This is a tradition US Grant would have recognized. Cigars have long been a part of military life. I don’t know if George Washington smoked cigars, probably a hazard to a man with wooden teeth, but he did grow tobacco and make cigars on his estates.
The weather this time of the year in Iraq is good. Mornings are cool; afternoons are hot and evenings are pleasant, so the Marines take the opportunity to talk in the warmth of the evening and smoke cigars.
Some of them have a cigar club. They get the cigars and all the accessories from a place call Thompson Cigars of Florida. Sometimes I understand that firms and individuals sent cigars free. That is a gift many Marines really appreciate.
I do not smoke cigars, or anything else for that matter, but I can well understand the attraction of the shared interest. I never disliked cigars as I dislike cigarettes and there is something very comforting, secure and primal about sitting in circle in the evening, exchanging stories and just being the company of other men. It probably goes back to our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors sitting around the fire, telling stories about the mammoth that got away. The fire kept dangerous animals out of the circle and the smoke from a campfire kept the bugs at bay. I don’t know how well the cigars work for these things.
Most of the people who work for KBR at the chow hall come from South Asia. I think it started as a way to make them feel more at home. Every Tuesday they serve Indian style food. This is spiced to the taste of those who appreciate it. I had some today. It was a bit to hot for me and now I am paying the delayed price. When I was in college and had a roommate from Pakistan, I used to eat a lot of kima mutter and with time I tolerated more and more curry. I have lost that immunity.
Fortunately I have some “Pink Bismuth” (the PX usually carries generic brands).