Thursday, July 16, 2009

Health and Safety in a warzone and throwing washing machines

Lots of people in the military smoke. I was chatting to a couple of Riflemen the other day, as we were all chain smoking, about it and we came to the conclusion that soldiers smoke a lot because there's an awful lot of hanging around to do.

Yes, it's bad for us. Smokers know that. We've chosen to take the risks associated and by god do we pay the price every time we hand over the money for a pack of 20. But then I personally don't take other risks. I don't eat meat, I exercise an awful lot and I don't stick my head in a gas oven for kicks.

It's part of being human and part of being an adult. We have the responsibilities that that comes with such as not plunging knives into people and going to work to pay for the cost of living (some of us) and in return we are supposed to be allowed to make decisions on what we do with our lives: be that have a couple too many on a Friday night or a weekend screeching down a mountain on a bike. It's our lives, it should be our choice.

It's unfortunate that successive governments have decided that we aren't nearly as intelligent as they are and that our lives need to be monitored and analysed in order for us to live as they wish us to. Smoking is bad ergo we shouldn't do it. Not even if we want to.

We should be told what to eat, what to drink and how often to go for a walk and I can only imagine that in a few years time some white aproned middle aged nurse will do house to house calls where they shove a hose up your bum and flush it all out of you.

Pity then, the current serving personnel in the American military. Their tours, unlike British personnel, are about 13-16 months which is a fucking long time away from family.

American troops are not to be banned from smoking in war zones, the US Defence Department says...Mr Morrell said the Pentagon would examine the recent study to see what else could be done to move towards banning tobacco in the military.

He said: "Obviously it is not our preference to have a force that is using tobacco products."

Luckily they appear to have a sensible Defence Secretary
Pentagon spokesman, Geoff Morrell, said US troops were already making enough sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He said Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, did not want to add to the stress of the troops by taking away their right to smoke.

I'd like to think the MoD would also come up with the same line but to be honest, I think the money on that survey would be better spent on equipment, training and welfare. Call me old fashioned.

It's the bare faced cheek of telling people who face the daily risk of having their arse blown through their ears that smoking 'is bad for them' which makes me want to reach for something large and heavy. No shit, Sherlock, but then so is going out on patrol.

It's about choice.

Sticking with throwing large, heavy objects, I was pointed in the direction of the BBC news Northern Ireland website this morning.
Not to be outdone by their military friends, locals have taken to throwing washing machines at the police.

Who needs clean pants when there's a fight to be had?

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