I just avoided getting a case of lead poisoning and can’t light up?
Duncan Hunter: ‘We sleep in the dirt for this country, we get shot at, but we can’t have a cigarette if we want?’
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.) is fighting to protect service members’ right to use tobacco, offering an amendment that would stop the Pentagon’s plans to ban the sale of the product on base.
“We sleep in the dirt for this country,” said Hunter, who quit his job after 9/11 to join the Marine Corps. “We get shot at for this country. But we can’t have a cigarette if we want to for this country, because that’s unhealthy.”
Hunter offered an amendment during a House Armed Services Committee markup of fiscal year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Wednesday evening. The amendment would guarantee that no products that were legally for sale in commissaries and bases at the beginning of the year could be banned.
The reason I bring this up is because we’ve had interference from the Secretary of the Navy and others that think guys like me when we served in the Marine Corps, they’re going to tell us that we can’t buy soda, we can’t buy chewing tobacco, we can’t buy beer, we can only buy 2 percent milk,” Hunter said. “We don’t want that to happen.”
“Especially for the enlisted ranks and the young officers, it’s important that what few amenities we get to keep when we join the service and give our lives up to Uncle Sam for four years, that those amenities, we get to keep them,” he said. “That’s what [the amendment] does.”
Democrats on the committee objected to Hunter’s proposal.
Rep. Susan Davis (D., Calif.) said promoting health is just as important as military readiness, and that the Pentagon’s proposal is not telling military men and women “they can’t use tobacco.”