The Bundeswehr needs a new Peter Struck

The high-risk evacuation campaign by the Bundeswehr and the Federal Foreign Office is polarizing: Some praise the fact that it was possible to get almost 5,500 people out of Kabul. Others draw attention to the many thousands, mainly Afghan, helpers from the Bundeswehr, aid organizations and the German embassy who are still having to wait in the country.

Their fate particularly affects the soldiers of the Bundeswehr, who worked closely with these so-called local forces on their mission to the Hindu Kush. You have the feeling that these people and the whole work of the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan have been betrayed. The management of the entire rescue operation alienates the troops more and more from their leadership.

You have to be grateful to the associations working within the Bundeswehr for expressing this openly. A silence on the part of the officers would be devastating, if only it would conceal the dramatically growing discontent in the troops.

Abolition of conscription became a problem

Even the abolition of compulsory military service posed the danger that the armed forces and society would become alienated. In addition: For years, our armed forces have been ridiculed internationally for not flying helicopters, the procurement of an inexactly shooting assault rifle and the delayed delivery of ordered equipment.

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Under the self-promoter Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the Bundeswehr was cut to pieces. The following Defense Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, was particularly noticeable with dubious procurement contracts. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer moved up when von der Leyens left, it was just the first vacancy in the cabinet. Accordingly, AKK also takes care of the troops. Who on the Internet site of the Bundeswehr to Afghanistan searches, you can still find the remarkable quote from the head of department in prominent places: “We are leaving Afghanistan with pride. We have fulfilled all the orders given to us by Parliament. ”

It is further damaging Kramp-Karrenbauer’s battered reputation that she did not travel to Tashkent in Uzbekistan until Friday to receive the rescuers from Kabul instead of leading the rescue operation from there for days. Show instead of engagement. All of this embittered many soldiers and gave a deep insight into how the political leadership of the Bundeswehr ticked.

Many soldiers want to remain calm instead of muddling through

The 2012 deceased SPD Defense Minister Peter Struck is the head of department who many in the troops mourn as the last real military politician at the top of the ministry. Ironically, Struck, who in 2001 with his sentence, “Germany’s security is also defended in the Hindu Kush”, sent the Bundeswehr to fight in Afghanistan. The attitude of the soldiers is not surprising, because Struck stood for attitude instead of muddling through.

A fresh start at the head of the Defense Ministry is urgently needed in order to stop the threat of profound alienation between the troops and the leadership. In any case, making the soldiers and officers independent would be extremely dangerous, as German history shows. New cases of right-wing extremism are always a warning sign. It takes a leadership that takes care of the troops on a daily basis, provides the best possible equipment and does not let barracks go moldy.

The Bundeswehr deserves respect, recognition and armed drones. These must be used much more restrictively than the US is doing in order to minimize the deaths of civilians in attacks on terrorists from the air. But it is inexplicable for the soldiers to send them into battle and risk their lives when there are other technical possibilities.

So we urgently need to rethink our defense policy. And that concerns us all – the Bundeswehr is a parliamentary army, so it is under the control of those elected by us. It is urgently time to come to terms with the mistakes of the recent past in depth – and for a new start at the top.

More: “Open war between Taliban and Islamic State.”


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