Friday, August 7, 2009
So apparently with all of the problems facing Iraq, an important piece of legislation that Maliki is pursuing is to ban smoking in public places. For those of you who have spent any time on the ground in Iraq, smoking is huge there. People smoke everywhere. One of the most important parts of negotiating at the tactical level (company/field grade officers with local leaders) in my experience was the trading of cigarettes prior to the meeting. You talked about your families and the weather and enjoyed one of the few vices allowed in the country (while alcohol is not specifically banned and is actually widely used in Iraq, it is all behind closed doors for fear of retaliation from extremists).
It also seems to be oddly timed. I appreciate the sentiment of improving the public's health, but it's something the people in general enjoy and it's not like the massive public healthcare system is being overburdened by cancer treatments (yet). By that I mean they don't really treat cancer at all, so it's not currently costing the Iraqi government anything. As opposed to, say, people getting blown up, drilled, or shot. Or maybe the petroleum law, disposition of Kirkuk, reintegration of the Sons of Iraq into the government fold, disarmament of private militias, etc, etc, etc.
Here's hoping they bring back the Sumers - at least they were made more of paper than tobacco. Maybe the parliament will debate it over a couple cartons of Miamis.