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Out of the Humidor

The Editors
From the Print Edition:
Chuck Norris, Jul/Aug 98

(continued from page 1)

My story begins in March of last year when I, along with thousands of my closest friends, deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of the NATO Stabilization Force. In addition to packing all the necessary military gear required for the mission, I had the daunting task of selecting which few cigars would deploy with me as part of my personal supply. One of the great benefits of serving the Army is having the opportunity to live in Germany--and having access to all the Cohibas, Montecristos and Partagas that I could ever desire. However, you can only pack and carry so much, and after conducting a thorough analysis of the Bosnian climate and probable transportation damage, I selected a box of Dunhill 1994 Tabaras for the trip. Unfortunately, peace enforcement operations are extremely stressful, especially in a country of nearly a million land mines, and my fellow officers and I quickly went through my smokes.

The U.S. Army has the greatest logistical and soldier support capability in the world, but for some unknown reason, our camp supply sergeants were unable to procure replacement cigars through the military. As a last-ditch effort to save the mission, I contacted a relief agency called Cigar.Com at their Web site. I explained to them that the fate of the NATO mission hung in the balance, and they quickly responded to our plea. In just a few weeks I received more than three thousand cigars for the soldiers of Task Force 2-2 Infantry. For the next few months the warm Bosnian nights were illuminated--not with artillery or mortars, but with the brilliant fires of soldiers enjoying the relaxing pleasures of the best cigars in the world--free ones.

The soothing draw of a cigar was not only a great source of pleasure for our soldiers, it was also a very effective weapon in the "psychological warfare" conducted by U.S. troops throughout our sector. Correctly recognizing the relaxing effect cigars have, our company and task force commanders began to use them to manipulate stubborn military and civilian leaders. During heated negotiations, when neither side would budge, it was often the soothing draw of [one of our cigars] that would bring out the better judgment of the parties involved. While the Department of Defense may never admit it, more so than any smart bomb or special operations team mission, it was the common cigar that maintained the peace in the former Yugoslavia from March to October of 1997.

As I crossed the Sava River heading north this past October, I was filled with a great sense of accomplishment. The mission belonged to someone else now, and it was my time to celebrate. I thought long and hard trying to determine the most appropriate means of celebrating the end of this chapter in my life, and I came down to two choices. I could emulate a great American general, George Patton, and urinate in the Sava as he did in the Rhine in 1945. Or I could sit back and light up one last Balkian cigar as my Hummer crossed over into Croatia. I did the latter, and tried my best to look like Schwarzenegger as we headed home.

Michael Donahue

Captain, U.S. Army
Bamberg, Germany

* * *

Editor's note: The following letter was forwarded to our attention by the writer.

Dear Larry King,

You are a solid interviewer and the success of your TV show reflects your excellence. But, making statements like "nobody smokes anymore" (which you said last night on "Larry King Weekend" coverage of the Duke of Windsor auction) not only offended the smokers who were guests on the show, but offended all people who choose to smoke tobacco (of which I and millions of others are representative). Further, such a statement (which only the any-means-to-an-end-toward-prohibition antismoking industry would applaud) is, of course, blatantly absurd! If no one smoked anymore, why in heaven's name is the media (especially CNN) fueling the most fanatic, irrational and pious campaign of the decade toward a single, legal product? Why the ridiculous tobacco "settlement" congressional discussions? Why the continued growth of the tobacco industry worldwide?

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