• Germany's news in English
 

Deadly air strike colonel to be promoted

The Local · 9 Aug 2012, 12:39

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
Whiff of foul play in Cologne mayoral election
An electoral poster next to Cologne Cathedral. Photo: DPA

Whiff of foul play in Cologne mayoral election

17 hours ago

Did the Social Democratic Party (SPD) deliberately skew voting slips in Cologne's mayoral elections to hand their candidate an advantage?

Refugee crisis
Five ways you can help refugees in Germany
Woman bring clothing donations to a German Red Cross station in Heidenau, scene of anti-refugee demonstrations last weekend. Photo: DPA

Five ways you can help refugees in Germany

15 hours ago

The Local's pointers for how to get started if you're interested in donating your money, unwanted possessions, time or skills to help refugees in Germany.

FC Bayern takes refugee kids under its wing
Players will walk into the Allianz Arena hand-in-hand with young refugees on September 12th. Photo: DPA

FC Bayern takes refugee kids under its wing

14 hours ago

FC Bayern Munich said on Thursday that it would help young refugees learn German and play football and donate €1m of the proceeds from an upcoming friendly match.

Berlin hotel extends beds for basketball giants
Dirk Nowitzki (r) - too tall for a normal hotel bed. Photo: DPA

Berlin hotel extends beds for basketball giants

14 hours ago

The Berlin hotel hosting the international basketball teams playing in the 2015 European championships matches here have extended their beds to 2.50 metres in order to accomodate the giant players.

Migrant crisis
Hungary says refugees are 'German problem'
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (l) and refugees boarding a train at Budapest's Keleti station. Photos: DPA

Hungary says refugees are 'German problem'

18 hours ago

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban insisted Thursday the migrant crisis was a German problem, not a European one as he defended his government's handling of thousands of refugees flooding into his country.

Banks jack up ATM fees for non-customers
Photo: DPA

Banks jack up ATM fees for non-customers

19 hours ago

Germany's big private banks are increasing fees for customers at other financial institutions to withdraw cash from their ATMs, making ordinary people pay the price for a bankers' spat.

Berlin mayor christens brand-new U-Bahn trains
Berlin Mayor Michael Müller smashes a bottle of Berliner Weisse beer against the metal skin of a new U-Bahn train to christen it. Photo: DPA

Berlin mayor christens brand-new U-Bahn trains

21 hours ago

The first of an all-new model of Berlin U-Bahn trains was christened on Wednesday evening by city mayor Michael Müller in a typically Berlin ceremony.

Migrant crisis
Biggest EU nations want refugees shared fairly
A man leads migrants in a chant in front of police lines at Budapest's Keleti railway station on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Biggest EU nations want refugees shared fairly

21 hours ago

Germany, France and Italy called for an overhaul of laws on the right of asylum and a fairer distribution of migrants throughout the European Union, Italy's foreign minister said on Wednesday.

The Local List
7 ways Germans get English totally wrong
Don't let their confidence fool you: Germans aren't always the best at English. Photo: DPA.

7 ways Germans get English totally wrong

1 day ago

As much as English-speakers might feel insecure about their Deutsch skills when faced with Germans' comparatively widespread grasp of English, Germans themselves often mess up English - in some pretty hilarious ways.

Mannschaft step forward to welcome refugees
Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger at a press conference earlier this week. Photo: DPA

Mannschaft step forward to welcome refugees

1 day ago

Germany's World Cup-winning footballers have condemned xenophobic attacks on the thousands of foreigners pouring into their country and led calls to help the refugees amidst the ongoing crisis.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

Features
'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'
Features
How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears
Sport
German named 'arse bombing' world champ
Travel
Retiree finds parked car after three-week search
National
Ten ways Germany puts Britain to shame
Business & Money
German gadget clamps down on Nutella thieves
Society
Is Germany now a nation of couch potatoes?
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
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

6,888
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd