Dateline: June 2007
Hoorah! Iraqis liberated from fundamentalist nutjobs.
On the evening of the 24th I spoke with a local Iraqi official, Colonel Faik, who said the Muftis would order the severance of the two fingers used to hold a cigarette for any Iraqis caught smoking. Other reports, from here in Diyala and also in Anbar, allege that smokers are murdered by AQI [Al Qaeda]. Most Iraqis smoke and this particular prohibition appeared to have earned the ire of many locals. After an American unit cleared an apartment complex on the 23rd, LTC Smiley, the battalion commander, reported that residents didn’t ask for food and water, but cigarettes. In other parts of Baqubah, people have been celebrating the routing of AQI by lighting up and smoking cigarettes.
Dateline: August 2009
Hoorah! Iraqis liberated from common sense.
Iraq’s cabinet announced Thursday that it planned to ban smoking from all public places, in what would be one of the first such laws in the Middle East. The restrictions may go even further than smoking bans in Western countries by outlawing smoking in “private transportation.”
It would apply to all public buildings, government offices, movie theaters, schools and both public and private transportation.
It's OK, Iraqis. There were only 309 civilian deaths last month. The IEDs and drive-by shootings are on the decrease, so stepping outside is just a small inconvenience.
The Iraqi government will sort out the political corruption, along with the lack of electricity and clean drinking water, as soon as they have waved their arms about and fake coughed at those smelly smokers.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.