16 December 2008

The Butter-Cutter On Smoking

“Did you know that a 'Marine Corps Quality of Life survey, conducted in 2007 and released this past summer, found that nearly 32 percent of [Marines] smoke?' ” I asked The Butter-Cutter. *

“Yeah? 'Smoke, smoke, smoke that cigarette; Puff, puff, puff until you smoke yourself to death . . .' Yeah, my ole man used ta sing that song,” he answered. “ 'n', ya know what? Them cigs killed him.” 

“Tragically, according to the American Cancer Society, the figure for Marines using tobacco is higher than the national average of 21 percent for 18- to 24-year olds,” I continued.

“Hey! That's because Marines do it better then civilians,” and The Butter-Cutter broke out in laughter.

“How can you laugh over something that killed your own father?” I asked in disbelief.

“How? My father was full-grown 'n' responsible fer his own decisions! He knew 'n' everybody else knows cigarettes can kill ya! Tell me: how long they been called 'coffin nails' 'n' people still use 'em? OK? Nobody gives a shit!”

“Well, it was reported by the Marine Corps Times; they obviously give . . . care. Their article also stated that, 'Another 21 percent of Marines--the highest number in the military, according to 2005 Defense Department statistics--use smokeless tobacco.' ”

“There ya go! Now, that's really important! Marines do smokeless more than anybody else! Aaaggghhhh! Why are ya tellin' me this shit? If somebody wants ta smoke, chaw, sniff, er whatever . . . that's his choice! Nobody's forcin' 'em ta use the stuff! Them Marines are 'full-grown,' let 'em be,” he groaned.

“A Marine colonel, identified as 'a physical readiness program officer' in the article, says that tobacco use is 'certainly contrary to the idea of Marines as warrior athletes.' ” I went on.

“ 'Idea of Marines as warrior athletes?' Whose freakin' idea is that? It sure as shit ain't mine! This colonel's must be one o' them 'Pose-Offers.' Ya know, one o' them Schwarzenegger-types who rub oil all over themselves 'n' get on a stage dressed only in jock straps 'n' flex at each other. Then, durin' the pose-off, the one with the biggest tit muscles who twitches them the fastest gets ta be the year's 'Mr. Tit Muscles.' Now, that's warrior shit I don't need!” he bellowed.

“Stop that! As your little ditty and your father's experience indicate, smoking kills and the Corps is taking this issue very seriously. It has a smoking-cessation program that permits smokers to take time off work to attend classes intended to help them quit smoking,” I explained.

“Oh my achin' ass! We got: classes fer learnin' languages and cultures; classes fer learnin' how ta hold onta yer soap in the shower; classes fer learnin' why not ta pinch a bitch on the ass; NOW, classes fer learnin' how ta quit smokin'! When're we gonna get treated like Marines 'n' have classes fer learnin' how ta blow up things 'n' kick ass? Ain't that what Marines are supposed ta do? We do all this warm fuzzy shit 'n' it takes time away from the Marine good-shit like shootin' weapons! That's what we oughta be doin' not that other shit!” The Butter-Cutter lamented.  

“The Corps is concerned about the health of all its Marines and these classes on quitting tobacco are demonstrative of that concern. You should be both grateful and proud the Corps is going to such lengths to care for its Marines,” I said.

“Look! Alotta guys started usin' tobacco in Iraq cuz they had alotta sittin' around time: yer sittin' around waittin' ta go on patrol; er, yer sittin' on watch, watchin'; er, yer sittin' . . . We did alotta o' sittin' 'n' smokin' er takin' a pinch o' tobacco helped kill time,” he said. “So, if the Corps wants ta solve the problem, don't send us ta Iraq er Afghanistan! Yeah, sure, that'll be the freakin' day!” 

“I'm sure what you are saying is true. It is ironic, however, after being finely conditioned in the States, Marines then waste it away by indulging in tobacco where their physical condition is the most important-in fields of conflict,” I bemoaned. “It would appear that keeping tobacco products away from deployed Marines would be a solution to this problem,' I suggested.  

“Noooo! Ya keep tobacco away from the troops by not sellin' it in the PX 'n' they'll get it other ways-even illegally! That's like pissin' inta the wind--ya get the pee outta yer bladder 'n' the wind blows it back so's ya wind-up pissin' all over yerself! Piss with the wind 'n' give 'em the tobacco!”  

Semper . . . With The Wind,

Anthony F. Milavic

Major USMC (Ret.) 


Waddaya Think?

Dick Gaines said:   December 16th, 2008 7:04 am

Yeah, smoking kills--it sure as hell finally killed Betty Davis didn't it! Liberty ain't free--as in the case of smoking, it must be taxed up the @$$, social engineered, punished, etc. But don't p!ss down my back and tell me "it's for the children." (Never Smoked, but still goin' to McD's, and I still Love America!) Semper Fidelis Dick Gaines ~~~~~

Kent Mitchell said:   December 16th, 2008 7:17 am

I smoked during my tour (56-60). Tried chewing tobacco at night when I was sittin' in a hole in the ground and couldn't light up. Don't do either now. I got up to 3 packs a day at one time in the 70s and decided it was killing me so I quit. Cold turkey. A thousand times. The last time finally did the job. I'm 70, still alive and breathing well.

HJT said:   December 16th, 2008 8:01 am

This seems to be no more than a continuing extention of the study course by some PC Ph.D hired in the 70's to establish the HumRel "Love School". Since that era the Corps has been bending over backwards to "humanize" its ranks via edict and become an all encompassing PC organization. The BC is correct. Marines has schooling for every thing to include the proper way to breathe. The visual aspect of being a Marine is far more important than training to be a Marine. We are required to have standardized PT uniforms to present a nice picture as we run by, we are required to sacrifice our individuality by having uniforms more like the army than not, we are not allowed to express personal feelings ie: bumper stickers, we are not allowed to have access to "questionable" reading materials in the PX and now in it's infinite wisdom the Corps is concerned about making decisions best made by the individual regards health all in the name of being politically correct but will send its young warriors off to a combat zone ill equiped and less than fully trained. That doesn't appear to be a health issue. It can be said since the institution of "Love School" and the chaos that it caused at the time and since in the name of humanity and culture, millions of dollars have been wasted, uncounted careers have been ruined and possibly several lives have been lost not to mention the disintegration of standard Marine Corps discipline. If the Corps would spend merely 10% of the time, money and effort on obtaining a decent weapon system for the warriors and concentrate on being Marines via training as opposed to mandating conduct via edict reminiscent of prohibition the adults in the Corps will manage to maintain a force to be recokened with. God help the present Marine Corps because it can no longer help itself. I fear it will never be able to be completely repaired.

Bert Kortegaard said:   December 16th, 2008 8:40 am

Separate smoking areas, tax it the limit, use the taxes to care for folks the smoking kills ... and let folks decide their lives themselves. As for the Corps' "PC humanizing" work, it saves lives. I did two tours in Korea, '50-'51. On R&R, I walked two blocks down the Ginza with a Sergeant who made enough lifetime enemies for the Corps and the US in those two blocks to tie up a platoon. Just an arrogant anal orifice, trying to act like a conquerer. I broke away after two blocks or I'd have hurt him enough to still be in the brig. Some PC ides, like respect for others, aren't always bad. 

Jim Rooth said:   December 16th, 2008 9:41 am

Politically correct is not a new thing - just has a new label. When I was a tad bit younger, I was introduced to smoking. It seemed if you wanted a break in boot camp, you had to join the smokers! Those who didn't smoke, did police calls or something else absolutely necessary to maintain the continuity afforded by boot camp. Fortunately, I decided raking sand was far more beneficial to me than taking breaks to smoke. Fortunate in that I could not afford to buy the cigarettes then and I sure could not afford them know. The powers that be have decided smoking in the Corps is not necessarily a good thing. They are putting ways and means in front of the younger Marines to give them options. Try driving by an MP while talking on as cell phone on any Marine base. I personally had to dodge a pick up and a car yesterday because the driver's were talking on their phone. Try getting on a base on a motorcycle. You must have gloves (not fingerless), helmet, boots that cover your ankles, a long sleeve shirt and a reflective vest or jacket. Are these things politically correct? I would suggest they are not! They are just steps taken to help preserve Marine lives. If we all looked back on our days in the Corps, I doubt we would find it hard to remember something we thought totally unnecessary that we had to enforce. Today's Corps is no different. Still have Pvts and Sgts - 2nd Lts - Cols. Still the green weenie to some and home to others. On the Military Channel there is an ad where a young Marine states "you have to get dirty if you are a Marine!" Dumb statement in my opinion. Kind of like "my role is to die for my country." What was the original question??? Goodnight Chesty Puller, where ever you are. Semper Fidelis 

Madelien Miller said:   December 16th, 2008 10:41 am

Guess smoking is what is known as "A STRESS BUSTER" Dad was in the service 30 years .Smoked until it took his life . Took my Uncles as well . Now my daughters smoke . Have COPD . Can't understand it . Watching someone trying to catch a breathe & still smoking . Life is TOUGH !!! So are the MARINES !!! We need you guys around for a VERY LONG TIME . Don't do yourselves in to a HABIT...

Hep said:   December 16th, 2008 10:55 am

Vegiterian, meat-eater; smoker, non-smoker; jogger, couch-potato; traveler, home-body; drunkard, teetotaler; warrior, pacifist.....EVERYBODY DIES! The death rate among human beings is 100%. Eat drink and be merry and get over it. 

Jack Whitesell said:   December 16th, 2008 11:01 am

Milivic is back in the groove again----I quit 30 years ago as I watched my dad die of lung cancer-----son is now 50 and still puffs up a storm [also a Marine]----I do miss a good cigar ----- Three weeks will be 88---getting younger every day!!---- Jack

DC Wright said:   December 16th, 2008 12:03 pm

I smoked for many years, 'til my wife motivated me to quit, which will be six years come May next. (Her words were, "You were smoking when I met you and I was OK with it. But YOU said you'd quit by the time we got married, so now if you DON'T quit, I'm gonna kill you.) HOWEVER, if the younger Marines (who, by the way, are adults in every sense of the word) choose to smoke, except for PASSIVELY offering help through sickbay should they voluntarily CHOOSE to quit, the Marine Corps should BUTT OUT (pun intended). It may be smelly and disgusting to some, but on a daily basis, they are put into positions which are far more hazardous to their health, IMMEDIATELY, than smoking. Which will kill you quicker, a sniper round or a cigarette? The BC is 100% right on. (Same applies to the war on (some) drugs, as well, but that's a whole 'nother topic.)

RED DOG said:   December 16th, 2008 2:53 pm

PART ONE.....I believe smoking and chewing tobacco has been an accepted practice since time began and I also believe it was/should be your choice to stop using all/any tobacco. It does cause health problems but it should be your choice to stop, not a government or do-gooder mandate to stop. And, it was a good tax base for government. Hasn't anyone noticed when something is taxed out of existence your ice cream and real fruit juices and other things go up in price?..... The Surgeon General years ago placed on tobacco packaging: Cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health, now it reads: Surgeon General's warning: Smoking by pregnant women may result in fetal injury, premature birth, and low birth weight. In looking up the Surgeon Generals job description it states: "As the nation's top public health physician, the Surgeon General communicates the best science, evidence, and data to the American people in order for them to make healthy choices that impact their health, safety, and security." No where in that description does it give said person the right to ORDER all tobacco use to stop and only gives us "choices" to make. By the way, who really gives a shit what some Marine Colonel trying to justify his job thinks?..... 

RED DOG said:   December 16th, 2008 2:52 pm

MIDDLE PART.....I chewed and smoked for close to 35 years of my life but gave them both up cold turkey around 25 years ago. On the other hand I was glad I could smoke as a NCO MARINE IN COMBAT in Vietnam on Operations such as Texas, Prairie, being surrounded at Mutters Ridge for a week just to name a few. I was glad I could have a smoke when after a battle we had to gather our dead brothers that had been shot or blown to pieces. I was glad I could have a smoke when an arm ripped off of a brother who had died on a jungle floor and laid there for three days when you tried to pick him up and place him on a chopper so he could be shipped home and his family could have a closed funeral for him. Being an "warrior athlete" would not had a damn thing to do with those dead brothers or myself having a fucking smoke while I cried my heart out...... I was also glad I could have a smoke because the watered down morphine I was given wasn't doing its job after I had been hit six times. I was glad I could smoke while lying on the ground waiting while twelve other wounded Marines were choppered out before me and I was given the honor to look after and escort the two Marines that were killed that night as we were loaded on the last chopper in and out......continued.... 

RED DOG- said:   December 16th, 2008 2:46 pm

PART TWO...Thank God there was no Marine Colonel there saying some shit like: don't give that Marine Warrior a smoke, it's contrary to his image...Yeah, I thank God that I could smoke while I was a combat Marine. Come to think of it, the idea of us in Vietnam and being Marine Warriors wasn't going over real big back in the states at the time either. Ya think there was some fucking hippies standing in a protest crowd screaming: don't let um smoke, don't let um smoke, they can die from enemy bullets, but don't let um smoke...... This also reminds me of the cowboys. Growing up I remember all cowboys on TV asking for a shot of whiskey and a smoke as they were dying. Can't ya just hear John Wayne: you are athletic cowboys, you can't die having a smoke and a shot of whisky, what would the town folk think?...Remember the cowboy that was gut shot and ask for a shot and a smoke before he died. The other cowboy gave it to him and ask what is your Mothers name?...Why do you want to know my Mothers name...so I can tell her...My Mother knows my name, how about that smoke..... Our government is already governing us too much. Please don't let the petty shit trickle down to the ones that must do the fighting and dying. Marines will hold their own whether they are in a church praying, marching in a parade, dying on a battlefield, or having a shot of whisky and a smoke while in a bar fight in some filthy dive while on liberty...... Take five men; get off your feet, smoke um if ya got um!

Sniperbait66 said:   December 16th, 2008 5:23 pm

 I smoked, I ran 5k every day while I was in the Corps. I was the most fit Staff NCO in my Squadron, the youngest looking, and the OLDEST. PT is what it takes. I ran and smoked until I was 54, when I broke my foot. I've since Quit smoking for the third time in my life. My little girl has Asthma. She is more important to me than smoking. While I was an Active Duty Marine, smoking helped the stress, and if your job is as hazardous as ours, what harm smoking? You could be dead in a minute. Let them smoke, but maintain PT standards.

Sniperbait66 said:   December 16th, 2008 5:26 pm

RED DOG, The answer is: NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT colonel dipshit...

H. W. Buss said:   December 16th, 2008 6:35 pm

I started smoking back in 1959 while Infantry Training Regiment (ITR) to stay awake in those long boring classes out in Camp Pendleton's San Onefre boonies. The penalty for falling asleep was you got to stay up shining GI cans after everyone else hit the sack which pretty much guaranteed you'd fall asleep again the next day. Good solid Marine Corps logic. I probably would have started anyway at some point but I can blame the Marine Corps for it. In the 70's it came back to bite me in the ass big time when General Wilson upped the ante by a factor of ten for physical fitness. Still, he was right and I should have known better. Still, if a troop can smoke and still pass all physical requirements while suffering a hang-over (and young studs can do that) the Marine Corps should butt out. There are too many people and institutions sticking their noses into someone else's business for their own good and too many people not accepting responsibility for their own actions.

RED DOG said:   December 17th, 2008 4:35 pm

Sniperbait66, you said: "Let them smoke, but maintain PT standards"...Had the Physical Fitness Instructor, the Colonel, made the same comment with maybe a short story of how bad smoking is for you, he would have made his point without any criticism. Good leaders lead by example, not by forcing their beliefs down your throat....Now, after your smoke, you will fall out in full field gear for a ten mile force march.

GI said:   December 18th, 2008 3:33 pm

OK I get....tobacco like alcohol, enemy fire, motorcycles, suicide, and homicidal mother-in-laws can kill you ! Matter of the troops being accountable and responsible enough to pick their own poison. S/f GI