kenneth Kizer, a committee member and architect of California's anti-tobacco program.
Seventy percent of profits from tobacco sales — $88 million in 2005 — pays for recreation and family support programs, the study stays."
So by banning tobacco, not only are we depriving the fighting soldiers who are protecting OUR FREEDOM of one of the extremely few ways they have to deal with the stress we thrust them into, but we are also harming their families back home by cutting funding for their support.
You know what? Not only should tobacco NOT be banned, not only should the military continue to subsidize tobacco products at the BX/PXs, but any soldier who chooses to smoke should receive gift wrapped cartons at regular intervals with a card hand-signed by the president.
Anytime a soldier pulls out a cigarette, their commanding officer (or the nearest U.S. citizen) should rush to their side like a tip-hungry bartender, whip out a solid gold lighter and light that soldiers cigarette while reminding them that the American people appreciate their sacrifice.
If our soldiers want to smoke, let them smoke. I think they've earned the right to do as they please.