Monday, January 30, 2006

Europe's Generals vs. politicians...again

A couple of things have come to the surface as of late, that if they happend in the U.S., it would be all over the papers and TV. First from Germany.
BERLIN: Two top Germany generals were dismissed Friday after allegations of racist abuse by one general's son, favoritism and misuse of official information. Lieutenant General Hans-Heinrich Dieter, deputy chief of the armed forces, and Lieutenant General Jürgen Ruwe, deputy chief of the army, were dismissed from active duty, the Defense Ministry said. Ruwe's son, a student at the military academy in Hamburg, was accused of making racist and far-right comments. He has denied the allegations. Dieter was responsible for overseeing the academy and was accused of passing on details of the investigation to Ruwe, who informed his son.
I cannot find exactly what the did or if anyone knows a link, send it on. Academy stuff is international...

Then in Spain.
A Spanish Army general has been put under house arrest after suggesting that military intervention might be necessary to quell demands for greater autonomy from the northeastern region of Catalonia, the Defense Ministry said.
Recalling the dispute over Catalan autonomy that was a partial cause of the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, Lieutenant General José Mena Aguado, 63, said on Friday night that history appeared to be repeating itself as the nation debated Catalonia's recent requests for more self-government, and that the military was ready to act.

"It is our obligation to warn that there could be serious consequences for the armed forces as an institution and for its members if the Statute of Catalonia is approved in its proposed form," he said during a speech to members of the military in Seville.

"The Constitution establishes a series of impassable limits for any statute of autonomy," he said, referring to the type of law that describes the relationship between Spain's regional governments and Madrid. "But if those limits are exceeded, which thankfully is unthinkable at this time, it would be necessary to apply Article 8 of the Constitution."

Article 8 establishes that the armed forces are responsible for defending Spain's "territorial integrity" and "the constitutional order."
Speaking of Spain, how is this for one ballsy junior officer?
An army captain voiced scathing criticism of the Spanish government Wednesday in the second such outburst this month, accusing it of bowing to independence-minded regions and leading the country toward a breakup.

Captain Roberto González Calderón, with an army branch called the Legion, spoke out in a letter published in the newspaper Melilla Hoy. Melilla is a Spanish enclave on the coast of Morocco and the city where the captain is stationed.

In early January, the Defense Ministry fired a top army officer and placed him under house arrest for eight days after he warned of possible military intervention if Parliament approved a blueprint that would give much greater autonomy to the northeast Catalonia region.

Those remarks, by Lieutenant General José Mena Aguado in a high-profile speech Jan. 6 to fellow officers in Seville, triggered memories of a failed coup in 1981, just three years after Spain restored democracy following the death of General Francisco Franco.

After Mena Aguado spoke out, Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's government said it had polled other military personnel and concluded that this was an isolated case.

González Calderón said he disagreed vehemently. "Mr. Prime Minister, what your advisers told you is not true, nor are the interpretations that have been made. Of course, there is unease both within and outside the armed forces, as could only be the case. Unease over seeing how our Spain is being dismembered," the letter read.

He said Spain's 25-year-old system of giving more and more self-rule to regions like Catalonia and the Basque region had spawned "a generation of Spaniards that do not recognize Spain as their fatherland."

The captain said that Spain today - from TV stations to everyday people - treated the country's armed forces with disrespect and that in recent years politicians have used deadly military accidents as fodder for attacking one another and scoring points in opinion polls.

Alluding to the punishment meted out against Mena Aguado, the captain said he had considered traveling to Madrid with soldiers under his command to deliver the letter personally to Defense Minister José Bono, but ultimately opted for the newspaper as a forum. Even so, he said he was aware that his public complaints probably doomed any chances of his ever being promoted.

The Defense Ministry and the army both declined to comment. Spanish National Radio quoted ministry sources as saying González Calderón would be disciplined by his superiors.
Warts and all, I'll take our system.

No comments: