Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The German Problem

If you wonder why NATO just hasn't been able to get it's game going in Afghanistan and why, as its largest European member, Germany just seemed like an outsider - this interview by Der Spiegel with the Commander of NATO's forces in Afghanistan, Gen. McKiernan (USA A) should help. For future use; remember that if you need a warfighter - don't look to Germany.
SPIEGEL: In the so-called caveats, or limitations to its deployments, that the German government submitted to NATO before taking part in the Afghanistan mandate, Germany claims it is unconstitutional to conduct a targeted killing unless there has been a direct attack. Are the Germans a particularly difficult ally?

McKiernan: If there is something the German military cannot do that the American military can do, then the decision has been a legal and political decision back in Germany, and I accept that. But as a soldier, I don't understand it. I don't understand ever putting your men and women in harm's way without their having the full ability to protect themselves. That also means operating on actionable intelligence to defeat insurgents and protect your forces. That's how you keep your soldiers alive.

SPIEGEL: NATO is constantly asking for additional soldiers and equipment. The latest request is for AWACS aircraft that are largely operated using German flight crews. Their mission would be to monitor the airspace -- and also help armed planes. For many Germans, who don't want to get involved in the battle, that goes one step too far.
In summary, Germany is more than happy to let Brits, Danes, Estonians, Canadians, and Americans fight and die - as long as they can feel happy about themselves and protected from reality by their betters.

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