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German Soldiers in Afghanistan: Drinking Instead of Fighting

Transatlantic Media Network:

According to a German parliamentary report, the country's soldiers in Afghanistan downed about 1.7 million pints of beer and 90,000 bottles of wine in 2007. During the first six months of 2008, a further 896,000 pints of beer were shipped to the troops.

The report was particularly galling to other NATO forces, such as those of the United States and Britain, whose bases are dry. U.S. and British troops are engaged in heavy fighting in other parts of Afghanistan, whereas the Germans are kept away from the frontline and their combat role is tightly restricted by government-imposed limits.

The news was a gift, however, to the U.S. and British media, who combined the latest story with an earlier German armed forces study released in March, which found that more than 40 percent of German soldiers aged 18 to 29 were overweight - compared with 35 percent of German civilians of the same age.

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Pat Patterson on :

In fairness that 40% overweight figure came mostly from support personnel which are roughly 86% of the total German forces "fighting" in Afghanistan. That means the total number of overweight soldiers is twice the number of actual combat soldiers. What is worrisome is that PT and requalification for the identified overweight has been suspended because too many soldiers would be sent home according to the ROE. The drinking is certainly not a surprise as troops confined to their barracks with no regular schedule are likely to drink. The morale and discipline problems that are always the result are strangely not reported.

Marie Claude on :

perfid anglo-saxon medias, for once they forgot us LMAO

Zyme on :

Well how are you supposed to run a German garrison barracks in the middle of nowhere without a healthy supply of beer and wine? :D I would be suprised if the French handled things differently - Marie? If there was an average of 3500 Germans in Afghanistan throughout 2007, then each drank an average of 500 bottles of beer a year, meaning less than two bottles a day. My goodness, this merely helps to fall asleep :) Hopefully though it is not the alcohol supply that made the Army think about building a railway from Usbekistan into its main base in Afghanistan: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,3604866,00.html

Marie Claude on :

I got to investigate, :lol: uh, might be that they drink coca, last time I saw a video they were going to church, um they live nearby Americans, might be that they are influenced by them Well, I believe that the SODEXO restauration Cie serves their food and drinks, as it does for the american army, anyway, I'll try to find out

Joe Noory on :

Maybe some of them are going to because war has tuned them into a stronger sense of their own mortality, or they are like the many French churchgoers that I know. There aren't many atheists in foxholes, if you recall. Besides, a friend of mine over there says the french combat teams are dry, and that there aren't the complaints that were expected.

Marie Claude on :

Joe, check the video with the pasteur Isabelle, if I was a soldier, I would also go to her mass, everybody loves her. http : //pasteur.isabelle.maurel.le-blog.info/categorie-64710.html

John in Michigan, USA on :

"they drink coca" Is that is a Chocolate Summit joke? Nice. For fun, I tried to find the origin of that joke about the so-called Chocolate Summit. As far as I can tell, it started at the US State Department in a [url=http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2003/23671.htm]Sept, 2003 presser[/url], although the spokesman says he heard in from the press. I can't find any published press articles from before this date with phrases like "chocolate summit" or chocolate summiteers". The first printed reference in the press appears to be [url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/oct/21/nato.politics]Oct, 2003 in the Guardian[/url].

Marie Claude on :

I haven't seen a site that speaks of drinks, but though I know that some soldiers are of muslim origin, therefore no alcool, plus they are always on missions with the Afghani army, so no alcool there I don't think either that the french soldiers have the habit to drink any alcool, nor wine anymore (it was true for the precedent wars) most likely water and or sodas Got a german site that says it wasn't mere beer, but beer + coca http : //wiegold.focus.de/augen_geradeaus/2008/11/trinker-in-der.html

Zyme on :

This link speaks of a rule I had heard before - two tins á 0.5 liter of beer are allowed in the German camps. The average of 0.77 l consumed per day though is not only consumed by soldiers but also by political entourages or journalists. Also it is mentioned that alcohol is a highly prized "currency" of the German soldiers when bartering with allied soldiers. So all in all I cannot see how this amount is a problem.

Pamela on :

In all honesty, I have not seen a word about this in American media - a few things in British media but if there has been anything in U.S. media it has been so quietly done I completely missed it. In the UK reports I read, they also noted German military sources as saying the German effort to train the Afghan police has been a total failure - a much more important issue to focus on, I think.

microgod on :

You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer. Frank Zappa

John in Michigan, USA on :

I salute various attempts to calculate the average blood-alcohol levels of German troops. Facts are good. And I agree, there probably isn't enough drinking, on average, to be a problem. However, my concern is the propaganda aspects of it. Having foreign troops in the country is bad enough. Permitting them to possess alcohol is a free gift to the Islamist propaganda machine. I sincerely wish I were joking on this second point, but sadly, I am not. We've had the argument that German's distinct history makes it nearly impossible to participate in military expeditions, and I accept that argument up to a point. But what on earth is the justification for permitting alcohol in an Islamic country? Is the German Ministry of Defense actually in control its troops, or not? Do the soldiers have "rights" or something silly like that? To be fair, US DFACs (Dining Facilities) serve pork on a regular basis in Iraq; maybe they do in Afghanistan but I hope not. But then, Iraq has long been more tolerant of that sort of thing - even limited alcohol production in country (beer, I think) has been permitted their since Saddam's time, or before that. Officially for Christian or other non-Muslim consumption, unofficially who knows. But Afghanistan even before the Taliban was more strict; and during the Taliban it was unbelievably strict.

Zyme on :

"Is the German Ministry of Defense actually in control its troops, or not? Do the soldiers have "rights" or something silly like that?" Well I can hardly imagine that. Surely among combat troops as the Quick Reaction Force no alcohol is permitted while on the move. For the others it simply is a matter of upkeeping morale. How are you supposed to keep your soldiers in good psychological shape without any alcohol at night when being stationed in some stronghold in the middle of nowhere? "We've had the argument that German's distinct history makes it nearly impossible to participate in military expeditions, and I accept that argument up to a point. But what on earth is the justification for permitting alcohol in an Islamic country?" I don't share that point of view. One has to respect certain basic cultural aspects, sure - which includes not handing out alcohol to locals. But apart from that, it is not their buisness. Every islamist willing to fight the troops because of this probably already has a thousand other reasons to do so. Should the other Afghans be so focused on this issue that they cannot tolerate it, they are free to ask the German ambassador to take home his troops..

Pat Patterson on :

It's not necessarily the consumption of alcohol, though by following Zyme's reasoning then drunkards and alcoholics will have the best morale, it is that the German military is simply not keeping a training or PT schedule which would keep the soldiers busy, sharp and tired. If the politicians are afraid that the public won't support the soldiers then the soldiers basically sit and rot. Then no one has any real confidence in them including the soldiers themselves. Every military in the world needs an institutional memory of combat, legtimate is best obviously, because when it is vital for national defense the soldiers will run unless of course the Bundeswehr is planning to us MP battalions to hunt down and shoot deserters and slackers.

Zyme on :

"It's not necessarily the consumption of alcohol, though by following Zyme's reasoning then drunkards and alcoholics will have the best morale" Hello? We are talking about less than two pints of beer a day in average. There is a limit of two pints for everyone - which hardly qualifies for a drunkard. Keeping the German military busy the way you described has been seen rather unfavourably among your ancestors, who then used their occupational powers to impose a constitution on us that we have to live with now. Either way you are not content, but blaming us nonetheless.

Pat Patterson on :

No, we are talking about a country that doesn't want to honor its agreements with NATO unless those agreements are now to be argued "moot" to soothe German guilt over the free ride it now has. And since when, in the last 60 years has Germany been criticized by the American government for keeping its troops trained, fit and equipped. Plus why don't you read the comment I made which clearly did not blame the consumption of beer for the poor state of the German military. But rather a lack of confidence by its leaders and itself. And the fact that the ISAF is in the difficult position of wanting the Germans to engage more directly but also being well aware that the Americans, the Canadians, the British and French will call for help from the Netherlands and Norway before asking for German aid because of the poor state of preparedness and institutional sloth. Plus get a grip! If Germany is feeling that its constitution was the result of force then change it.

Zyme on :

"Plus get a grip! If Germany is feeling that its constitution was the result of force then change it." Hard to think of a bigger nonsense I have read recently. Change the constitution? Yeah, let's get a grip and go ahead! Oh wait, dammit I have sworn an oath to protect the contitution when I entered public service. Well then another one will have to do the job! The established parties which gain all their power from the constitutional order? Nah they won't mind. Getting a new constitution they want at least as much as Mugabe does! Oh and the various secret services named "protection of the constitution" - we will just have to rename them to "Protection of the NEW constitution" !! That will do the job! You certainly should sign up with the American diplomatic korps and relocate to Berlin. With suggestions like these, Americans would finally be smiled at again.

Pat Patterson on :

So amendments and new articles are not allowed? Or how about Article 146 which allows for a new constitution and plebiscite? Plus doesn't this create problems for older German civil servants in that they don't necessarily feel obligated to obey any of the changes to the Basic Law since they took their oath? The fact remains that Germany can change its constitution but simply chooses not to for a variety of increasingly paper thin reasons. There simply is no political will to change and when the lack of political confidence or determination simply blame it on the US. But the US is not reponsible for the sad state of German military strength, we did not confine the Germans to barracks or allow a huge chunk of the support staff to end up looking like Pillsbury Doughboys.

Zyme on :

Yeah sure you can change parts of it with a 2/3 majority in both houses - but not the integral core parts. Now how are you supposed to find a 2/3 majority that wants the government to be using its military freely when most people don't believe we are facing a threat that can be fought with the military but rely on the police and secret services instead? Also the military restrictions are one of the fundamental parts which would need too much of a change which could find majorities. For a different stance look at the problems with Pirates at the Coast of Somalia: This issue is not associated with "American interests" but hits core interests of an export nation like ours - the pirates are a danger to our trade. In such a case the political majorites are quick to find, as everyone understands the need to fight pirates. The need to push islamists back in a huge rock of a country somewhere in central Asia by contrast is not shared by the majority. And who can blame them? Have you seen any major islamist terror strikes in our country? Before that happens there will be no real support. "Or how about Article 146 which allows for a new constitution and plebiscite?" This one has no practical use. I even believe you could pursue a new constitution, as long as it follows the same core principles as the old one. Then you might ask what use this policy has - none. If you wanted to enact a different one, you would be prosecuted as an "enemy to the free and democratical order". So forget about this one.

Pat Patterson on :

But, for all the misplaced sarcasm, it still seems obvious that it is actually easier to change the German Basic Law than it is for the US to change its constitution. But the supposed inviolability of the Basic Law, whether imposed or happily acceded to, is not the reason the German military is as Joe points out, "...fat, happy and stupid." That must remain the province of its civilian and military overseers. Who seem to find defense from any criticism by pointing at the Basic Law and arguing that it was forced upon the Germans yet they are perfectly happy not to change it. Well, accept for all the times they have changed it.

Zyme on :

Well can't you understand that it gets on one's nerves to be called to the front while our legal framework - the same one the Allies saw fit in 1949 - prevents us from such free adventures? What I also never understand is the naive belief that the Americans would benefit from the discussed change in the constitution. What makes you believe that Berlin would not use these freedoms to its advantage even when interests collide with Washington's interests? Besides - the more the American side demands a change, the more suspicious such changes become to the German public. After all this contributes to the smell of American interests - and the majority here wants no part in that.

Joe Noory on :

That verbal pressure you're talking about had nothing to do with Afghanistan, it had to do with the Balkans, a region WITHIN EUROPE that the European states were struggling with tend to, but wanted the US, a nation [b]an ocean away[/b] to be the catalyst in THEIR OWN EFFORT to engage in stabilization. In effect, it was an act of "nation building" the core European states, not the Balkans. Yet somehow we're the external "enemy" subject to this sort of passive-aggressive nonsense for decades. Your statement is stunning in the self-important attitude it reveals. Germany, a nation of 80 million people is no different that most of the EU in thinking that it can hide from world events. All it does is leave vaccuum of envolvement and responsible leadership. No number of conferences, transnational HQ sites, and press releases can paper over this reality. Oh, and while the US is ready to hand over Iraq's security to the Iraqis, the Balkans remain under foreign management. EULEX, is just now 'rebranding' the effort in Kosovo with largely the same personnel, structures, and yet fewer Kosovars. The Balkan states' sectarian difficulties, impossible inability to reconstitute itself, and all the rest of it go conveniently ignored. THAT is what this avoidance of problems, even inside geographical Europe, gets you.

Zyme on :

Well Eulex is an effort to pacify the region. The most promising to date. Probably never was a nation built from scratch with so many foreign experts in relation to the population at work. But that is not the primary reason why I expect this one to work - the EU is. Serbia and Kosovo are on the integrational track. Once they have joined the empire, these conflicts will be history, as they will be both equal(ly irrelevant)

Pat Patterson on :

I think you need to reread what I said as I was remarking that the failure of Germany in Afghanistan is of its own political and military making. Which is then inevitably followed by claims that the Basic Law make them not act and the inference that the Basic Law was forcefully enacted. I merely pointed out that the Basic Law and be changed and it has and that a new constitution, unlikely, could be called for. If, as of 1994, the Basic Law was malleable enough to allow deployment within a NATO TO then might not it be reasonable for the other NATO countries to expect that the Germans also do some of the heavy lifting instead of going into a defensive crouch. I admit that I said to change the Basic Law because initially Zyme seemed to delegitimize its legality by the historical nature of its creation. What was confusing is that immediately after implying its lack of legitimacy then the switch is that it's a sacred document that cannot and should not be altered in anyway or else the world wlll fly of its orbit.

Zyme on :

Take only a look at Japan - again a country that your country imposed a constitution upon. And where are they today? They are not simply doing too little - they cannot even provide ANY expeditionary battle troops at all. Will you now accuse them of hiding behind a constitution your ancestors shaped as well?

Pat Patterson on :

EULEX, the latest of a string of lawyers and flat-footed policemen descending on Kosovo. The EULEX that was supposed to be fully staffed, 2,000+, last February and seems to find itself some 60% short of its promised and bragged upon numbers. The EULEX that still has to call KFOR for a ride to the Kosovaran version of the 7/11 because the Kosovars suspect that it is just a front for the Serbians who still talk of taking back parts of Mother Serbia and ridding the province of the "lice." But almost a good point on Japan except it is not a member of NATO and has no treaty obligations to dance around as Germany is attempting. One day Germany will look around on the continent and be surprised that once again it has managed to anger everyone of the allies it has so painstakingly created since World War II because of political inertia and a certain kind of institutional cowardice that would not even come to the aid of the Norwegians, the Danes, the Dutch or the Canadians who have had, on a per capita basis, 10 to 25 times the casualty rate fighting in a war that its populace may not support. But a war that is clearly part of the legal obligations of NATO. Germanys' reputation for reliability has already taken a hit and now more stories, not just in the US and the UK, are examining how ineffective the German forces truly are. It must be galling that 400 soldiers of Norway,that are attached to a German unit are who are called for in an emergency and not the Germans. What is especially worrisome is that the one unit of the Bundeswehr that had a good reputation for professionalism, the KSK, is now only used rarely because of ROEs and that their response time to requests takes hours and not minutes as the situation demands.

Zyme on :

Pat the Norwegians have already been replaced by the Germans in the Quick Reaction Force months ago. Also do you think Treaty obligations are identical between defensive and offensive wars? Last but not least - you will have a hard time finding public support in any country in Europe for "American" wars. The future lies in a European alliance. So be happy about being able to rail against European allies who have mostly started to focus on a different Alliance as long as they still are in Nato.

Pat Patterson on :

Absolutely right on the Norwegians! How can there be a different alliance if the countries are still in NATO? I think that Germany must answer that question, especially if this is an offensive war, as Germany voted then asked for NATO to take over most of the command in Afghanistan in 2003. That might indicate that questions of offensive or defensive wars has been decided by the Germans in 2003 else why would they have asked for the creation of the ISAF as well as promising and never delivering 3,900 combat troops and support personnel as well as training the Afghanistan police. With some consistency Germany managed to acheive one of its three goals. Where exacrly did I rail against European allies when the only country I have criticized is Germany. Nations much smaller than Germany have honored their commitments and maybe even understand that the idea of getting a free ride from history ended in 1939.

Zyme on :

I took it for granted that when you critizise the German commitment you would also not agree to - let's say - the Italian or Spanish approach. Their populations are both more than half the size of Germany and could also provide a recognizable contribution. "How can there be a different alliance if the countries are still in NATO?" Why can't there be another one? Surely you have not overlooked the European efforts on a common security and defense policy, which will become even further entrenched should the Treaty of Lisbon be enacted. Even the British have recently shown a good deal of support for a Common European Army. (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article5014832.ece) Now when even the British have a favourable stance, who might actually prevent this process from going on?

Joe Noory on :

Zyme - Can you identify one meaningful outcome of some over-publicized security agreement out of Lisbon or one meaningful effort by any of the EU member participants since? When the large part of the Europeans commit to any of this stuff, it's out of diplomatic obligation to talk and talk and then look serious by signing something. It's done out of something that look not so much as strategic policy as it does something an advertizing executive and an accountant ginned up: the idea of trying to extract the maximum gain by doing as little as humanly possible resulting in no effective envolvment in security and stability anywhere on earth. The idea behind all the talking and talking and then signing something in front of the cameras is to appear to be at the center of things and doing something. The European Union is the wealthiest single entity on earth. It benefits more than anyone on earth from the stability and security provided by others - the shipping lanes, the financial transfer structures, transportation, the security that creats a market for their expensive exports, pricey rubbish, and the platform to peddle the mental mush that they think are social democratic ideas and pushing obsessions like constructing an idealized ecology, or "preserving" a concept wilderness that they don't have anymore. Done to extract maximum gain at little or no cost, all of the yackity-yack it done to give them leverage over others for no clear purpose. It isn't like they are that interested in advancing the freedom of the individual, pluralism, or economic growth in any real way. In many ways it goes horribly wrong and required delusional revision, like the idea that the efforts of the EU-3 for the past 5 years have put a dent in Ahmedinejad's aggression. In fact if you read this "thinktank" report, there are people out there who are [url=http://www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de/cps/rde/xchg/SID-0A000F0A-0C70565C/bst_engl/hs.xsl/nachrichten_91306.htm]willing to tell themseleves[/url] that they have accomplished something, when all they did was cover for the party across the table.

Zyme on :

"Can you identify one meaningful outcome of some over-publicized security agreement out of Lisbon or one meaningful effort by any of the EU member participants since?" A meaningful outcome would be the creation of a European defensive alliance. Now you may say what is it worth with European partners in - either way it is certainly more worth than an alliance that is associated with American interests. "Done to extract maximum gain at little or no cost, all of the yackity-yack it done to give them leverage over others for no clear purpose." That my friend is the principle of maximum efficiency. Can you blame those politicians? Every efficient being seeks to gain most by doing the least. "It isn't like they are that interested in advancing the freedom of the individual, pluralism, or economic growth in any real way." In my opinon you are right. Contrary to common propaganda (which is very useful of course) this is not the Eu's mission towards the world. In fact it is highly doubtful whether the EU contributes to these humanistical ideals even within its own realm. But I do not consider these points the fundament of the EU. The EU is here to bundle and pursue European interests in the world - e.g. sustain and increase our wealth. That is basically what this is all about. "It benefits more than anyone on earth from the stability and security provided by others" It sure does - but you can be assured of this: the more its militaries integrate over time, the more Brussels will be ready and willing to defend its interests should the Americans cease to do so. "In many ways it goes horribly wrong and required delusional revision, like the idea that the efforts of the EU-3 for the past 5 years have put a dent in Ahmedinejad's aggression." Now this is a totally different story. The EU-3 (Germany at the biggest extent) in my opinion have launched this diplomatical effort to appease the Americans and to preserve the current order in the Orient. Just like with the former Iraq, German export economy (and to a lesser extent other European ones) has very good relations with the Iranian counterparts. This diplomatical effort kept the Americans from attacking and attempting another regime change - so it worked, didn't it?

Pat Patterson on :

German foreign policy worked so well that in the time it stalled and protected Iran the range of the Shahab series of missiles went from 1,500 to 4,300 kilomters. Plus a new variant called the Shahab6 has a range of 6,300 kilometers which could mean that some of the internal guidance systems which Dassault and Mercedes are supplying could give Germany an extra 2 minutes to prepare while the Shahab is trying to figure out where is Berlin. Which means that now Germany is in range of the missiles it so kindly kept from being either destroyed or negotiated away. That is a stunning success and all for the sake of a couple of hundred Mercedes C-type diesel taxis.

Zyme on :

Don't become paranoid here - ever thought about why you are more worried than the government here is? Iran's armament surely is a rather serious development, but in the end it mainly serves as a counter to Israel's armament. Thus a balance of power is re-established and especially the latter will have to be more careful with its audacious air strikes.

Kevin Sampson on :

Maybe because the government there is living in a fools paradise. When and where did the Israelis launch any ‘audacious’ airstrikes against Iran? Or are you referring to the attack on the al Khibar facility in Syria? Are you OK with them having the bomb too?

Zyme on :

I was referring to all their air strikes without declaration of war - most notably against Lebanon and Iraq. Do you think it is stabilizing to have a country acting up as the regional sheriff while it is accepted by virtually none of its neighbours? Stability in the region can only be achieved when there is an opponent armed with comparable weaponry. Only then Israel will think twice about its actions in the future. It is this distorted availability of weapons of mass distraction that creates most of the instability in the region. Just imagine what would happen if of all the countries in South America, only a small country like Uruguay would have nuclear weapons at its disposal. Don't you think that all of a sudden this small country would gain the same overblown self-confidence towards its neighbours which Israel has maintained?

Pat Patterson on :

Only Egypt and Jordan have made peace with Israel a state of war exists with Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the PLO still have not made peace. Armed attacks against any of these countries or entities do not need a declaration of war. They are perfectly legal and it should be noted that since signing peace agreements, even with some extralegal provocations, Israel has not attacked either country. And with peace comes economic growth and some form of political liberalization. Both Eqypt and Jordan have economies that, except for Saudi Arabia, have far outstripped the non-treaty states. Neither Canada or Mexico have nuclear weapons and both seem relatively peaceful in spite of the US being the only possesor of nuclear weapons in the Western Hemisphere.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Even if Israeli air strikes are both legal and justified, Zyme is still correct to call the audacious.

Kevin Sampson on :

'Who dares, wins'

Zyme on :

So do you think the airstrike against the nuclear facilities in Iraq in 1981 were legal? http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/june/7/newsid_3014000/3014623.stm Face it, Israel does not care about the legality of its actions - only its state of paranoia determines its foreign policy.

John in Michigan, USA on :

It is hard not to admire the results, but the legality of it is a difficult question. The legal basis for the Israeli attack on the reactor was roughly as strong as was the case for President Clinton's 1998 bombing of the Iraqi intelligence HQ. Both countries had been at war with Iraq (Israel since 1949, US since 1991). Iraq and Israel never even agreed to an armistice agreement, not to mention an actual peace agreement. Iraq and the US had agreed to an armistice, but it had been repeatedly violated by Iraq before 1998.

Pat Patterson on :

Woudn't the question be when has Israel attacked, provoked or not, any country that it has a peace agreement with? Has Israel attacked Egypt or Jordan? The other coutries refuse to even sign cease fires and some have allowed armed attacks against Israel from their territory which is in violation of Article 2 of the Geneva Conventions. Now whether these attacks have secured some peace for Israel, compared to being overrun I would say yes, there is now doubt that Israeli attacks, even on the flimsiest of excuses or evidence are legal and to be expected in times of war. There are daily armed attacks and attempted attacks as well as rocket attacks against Israel on a daily basis. The argument that the other nations by acquiring nuclear weapons would be more peaceful seems counterintuitive considering that during the Cold War there were a series of indirect wars between the West and the USSR that always tried to stay just below the level of one side feeling threatened or damaged enough to use one of its weapons. The ratcheting down of the tension in Europe is not from the scrapping of some of Russia's nuclear arms but from the shrinking of their conventional forces. John-You forgot to mention the video clip of Iran's Isotope Dance from a few years ago. They weren't dancing for the peaceful use of nuclear weapons but the glory of having made one more step in the process of acquiring a bomb.

Pat Patterson on :

Third line from the bottom of the first paragraph should read, "...there is no doubt..." not now!

John in Michigan, USA on :

"Do you think it is stabilizing to have a country acting up as the regional sheriff while it is accepted by virtually none of its neighbours?" You seem to think Russia can do this regional sheriff act, and that none of its neighbors (most of whom object, except for Germany) are entitled to "comparable weaponry". Why shouldn't Israel get the same benefit of the doubt? Another problem: your analogy seems to imply that if Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, etc. all did like Iran and built "comparable weaponry", that it would some how be stabilizing for the region. Do you really think that? Historically, these regimes have spent as much time time fighting amongst themselves as they've spent fighting Israel.

Marie Claude on :

Saudi Arabia don't need "comparable weaponery", they got sure, by financing Hilary's campaign that the Americans will still make their war !!!! um, bizarre that they bet on the right horse !!!!

John in Michigan, USA on :

Marie-Claude, I see you've read the donation list to her husband's library and charities. That is funny, that by loosing, Hilary ends up in a position to do the Saudis as many favors as if she won. Since she is less visible than the President, perhaps she has even have more freedom to represent her clients, than she would have as President. At this point, she is probably more dependent on Saudi funds than the Bush family ever was. To be fair, I don't believe she is part of some grand Islamist conspiracy. She is a useful idiot to them, nothing more. Besides, she will be terribly busy servicing her Indonesian and Chinese clients. She should really declare this conflict of interest.

Marie Claude on :

well, then SHE is carrying the same policy as Bush's also Madoff's friends have been monitoring Obama for quite a while, since Chicago, so on this side too, no change !!! ah the poor Americans that voted for a "change" !!! but the change will come inspite of the fine team in DC, cause the economical crisis will go worst, so, que sera sera even for us !!!

John in Michigan, USA on :

It was only AFTER I posted above, that I read this WSJ article. Great minds think alike. "[url=http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122973267337523001.html]A Middle East Arms Race[/url]" The Bush plan was to parachute Ann Coulter into Afghanistan. The Obama plan is to parachute Hillary Clinton to defend the Saudis. But NATO will not defend Turkey, nor will Jimmy Carter parachute into Egpyt, so that's two counties that will need the bomb if Iran gets it. Hmmm...why doesn't Turkey feel very threatened by Israel's nukes? Perhaps because Israel doesn't entertain its public with weekly promises of Turkish genocide?

Zyme on :

"You seem to think Russia can do this regional sheriff act, and that none of its neighbors (most of whom object, except for Germany) are entitled to "comparable weaponry". Why shouldn't Israel get the same benefit of the doubt?" Because Russia is a regional power not because of distorted distribution of weaponry. It fulfills the traditonal role of taking care of its backyard and brings in the size and geopolitical influence necessary.

quo vadis on :

You're just making this stuff up as you go along. International law for some, "size and geopolitical influence" for others? And just how does one get out of someone else's backyard? Not too long ago there was a backyard fence running right down the middle of Germany, but now Germany get's it's own backyard at the expense of it's neighbors?

Zyme on :

"International law for some, "size and geopolitical influence" for others?" I have to agree to your observation - I really took different standards. On the bottom line though this is not unjustified for different countries: Without Russia, would stability of its neighbours increase? And would on the other hand stability among Israel's neighours decrease without its aggressive influence?

Kevin Sampson on :

How do you explain the fact that arab military action against Israel began with the creation of Israel in 1948, predating Israeli nuclear capability by approximately 20 years?

Zyme on :

I did not say that this distorted availability of nuclear weaponry has caused the conflict - it maintains the conflict to a great deal. Once an opponent is equally armed, things will calm down quickly.

Kevin Sampson on :

Ridiculous. For twenty years the opponents WERE equally armed. In fact, the arabs enjoyed enormous numerical superiority, and it was only their own ineptitude that prevented them from achieving their goal of wiping out Israel. Yet the arabs continued to launch conventional and unconventional attacks on Israel. Your claim that nuclear parity would end, or even reduce, the conflict is not supported by the historical record. On the contrary, if history is any indicator the arabs would undoubtedly use a nuclear weapon against Israel if they came into possession of one, though the actual attack would be carried out by one of the plethora of terrorist groups created for this purpose. Whether this will hold true for the Persians is unclear, but I see no compelling reason exclude the possibility.

Tim on :

You know this is stupid and nothing but a bunch of bull. In war the morale is already low. Sooooo frigen what they drink a little beer. The Heer was founded in 1955 as the army of West Germany. In the aftermath of the German reunification of 1990, the National People's Army of the former German Democratic Republic was integrated into the West German Army. The German army has been reducd to a force equal to our National Guard...have you guys ever seen 90% of our National Guardsman in uniform, DOUGHBOYS exactly...fat and nasty. Lets not knock the Germans for having a pint a day...big deal. Many forget it took several countries to stop Germany in WWII and if you talk to anyone who had to fight against them you'd know they were one tough bunch and we could have lost that war as well. Have some respect for god sakes......... NATO, the US and other Europe counties are mainly reponsible for the German Army's condition today. We called them war mongers and frowned on them and reduced their Army to almost nothing and now were like "Germany whats up step up your game" your fat and nasty"...beir drinkers....... ummmmm NO. That is not fair and i'll even go as far as to say that if you were to match up their Kommando Spezialkräfte to ours we'd be in trouble. The Allies dissolved and hamstrung the German Army on 20 August 1946 and what they were ALLOWED is what they have today. Muscle does weigh more than fat, and I find it hard to believe the Germans are too fat to fight, besides Germans are bigger boned anyway. German soldiers are German. They're not going to give up beer and sausages. Given half a chance, though, they'll be an elite military force and able to kick the crap out of many. Have a beer on me, and “Better an honest enemy than a false friend” Tim "Semper Fi" "Made in the USA with German Parts"

Pat Patterson on :

Germany, by choice, has not met its NATO agreed spending goals for years and that has caused considerable unrest in the US. But it was the Russians and the Germans in 1994 that agreed to cut the German military from 600,000+ to around 370,000. NATO didn't have much choice in the matter and had to acquiesce in light of the total collapse of civilian authority in the GDR. In the 70's the reconstituted German army was one of the most modern in the world and a linchpin in NATO strategy in Europe vs. a Soviet military that was almost five times larger than the combined ground forces of NATO. But a continuation of conscription began to create a lack of seriousness and cohesiveness in the military. And the sometimes neccessity for coaltion governments using left parties that were hostile not only to the military but NATO as well meant German military policy was constantly being pulled in different directions and short changed in new equipment and training as various governments always could rationalize spending the money else where. Most of the SOF guys I have talked with usually admire the French because they can fight and are not to sure of the Germans because the ROE simply doesn't allow the kind of action that builds confidence in its allies.

David on :

"Germany, by choice, has not met its NATO agreed spending goals for years and that has caused considerable unrest in the US." Yes exactly! Tens of millions of Americans have lost their health insurance, and millions more are losing their jobs in the worst recession since the Great Depression. But what is ruining Christmas for us in America is the thought that Germany is not living up to its NATO spending goals. Unrest from coast to coast! Merry Christmas, my friends. And I hope that Germany's NATO-intransigence is not ruining your holidays, Frohe Weihnachten und Guten Rutsch ins Obama-Jahr!

Marie Claude on :

At least, I hope they get enough beer :lol: frölische Weihnachten

Pat Patterson on :

I take it that David does not recognize hyperbole unless it is defense of Sen. Obama.

Jason on :

From a US Soldier; There was a time when a country, especially their respective army, being labeled as "unfit to fight" or "cowards" by others was a serious insult. That insult would usually motivate them to correct the problems, and indeed, there are problems in this instance. However, some European countries in NATO bask in this label and seemingly enjoy their position to hide behind it. "Man up you cowards!" "Come down to southern Afghanistan and regain your honor with us!" has been the US, British, Canadian, Aussies and a handful of other small countries pleas. So far, these pleas have all gone unheeded. Even when those countries needed serious help in combat situations. Rightfully earning the unwilling their labels and reputations (from their allies and from the enemy) as countries who are too weak and too scared to fight. All I can say is enjoy the shame from the world over, you've earned it! SGT JM, 82nd ABN DIV, US ARMY

John in Michigan, USA on :

Jason, We have been debating the question of national caveats a lot here. Do you get the impression that the German, etc. soldiers you talk about would be willing to fight if their politicians allowed it? Or are they not willing to fight even then? Thanks for your service.

Jason on :

I believe it is like this. You are only as good of a soldier, or army, as your leadership requires you to be. Meaning; If my government takes the stance that we are going to patrol, close with, engage and destroy the enemy, then as soldiers we are going to be prepared to execute exactly what is required of us. I've served twice in Afghanistan and the countries stationed in the south and east along the Paki border have this very mindset. However, other mentioned countries do not have this mindset and I would have to conclude that most are not prepared to fight beside us. I'm not saying that all German soldiers are unwilling or cowards, some of them very well could be, but I do know that Germany's SF unit was stationed in the peaceful north and not once in all the years did they ever go "outside the wire" and give support. And any attempt to get help from the German main contingent by way of reinforcements, air support, or medivac was all strictly denied. So, yeah, I guess you could say the troops fighting are pretty pissed about the warm weathered vacation (brat and beer party) going on up North. I'm sure it would be hard for them to give that up and go fight, but by their government caveats and no international pressure, we may never find out the answer. The irony here is this, the US has soldiers stationed all over Germany. 2 years ago we brought up the notion that we may move most, if not all, US forces out of Germany to Holland. The German gov't begged us to stay, not only to continue to serve as an umbrella for thier security, but also for their own military training and economy. We agreed, and yet, here we are. Pitiful.

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