Good Health in Wartime

News from the Pentagon:  Pentagon health experts are urging Defense Secretary Robert Gates to ban tobacco use by U.S. Troops.  According to studies, the heaviest smokers are soldiers and Marines that have done most of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Why?  Well, studies also show that fire fights while wearing piecemeal armor can be “stressful.”

It seems the Pentagon is little miffed by their estimates that smoking costs them $846 million in medical care, and, I’m sure you’ll agree, nothing says “fiscal responsibility” like the Defense Department.  Besides, if past spending habits of the Defense Department are any indication, $846 million could buy the military an air compressor and a wrench and socket set.  But I guess that won’t happen because certain selfish soldiers and Marines need their cigarettes. 

And it’s not just health care costs; the Pentagon is also concerned about “lost productivity.”  If these soldiers and Marines continue to lose productivity like this, they might just earn themselves a write-up and a stern finger wagging from H.R.

Aren’t the soldiers thinking about what the smoke is doing to the air?  Why should innocent shrapnel and bullets have to pass through some inconsiderate soldier’s or Marine’s second-hand smoke?

I say order the ban and do it now!  In terms of enforcing the ban, I recommend the Pentagon send one of their bean-counting cubicle jockeys over to Kandahar to lay down the law.

And while we’re focusing on “Healthy Combat,” maybe we should force the Troops to keep an eye on their LDL cholesterol levels, too.


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