• Germany's news in English
 

Deadly air strike colonel to be promoted

Published: 09 Aug 2012 12:39 GMT+02:00

Colonel Georg Klein, 51, has been offered a job as division director in the new federal office for personnel management, a position that includes an automatic promotion to general.

The post is being created by the merger of the army’s military and civilian personnel departments. He is currently working in the military section, but is expected to take up the new job next spring.

In September 2009, Klein ordered a NATO air strike on two oil tanker trucks in Kunduz that killed over 100 Afghans, most of whom are thought to have been civilians.

Klein was investigated by German state prosecutors, though the investigation was dropped, and the Bundeswehr also dropped any disciplinary proceedings after several months.

The promotion effectively absolves him of any wrongdoing, even though his seniors were sacked following the scandal.

The Kunduz affair cost the job of Labour Minister Franz Josef Jung, who was defence minister at the time of the attack, after it emerged that he had misinformed parliament about the extent of the killing of innocents. His successor Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg then sacked Bundeswehr Chief of Staff Wolfgang Schneiderhan and Defence Ministry Secretary of State Peter Wichert for allegedly withholding information from him.

Karim Popal, the lawyer representing the victims, has strongly criticized the decision to promote Klein. "The promotion would be a slap in the face for the Afghan civilian population would be like a declaration of war," he told Thursday's edition of the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung.

Green Party MP Hans-Christian Ströbele, a long-time opponent of Germany's military intervention in Afghanistan, said the "catastrophic bloodbath" that he said Klein was responsible for should rule out any promotion.

An Amnesty International report on the air strike listed 83 names of victims, several of whom were under 16 years old. The report also said many people had died because the usual warning flyovers had been omitted.

The Local/DAPD/DPA/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:02 August 9, 2012 by Landmine
Yet another example that goes to show you that only the screw ups get promoted. Those that know what they are doing have to stay near the botton so things can run.... lol!
14:42 August 9, 2012 by mobaisch
congratulations!
15:59 August 9, 2012 by johnny108
The politics may be wrong, but as a soldier, he was very effective. What's the problem?
16:08 August 9, 2012 by beeker
Right out of Catch 22.
17:01 August 9, 2012 by lucksi
There is a saying in Germany about people like this only falling up the ladder. Does that exist in English too?
19:04 August 9, 2012 by al-Mundane
There are some English idioms that are similar, but I haven't heard any as eloquent as "falling up the ladder." I'll be using that from now on.
19:41 August 9, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
If the General had been circumcised, this would not have happened, as regular readers of the Local know!
20:02 August 9, 2012 by Mark S.
It's worth remembering that not every soldier who kills civilians has done something wrong. The story says that Klein was investigated but the investigation did not accuse him of doing anything wrong. Those who got sacked were the ones who lied about what happened.

It happens that sometimes civilians are mis-identified as combatants. It happens that sometimes civilians are killed unintentionally. If you can't deal with that, then you can't send your army to a war.
21:15 August 9, 2012 by wxman
The field commander who overly concerns himself with collateral damage as opposed to mission accomplishment and the safety of his troops is ineffective. It has always been thus.
03:00 August 10, 2012 by Edin
This is disgracefull!

If they where only American or German civilians, his arse would be fired to the Moon.This shows how big hypocrits people, are even when it comes to inocent life, civilians, children.

But it is clear from the comments that most of those are from military personel, presumebly US staitioned in Germany. And their list of collaterall damage from Japan - Hiroshima, Vietnam to Afganistan is now larger than entire population of Afganistan.... You must be proud of yourselvs.
06:22 August 10, 2012 by coffeelover
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
12:50 August 10, 2012 by raandy
Mark S. thats sums it up, the incident, as unfortunate as it was , was throughly investigated and determined not to be his fault.
08:09 August 14, 2012 by dr.makni49
Congrats Col for promotion, you did your job for what military expected you to do. Being a soldier myself, I know if a soldier starts indulging in ifs and buts when even the microseconds count heavy, he is reduced to a non-performer.

If fault lies anywhere, it is with the people who sent him in the conflict. Good job done .
19:57 August 16, 2012 by Whipmanager
@dr.makni: You sir have it 100% right.

In this world where the Islamist fighters violate every law to save their precious little war vehicles and warmaking capability, there are going to be collateral deaths.

In Iraq and in Lebanon, Palistine, and many other places, the cowardly warrior hides his arms and weapons in schools, churches, in many places that are illegal. Full well knowing that the minute the infidel aggressor attacks the missile emplacement, or criminal illegal combatant, they will hit innocents. The israelis even started calling the homes of people in the building about to be attacked and telling the innocents to leave ASAP.

People get hurt, but is the target legitimate otherwise? If no innocent civilians were hurt in the attack attributed to the Colonel, would the target have been a good target?

@Edin: They would not have been German or American civilians as we do not hide our arms and weapons amongst the masses. We follow the international rules of engagement and have professional military persons. One might say that the islamist combatants are not aware of rules about hiding guns and things in Mosques, but then one would be kidding themselves. They fight to win, they are not encumbered by rules of Engagement or any conventions that would protect landmarks or children..they want to cause an incident so as to inflame the populaces where they are.

GOd Bless teh Colonel and his promotion. He will be in a position to make a difference and maybe fix the ROE and other problems facing German soldiers having been a victim of them himself.
Today's headlines
Greece crisis
Merkel: 'still no basis' for aid to Greece
Angela Merkel arriving in Brussels on Tuesday. Photo: EbS

Merkel: 'still no basis' for aid to Greece

UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel offered no new insights into her thinking as she arrived in Brussels for a meeting of eurozone government heads on Tuesday, saying that it was up to Greece to make a move and show willing. READ  

Mafia suspects arrested at Lake Constance
Lke Constance, a 'stronghold' of the mafia. Photo:DPA

Mafia suspects arrested at Lake Constance

Police arrested eight Italian citizens on Tuesday morning at Lake Constance in Baden-Württemberg on suspicion of involvement in the ’Ndrangheta, Calabria’s feared mafia organisation. READ  

Greece crisis
Voters back Schäuble's hard line on Greece
Wolfgang Schäuble in the Bundestag. Photo: DPA

Voters back Schäuble's hard line on Greece

A poll published on Tuesday shows that at the peak of their tough talk towards Greece, Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble have been earning even greater confidence from German voters. READ  

'Hackers' give orders to German missile battery
Bundeswehr soldiers operating a Patriot missile launcher. Photo: DPA

'Hackers' give orders to German missile battery

German-owned Patriot missiles stationed in Turkey were briefly taken over by hackers, according to media reports on Tuesday. READ  

Workers dismantle Frankfurt Euro sculpture
A worker on a crane removes stars from the Euro sculpture in central Frankfurt. Photo: DPA

Workers dismantle Frankfurt Euro sculpture

As a possible Greek exit from the eurozone looms ever larger, threatening to change the face of the euro forever, the currency's home city of Frankfurt is giving its famous Euro sculpture a much-needed facelift. READ  

Auschwitz trial
Prosecutors seek 3-1/2 year sentence
Oskar Gröning was an SS guard at Auschwitz. Photo: DPA

Prosecutors seek 3-1/2 year sentence

German prosecutors on Tuesday said they were seeking three and a half years' jail time for a former SS officer known as the "Bookkeeper of Auschwitz". READ  

Hot weather to bring tornados and lightning
With this blitz Gerry'll get a taste of his own medicine. Photo: DPA

Hot weather to bring tornados and lightning

After Germans were able to sneak out to restock their wurst and sauerkraut rations during few cool hours on Monday, another heat wave is sweeping across the country on Tuesday, sending people running back to the shade for cover. READ  

July heatwave
Hot dogs lap up liver sausage sundaes
Ice-cream maker Leonardo Caprarese with golden retriever Oscar, enjoying a delicious scoop of Leberwurst ice cream. Photo: DPA

Hot dogs lap up liver sausage sundaes

Hounds languishing in the July heat around Bremen have been treated to a very special snack to cool them down - but it's one that might put humans off their lunch. READ  

Berlin growing twice as fast as expected
Population growth is putting strains on city planning. Photo: DPA

Berlin growing twice as fast as expected

The Berlin senate revealed on Monday that the capital is growing at double the pace that city planners had previously expected. But after decades of stagnation the growth is seen as positive. READ  

Anti-refugee rage grows in Dresden suburbs
Demonstrators outside the Freital refugee home are held back by police on June 26th. Photo: DPA

Anti-refugee rage grows in Dresden suburbs

Freital, the town that became famous last week for irate anti-refugee protestors outside a new home for asylum seekers, saw a fresh confrontation on Monday night as local people gathered for a town hall meeting. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,912
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd