German media and politicians promote rearmament

GERMANY - For months the German media and leading politicians have been calling for an end to Germany’s postwar policy of military restraint. Last week the campaign for militarism reached a new highpoint. During years of tight budget policy and cuts, any major increase in the defense budget was excluded. Now this demand has moved to the center of the media propaganda. The media campaign has been carefully prepared. Not a day goes past without a new “unexpected” revelation regarding the dilapidated state of the German army.

According to reports on Monday, just three of the Navy’s 43 helicopters were operational. On Tuesday it was reported that six German soldiers who have been assigned to train Kurdish fighters in Iraq, were left stranded in Bulgaria due to a technical fault with their aircraft. The failure of German weapons to reach Iraq due to the failure of another plane, borrowed from the Netherlands and stranded for days in Leipzig, was also the subject of extensive TV coverage.

On Wednesday, a confidential paper from the Defence Committee was leaked to the press. The document drawn up by the inspectors of the army, air force and navy assessed the “readiness of the armed forces”. In its summary, the report concludes that the defense capability of the Bundeswehr was guaranteed. Nevertheless, the media and politicians selected certain items to portray the army as outdated and incapacitated. In the remaining days of last week there was then a concerted campaign by all of the major newspapers demanding an increase in the defense budget.

On Thursday, Spiegel Online’s Nikolaus Blome demanded that the verbal campaign should be followed by action. On Friday Nico Fried complained in the Süddeutsche Zeitungthat German soldiers were “poorly equipped and their weapons systems antiquated”. There was a “mismatch between political aspirations and military reality”. Due to public rejection of rearmament the Bundeswehr needs a “political and social lobby”.

In Stern magazine, Tilman Gerwien, described as “one of the few in the newsroom who have served (in the army)”, was outraged that “the Germans could not care less about the Bundeswehr” and stormed: “They do not seem concerned about who provides for their security in a world in which alongside the ‘Islamic state’ other head-choppers, rapists and Christmas market suicide bombers are to be found. For decades they have convinced themselves that, after twice plunging the world into war, dying in the future and for all time should be left to others — preferably the Americans”.

The Germans must finally stop regarding the “Holocaust as an eternal privilege” that justifies military restraint, Gerwien thunders. “Europe’s biggest economy has an army whose equipment is a joke. This has been known for years and it could have been changed — with more money and more expertise in procurement”.

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