The U.S. defends Europe against threats unknown. In return, the Europeans help America, well, kind of, in Afghanistan.
German troops already have become famous for getting fat on sausages and beer while serving in Afghanistan’s north where they are not needed. Now reports the Australian:
Taliban or no Taliban, Germans take a bit of home with them when they serve in trouble spots. Even their carefully sorted rubbish is dumped in wheelie bins before being sent from Afghanistan to Germany for recycling.
Now Germany’s most senior officer has warned soldiers not to get too cosy or become too soft.
“We cannot guarantee soldiers that they will have an all-round feel-good experience,” said General Wolfgang Schneiderhan.
His outburst follows complaints made by German soldiers to the official ombudsman about their tours abroad. Some have grumbled about unsuitable sleeping bags for their Congo peace-keeping mission – “there is no reason why this issue should have come before parliament”, said General Schneiderhan – while others moaned about the long hours, a lack of childcare for their families at home and poor medical care.
Army doctors in particular say that they are on the brink of leaving because pay and conditions are so bad.
So many have returned to civilian life that there is a shortage of medics in the field.
“We have to tell a professional soldier who complains about his third tour of overseas duty that he has to get a grip – this is his profession,” said General Schneiderhan. “Perhaps the problem is down to the general tendency in society to delegate responsibility to someone else, or perhaps it is the stress associated with change.”
On the one hand, I suppose it is nice that Germany is no longer big on military prowess. Still, it is more than a little irritating to think that America is expected to defend the Germans while they focus on such important tasks as getting their recyclables back from Afghanistan to Germany!