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Guttenberg refuses to resign over air strike

AFP/DDP/The Local · 14 Dec 2009, 09:41

Published: 14 Dec 2009 08:28 GMT+01:00
Updated: 14 Dec 2009 09:41 GMT+01:00

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“I will definitely stay, even when it gets rough,” he told broadcaster RTL on Sunday evening.

Earlier he had told broadcaster ARD that he had not lied regarding the matter.

Guttenberg at first said the September 4 air strike, which killed more than 100 people, was "military appropriate," but later changed his mind after receiving additional information that had supposedly been withheld by Defence Ministry officials as he took his post.

Last month he forced the German military's top general, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, and a senior defence ministry official to step down over the affair. Franz Josef Jung, who had been defence minister at the time of the attack, also stepped down from his new post of labour minister following intense political pressure.

Guttenberg reiterated to the Bild am Sonntag on Sunday that the two men "took responsibility" because "relevant documents were withheld from me."

But over the weekend newspapers said that Guttenberg already had the ISAF report, which contained enough information for him to be able to determine that the air strike was questionable.

There are also conflicting accounts of his dealings with Schneiderhan and the other defence ministry official to resign, Peter Wichert, suggesting that Guttenberg's account is not accurate, Der Spiegel reported.

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"It is high time that the government makes a government statement this week. We want to know: are the media reports right? Parliament is entitled to having the government clear this up," said Sigmar Gabriel, head of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD). "If this is correct, then the chancellor should compel him to resign, like his predecessor," Gabriel said.

Opposition politicians also called on Chancellor Angela Merkel to make a statement in parliament to shed light on the incident.

AFP/DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:38 December 14, 2009 by Frenemy
no plan survives first contact...etc. Tactical adaptation when surrounded by political hyenas. Stick to your guns zG-dawg....I'm with ya! And Angie better f#ckin back this play!!!
11:10 December 14, 2009 by LancashireLad
This is going to prove very interesting.

Legally, the German army cannot go on the offensive, as here (if we are to believe what we are told), unless backed by parliament/Bundestag.
11:55 December 14, 2009 by Frenemy
bah....f#ck the law!! (just kidding....sort of) lol
12:35 December 14, 2009 by LancashireLad
You're right. He is a politician - so he is *ultimately* responsible for the people under his charge. Lets just see how this pans out ....

If he was "apparently" operating with less than the max of information, you think we have more?
13:32 December 14, 2009 by Frenemy
in terms of access to classified info: yes (he IS the minister of defense after all). but in terms of access to quality analysis/interpretation of that data: i seriously doubt it. the BND's analysis crew is populated by individuals forged within the German academic system. it goes without saying that challenging authority/ thinking outside the box is discouraged within German society in general (you can't even imagine what its like in defense circles).

Regarding the current state of affairs: Gehlen is probably rolling over in his grave...
14:55 December 14, 2009 by LancashireLad
> challenging authority/ thinking outside the box is discouraged within German society

Maybe that's why I see so much of it ;-) - mind you as a comparison, I have only been in Germany for 8 years, and was raised in Britain (the nanny state). Question authority? Think outside the box? .... I'll stop there.

You've got me on the Gehlen reference ... do you mean Arnold Gehlen? I've never studied Philosophy so I first heard of him through the bingle search I just did.
16:49 December 14, 2009 by Henckel
According to the reports on how Guttenberg handled the resignations of Generalinspekteur Schneiderhan and Staatsekretaer Wichert, it would seem that he manipulated them into quitting their posts. I think Guttenberg should go, too, to make a clean sweep and restore public confidence in the Bundeswehr and the Defense Ministry.
17:30 December 14, 2009 by Frenemy
@lancashirelad: really?? you see so much of it? how many times have you seen Germans jay-walk??

And the public is oblivious, and rightly/deservedly so.

If they had it their way there would be mandatory (hippy) monastic national service duty at age 18....people would be burning themselves in the street whenever a child got spanked in public!! (probably throw themselves under Polizei Wagen too...) lol

(As for Gehlen...google the BND's origins.)
17:40 December 14, 2009 by LancashireLad

You have managed to hit on the only aspect that I don't understand. I admit in the UK we do jay-walk more than in Germany, but you won't see people defending a non-existent right when challenged cf. Bikes on footpaths and dangerously cycling the wrong way almost demanding you get out of their way onto the footpath (see? we don't even have a word for driving the wrong way like Geisterfahren) too name just one of an equivalent level to your example.

If who had it their way? I don't follow.
18:43 December 14, 2009 by Frenemy
i think we agree with each other. but what I meant was that young Germans are self-destructively left-wing (eg. let Ahmed crash on ur couch, smoke him up, and give him a ride to his "appointment" tomorrow...then apologize (TO HIM) when your kid gets immolated). Why? Because some SPD hippy politician tells you to so? But they do it.... Why? because Germans seem to be compelled to "obey authority".

I'm German (born n raised. might not appear that way but its true), but that sh!t still confounds the immortal sh!t outta me (maybe cuz I was born and raised outside the "Fatherland"...lol). But seriously, I could amuse myself for hours watching Germans at a traffic light in a big city (sense of "Ordnung" my ass... for what???)
20:37 December 14, 2009 by Henckel
As frenemy alluded, the Gehlen reference was to Reinhard Gehlen, who headed the intelligence group Armed Forces East during World War II and went on to head the Federal Republic's postwar intelligence service, the BND, initially known as the Gehlen Office. (I've always had a particular interest in the German military intelligence service, in as much as one of my ancestors was a Prussian soldier in the war with France in 1870-71. At 6'8" he was said to be the tallest man in an army of tall men...)
06:03 December 15, 2009 by Frenemy
6,8"??!! damn thats huge....guy must've been straight up beastly! Never knew that lil' tid bit of trivia. (the things u learn around here...lol)
15:50 December 22, 2009 by Hibernicus
There are more than 10,000 Irish soldiers buried in Afghanistan. Of course, they died 150 years ago fighting with the British Army when they were attempting to subdue Afghanistan at that time. The country was ungovernable then, as it is now, and anyone who thinks they are going to "win" in Afghanistan is a fool. A million NATO troops won't do it, so the whole thing is a tragic waste of lives and resources and a crime against the people of Afghanistan. Of all peoples, the Germans should realise the futility of wars of aggression. Their own country was turned into a heap of rubble by the mad ambition of mediocre politicians. Time to get out now before it turns into another Vietnam.
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