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Thread: Germans in Afghanistan

  1. #41
    Council Member Firn's Avatar
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    While an Investigation and the threat of a prosecution wasn't a nice experince for Col. Klein, I think it was a legal necessity. Finally there is at least some legal certainty. Hopefully this will encourage the german Army to act resolute in battle and disperse the notion that german soldiers are under the threat of prosecution for every warlike action. Still, the bombing itself shouldn't be taken as an example on how to conduct operations.
    So at least the legal aspect has become far clearer - this will be very welcome news indeed for the German soldiers in Afghanistan. The question of the political will remains, but this should not take away from this very important ruling.


    Firn

  2. #42
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    Default Agreed, that ....

    from Igel
    ".... it was a legal necessity. Finally there is at least some legal certainty."
    Hat tip to Igel for this update.

    Every difference of opinion on how to conduct warfare should NOT result in a "war crimes" invesigation.

    The German statute (Völkerstrafgesetzbuch) looks to the actual perception of the soldier at the time:

    3. carries out an attack by military means and definitely anticipates that the attack will cause death or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects on a scale out of proportion to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated,
    Thus, the legal question becomes one of whether the soldier believed at the time that he (or she) was attacking combatants (even though some civilians might also be believed to be there - when "proportionality" has to be considered).

    Regards
    Mike

  3. #43
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    Default German troops to get US attack helicopters...

    ......I found this interesting given the Tigre/Tiger attack helicopter programme looked pretty solid a fews ago (i.e., before the recession). IMO it's a pretty capable platform. Back when the UK needed an Attack helo Euromil offered Britain 90 odd Tigers for the price of the 67 AH-64D's we eventually got (I remember arguing for the Tiger at the time at Uni!). Anyway, according to the English language German newspaper The Local German troops to recieve US "combat" helicopters. The article provides no indication of which helicopters Germany is aquiring/borrowing; "combat" helicopters doesn't necessarily mean "Attack" (although it is implied in the headline) and could also mean "assault" (i.e., UH-60), "medium transport" (i.e., Ch-47). I know the French and German governments are looking to/or are already co-operating with Russia on the Mi-38 programme (as part of the Euromil consortium) for a medium assault transport/lift helo (IMO much more cost effective than Britain's EH-101 for a similar capability). Defence Minister Guttenberg also ...
    ...promised to provide soldiers with two new PzH 2000 armed [sic]vehicles "as soon as possible" during a surprise visit with troops stationed at headquarters in Northern Afghanistan
    Last edited by Tukhachevskii; 05-17-2010 at 09:44 AM. Reason: Broken links; G-d I HATE links!!!!!!!!!!!! (Also forgot to add Tiger link)

  4. #44
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    The PzH2000 thin is old news. They'll probably arrive by November.

    I wait for confirmation before I believe the helicopter story (the Tiger is expected to be operational by late 2012, and German Apache crews wouldn't be available much sooner anyway - and there's no need for 50.
    The most likely explanation for the claim is that the U.S. moves simply some helos up to the North.
    The source (Bild) is a crappy wannabe-newspaper. Big letters, primitive stories, strong conservative bias, #### on page 1.

  5. #45
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Yep, another newspaper (in German, the kinda serious brother of the Bild) confirmed that the U.S. will move 50 helicopters to the North, not give them to the Bundeswehr.

  6. #46
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Default Politics, Economics, and Security...

    Firn, Igel, Fuchs, and Mike,

    Many projects have at least three parts, a political part, a economic part, and a technical one (security in this case). In theory at least, all portions of a project need to be at least somewhat synchronized or harmonized in order to achieve success (defining success, however, can be tough)...

    Recent German elections in the Land (or State) of North Rhine Westphalia, the most populous state with ~ 18 million out of ~82 million people, point towards a democratic dissatisfaction with the direction of Germany's course under the current political coalition. Does this particular Land represent the national consensus across all 16 of Germany's Lander?

    The majority of the reporting seems to focus upon economic (Euro) issues at this point, but as we have discussed previously over 60% of German voters seem to be against the Afghanistan expedition.

    From the May 13th edition of the Economist, Now what?

    MAY 9th is not a day Angela Merkel will soon forget. First voters in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany’s most populous state, booted the chancellor’s allies out of office, meting out her worst political drubbing in more than five years in office. That evening European finance ministers meeting in Brussels armed a financial bomb to deter speculators threatening the stability of the euro (see article). It seemed to work, but may also demolish Germans’ long-term trust in the single currency. Both events will transform Mrs Merkel’s chancellorship.

    The setbacks are at least partly of her own making. In NRW voters unseated a coalition between her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) akin to the one she leads nationally. That was in part a slap at Mrs Merkel’s seven-month-old government. Jürgen Rüttgers, the defeated CDU premier, had struggled against a “headwind” from Berlin, she acknowledged.
    From the 9 May edition of the German Newspaper/Magazine Stern, Warum NRW Berlin erzittern lässt

    Dort leben knapp 18 Millionen Menschen, deutlich mehr als in den Niederlanden, Belgien oder der Schweiz, von Dänemark ganz zu schweigen. Von diesen 18 Millionen Menschen sind 13,5 Millionen wahlberechtigt. Allein deswegen werden die Landtagswahlen in NRW völlig zu Recht als "kleine Bundestagswahl" bezeichnet. Darüber hinaus ist NRW eine Art politischer Seismograph: Die Ergebnisse spiegeln auch die (Un-)Zufriedenheit mit der Bundesregierung.
    Last edited by Surferbeetle; 05-18-2010 at 08:34 AM.
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  7. #47
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surferbeetle View Post
    Does this particular Land represent the national consensus across all 16 of Germany's Lander?
    Our equivalent of a senate is manend with representatives of the state governments - they do always vote according to the state government's line and are exchanged with a change of power in that state.

    The recent election destroyed Merkel's majority in the Bundesrat (~senate).
    This means that the German federal government cannot push federal bills into law* if those laws incurr additional responsibilities on the states (that would give the Bundestag the right to be included in the process).

    This is not going to be relevant for defence or foreign policy.

    *: (The Bundestag ~congress is usually loyal to the government because the government is almost always a coalition project that the parliamentarians agreed to as well)



    Besides; Germans are always unsatisfied with a government that's not reforming or active in times of crisis. This means that conservatives are always unpopular in such times because they're the embodiment of "no real reform". <- my political opinion
    The greater problem is at this time the junior coalition partner, the FDP (liberals, most pro-business party in Germany). The did some horrendous things and their chairman is an opposition politician (has led the FDP in opposition for about a decade) who's apparently useless as minister (he's foreign minister).
    Last edited by Fuchs; 05-18-2010 at 10:02 AM.

  8. #48
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Default More eloquent than I....

    Fuchs,

    As always I appreciate your european-based analysis. I do wonder about this statement however,

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post

    This is not going to be relevant for defence or foreign policy.
    From the FT The death of the European dream, By Gideon Rachman
    Published: May 17 2010

    What Europe represents is not so much raw power as the power of an idea – a European dream. For internationalists everywhere, for believers in much deeper co-operation between nations, for those pushing for the establishment of an international legal order, the EU is a beacon of hope.

    If the European experiment begins to unravel – after more than 60 years of painstaking advances – then the ideas that Europe represents will also suffer severe damage. Rival ideas – the primacy of power over law, the enduring supremacy of the nation state, authoritarianism – may gain ground instead.

    The foreign supporters of the European dream are not just obscure professors at American liberal arts colleges – although there are plenty of those. The fans of the European dream include the prime minister of Japan and the president of the US.
    While the EU’s foreign admirers are on the defensive, international Eurosceptics are in the ascendancy. Charles Grant, head of the Centre for European Reform, a pro-EU think-tank, says he has been struck on his recent travels by the growing disdain for Europe in Delhi, Beijing and Washington. “We’re seen as locked into permanent economic and demographic decline, and our pretensions to hard power are treated with contempt,” he laments.
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  9. #49
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    "This" meant the past NRW election.
    The 16 states have no say on defence and foreign policy matters. The competencies are laid out clearly in the constitution.

    The NRW election only adds a domestic policy constriction to Merkel's government.


    The views of foreigners about the EU are about 99.9% uninteresting to the common people and I don't recall a specific example when they influenced our policy.

    The EU movement is pretty much an ideology that sustained itself with its successes. There's a problem with the monetary union that seems to correct this ideologic drive a bit. Setbacks jump-start the learning process and are not necessarily disastrous.
    The problems were utterly predictable, were predicted and I actually learned about them at a university two years before the monetary reform. Ideology won over rational analysis and this negative experience may prevent that this will be repeated on a grand scale anytime soon.

    And seriously; almost no Germans have a clue about the abhorrent myths that many Americans and other foreigners have about European demographics. The utter ignorance of people who believe Germany or France are 40% Muslim or Europe is "surrendering to Muslims without a fight in a few years" really belongs to a loud fringe that's rightfully being ignored.

    And I doubt that EU politics and bureaucracy are more indecisive or less competent than the U.S., Chinese, Japanese, Indian or Russian counterparts.
    We tend to actually regulate when the law says there's regulation. We have no parties that willfully send ineffective people into government positions in order to prove that "the state is the problem, not the solution". Yes, that's actually my impression of the GWB era.

  10. #50
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    The visage of Herr Konrad Adenauer used to stare up at me from some of the Deutsche Mark coins I carried around while traveling through Europe. His impact upon German politics, foreign policy, as well as domestic economics is still seen to be significant in some quarters. It was during the course of his multiple terms in office that Germany regained sovereignty, that Europe was unified, and that Germany’s social economic model was constructed. I will use a portion of the history of his fourth German chancellorship, as well as my finite understanding of the German political system, to construct a short case study to examine how State (Landetag) politics have impacted Federal (Bundesrat and Bundestag) politics in Germany.

    The Grundgesetz (which translates to Basic Law, and is Germany’s Constitution) was effected on 23 May 1949 and it stipulates the roles and responsibilities of the Constitutional institutions. The federal legislative branch is composed of a bicameral parliament; the Bundesrat and Bundestag. At the state level the legislative branch is unicameral and is composed of the Landtag. The Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz ( in English and in German ) drives administrative law at both the federal and state levels. Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz, what a great word…try saying that one fast three times in a row…

    The NRW election of May 2010 was a Landtag or state parliament election, which was held to democratically determine the composition of the Land’s 187 member parliament. During Konrad Adenauer’s time the NRW was known for its strength in coal and steel production, it still contributes about 20 percent of Germany’s GDP today, is Germany’s largest state, and was once part of historically significant Prussia. A practical example of the power of the Landtag can be seen in the intersection of Ordungspolitik and the Mittelstand. Mittlestand companies are credited with being the backbone of the German economy.

    The Bundesrat is a Federal Council, known as the upper house, which provides indirect representation because it is made up of 69 appointed members who represent the 16 Lander at the federal level. Landtag elections can change the composition of the Bundesrat due to changes in state level government composition. Bundesrat members representing a particular State must vote as a bloc. Furthermore the Bundesrat has a say in which legislation can be considered at the federal parliament or Bundestag. It has a strong administrative role which includes absolute veto powers for bills amending the Grundgesetz, affecting state finances, or administrative sovereignty of states.

    The Bundestag is a Federal Assembly, known as the lower house, which provides direct representation through members directed elected by the public. It’s role is to elect the chancellor, exercise oversight of the executive branch, and to act as a federal legislative branch by developing legislative and statutory law.

    So, with the definitions out of the way, let’s see how state level politics can significantly influence federal level politics in Germany. In September of 1961, as a result of federal elections, Konrad Adenauer had to form a coalition between his CDU/CSU party and the FDP party in part because he lost support at the state level due to the construction of the Berlin Wall. With the CDU/CSU no longer the majority, his FDP coalition partners were in a position to ask him to replace his foreign minister Heinrich von Brentano di Tremezzo with Gerhard Schroder and relinquish his chancellorship before the end of his fourth term would have normally ended in 1965 (in part due to additional problems - Spiegel Scandal). Chasing Landtag (10 sets!) and Bundesrat composition numbers which stagger across the time periods of the federal elections of 1957, 1961, and 1965 is interesting but consumes more time than I currently am willing to dedicate.

    Taking things literally one could ask if I am saying that the current challenges to the fiscal walls of the Euro are analogous to the impacts of the Berlin Wall or if Frau Merkel and her CDU/CSU & FDP coalition are analogous to that of Herr Adenauer and his CDU/CSU & FDP coalition. Unfortunately history is squishy; it is not amenable to rigorous quantitative analysis or direct one for one comparisons. At a minimum there are some interesting parallels to think about between 1961 and 2010: in my opinion one of those parallels is the potential impact that Lander politics can have upon Federal politics in Germany.
    Last edited by Surferbeetle; 05-19-2010 at 02:33 PM.
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  11. #51
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    Default The Case of Col. Klein

    Constantin von der Groeben, Criminal Responsibility of German Soldiers in Afghanistan: The Case of Colonel Klein, German Law Journal, Vol. 11, No. 5, 2010;
    On the 4th September 2009 an officer of the German Bundeswehr in Afghanistan, Colonel Georg Klein, ordered an airstirke against two gas tanker trucks hijacked by the Taliban. In this airstrike, carried out by U. S. Air Force pilots, up to 140 people were killed, among them not only members of the Taliban but also many civilians. This raises the question of criminal responsibility of German soldiers who operate in Afghanistan. The Generalbundesanwalt (General Public Prosecutor) investigated the case and recently decided to terminate the investigations against Colonel Klein. Despite this decision not all questions are answered. I will present a more comprehensive analysis of the case, not only commenting on the decision of the Generalbundesanwalt, but also applying different factual hypotheses leading to a different legal assessment of the case. at the outset I will look back at the line of cases known as the "Road Block Cases", and seek to explain how the criminal responsibility of German soldiers has been dealt with in the past.

  12. #52
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Slight change of plan in Kunduz

    Within this pre-deployment article on a US Army battalion is the news to me that they are being deployed in Kunduz Province, in Northern Afghanistan:
    ...the First Battalion, 87th Infantry of the 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, N.Y....Forward Operating Base Kunduz...Just months before, the base, on a plateau overlooking the city, housed fewer than 200 National Guard soldiers......Intelligence officers with the alliance say that five of Kunduz’s seven districts are contested or controlled by the Taliban.
    They are mentoring the ANP, note no mention of the ANA and I'd overlooked that the taliban had made inroads in this former Northern Alliance territory and short briefing, with map:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunduz_Province


    Link:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/wo...on.html?ref=us
    davidbfpo

  13. #53
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    Default Response is actually the wrong word: Kunduz NGO attack

    Hat tip to Free Range International pointing at this news article on the death of NGO staff in Kunduz recently:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...Tabs%3Darticle

    When Taliban militants invaded the towering Kunduz villa of an American development agency in July, employees say they were trapped, besieged and soon were dodging indiscriminate rocket fire from their would-be rescuers—the Afghan army and police.
    From FRI a comment:
    If you are a German citizen you may want to skip this because it is about the response to the Taliban attack on DAI in Kunduz earlier this year by the German military. Response is actually the wrong word, inaction bordering on gross incompetence is a better description of this disgraceful story which should be causing national outrage in Germany. The only bright spot for Germans in this saga was the senior security manager, a German national, who was killed while fighting to protect his clients. I spent hundreds hours of my professional life studying the innovation and professionalism of the German military during the First and Second World Wars. It gives me no pleasure to highlight this story of incompetence and indifference from a military which was once the best the world had ever seen.
    This article could fit in other threads, on the Afghan security forces for example and the situation in the north.

    The FRI article covers other topics: http://freerangeinternational.com/blog/?p=3656
    davidbfpo

  14. #54
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    It's not the army, it's the politicians.

  15. #55
    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Kunduz residents are rapidly becoming disenchanted with the Germans' laissez faire approach to COIN. Especially as INS from surrounding areas roam at will.

    What is necessary are some sustained security and development efforts.

    The recent assassination of the provincial governor just might help, as that guy was quite the corrupt snake. Unfortunately, we are fully prepared for him to be replaced by yet another snake.

    The compare and contrast with the German profligerate and excessive expenditure on their bases and troop comfort items and their niggardly support of development efforts outside their FOBs ingratiate themselves to no-one. Their bases are an embarrassment, imo. Club MeS and the PRT Kunduz Resort, anyone?

    Their is some bright points, though. The current German chain of command is highly enlightened, in comparison to some in the past, and are showing increased flexibility and audacity.

  16. #56
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    Default German Forces in Baghlan

    The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine has an article about
    Bundeswehr operations in Baghlan province ( http://www.faz.net/s/RubFC06D389EE76...~Scontent.html in German).
    The author seems to think that 10th Mountain Division and Gebirgsjäger are making significant progress in that area.

    Thoughts or comments?

    Regards,
    uwe

  17. #57
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Uwe,

    It's never pleasant when a soldier dies, and words are small comfort to Sanitäter Florian Pauli's family.

    The article you referenced is entitled Bundeswehr in Afghanistan „Manchmal ist das schon ein Scheißjob“, by Marco Seliger, 14 February 2011, in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

    From the story:

    Der Einsatz der deutschen Soldaten in Afghanistan ist voller Gefahren. Deutsche Soldaten machen gemeinsame Sache mit gedungenen Schurken. Aber sie haben ihr Handwerk gelernt. Es ist Kriegshandwerk.
    My quick translation is:

    The mission of the German Soldiers in Afghanistan is dangerous (full of dangers). German Soldiers are conducting/sharing work with hired villains (gedungen - hired is an adjective often used with killers). It is the trade/craft of War.
    The reporter, Marco Seliger seems to be an officer in the Bundeswehr Reserves who has served in Kosovo as an Oberleutnant.

    The profile of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has been described as follows:

    The F.A.Z. is one of a small number of high-profile national newspapers in Germany (along with its closest competitors[citation needed], the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Welt and the Frankfurter Rundschau). It maintains the largest number of foreign correspondents of any European newspaper (53 as of 2002).[3]

    The F.A.Z. promotes an image of making its readers think. The truth is stated to be sacred to the F.A.Z., so care is taken to clearly label news reports and comments as such. Its political orientation is classical liberal with an occasional support for conservative views by providing a forum to commentators with different opinions. In particular, the feuilleton and some sections of the Sunday edition cannot be said to be specifically conservative or liberal at all.
    There are seven State Elections scheduled for 2011 in Germany; specifically in the states of:




    • Hamburg, 20 Feb '11, the CDU and Green coalition has collapsed, Christoph Ahlhaus was in the lead before parliament was dissolved





    Frau Dr. Merkel, CDU/CSU is leading a nation which still appears to be soundly opposed to the Afghanistan War and the article you posted reflects this sentiment.

    So, what is your position?

    Steve
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  18. #58
    Council Member Surferbeetle's Avatar
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    Act in haste, rue at my leisure...

    From the story:

    Der Einsatz der deutschen Soldaten in Afghanistan ist voller Gefahren. Deutsche Soldaten machen gemeinsame Sache mit gedungenen Schurken. Aber sie haben ihr Handwerk gelernt. Es ist Kriegshandwerk.
    My quick translation, adjusted, is:

    The mission of the German Soldiers in Afghanistan is dangerous (full of dangers). German Soldiers are conducting/sharing work with hired villains (gedungen - hired is an adjective often used with killers). But they have learned their trade/craft. It is the trade/craft of War.
    Providers of Polling Data for Germany:



    Infratest dimap ist ein auf politische Meinungs- und Wahlforschung spezialisiertes Umfrageinstitut. Als solches verschaffen wir unseren Kunden Einsichten über politische Meinungen, Einstellungen und Verhaltensabsichten der Bürgerinnen und Bürger, aber auch verschiedener anderer Zielgruppen.


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  19. #59
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    to connive - gemeinsame Sache machen
    mit jmdm. gemeinsame Sache machen:
    to act in collusion with so.
    to be in cahoots with so. [coll.]
    to be in cohorts with so.
    to be in collusion with so.
    to make common cause with so.

    dict.leo.org

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Surferbeetle View Post
    t.

    So, what is your position?

    Steve
    The author seems to think that the German COIN operations are quite succesfull.
    I am curious how others see that.

    Is ther German military contribution of any value to the coalition?
    Is German military performance on par with that of other coalition forces
    or sub-standard? I would be especially interested in the opinion of soldiers
    from other coalition forces who have served in northern Afghanistan.
    Uwe

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