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Guttenberg invites Käßmann to Afghanistan

DDP/The Local · 12 Jan 2010, 08:09

Published: 12 Jan 2010 08:09 GMT+01:00

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Guttenberg offered the invitation to Margot Käßmann on Monday during a meeting between the two, but she has not yet accepted, a ministry spokesperson said.

The head of the Protestant Church Council has been the subject of intense criticism by politicians and the DBwV German Military Association after condemning the country’s military operation in Afghanistan as immoral in late December.

"Even by the loosest possible standards of the Protestant church, this war is unjustifiable. That is why there needs to be an end to the violent conflict as soon as possible," she told the Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung at the time.

She called it "infuriating" that "military methods had once again taken priority" before other methods. "The population will only accept a peaceful new beginning if peaceful methods are used," she said. Käßmann also called for peace talks with the Taliban.

The bishop defended the use of chaplains in the military as support for soldiers. "They are not blessing the war, but providing spiritual companionship for human beings," she said.

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As the head of the church umbrella organisation the EKD, Käßmann represents 22 branches of Protestantism in Germany.

Her appeal came as Germany's parliament prepares to consider sending another 2,000 troops to Afghanistan, adding to the 4,400 already on the ground. A decision is expected late January.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:05 January 12, 2010 by cleavage
There is no reason for Kässmann to accept the offer. Why should she? It's about time she spoke up about this occupation. Where was she when 750,000 Berliners were on the streets saying no war? This is not rocket science on why its wrong. It's a clear as a bell. More more more condemnation is needed by more leaders to end this endless, fruitless and expensive occupation.
11:16 January 12, 2010 by Fredfeldman
Nonsense. Its Germany's duty to help protect western civilization from a cancerous ideology that would like to kill all of us,
14:13 January 12, 2010 by Suyak
Why shouldn't she accept the offer! She has made very clear statements about her view of the war--would she maybe see something that changes that? Aren't there already enough statements from "experts" who never actually been on the ground?

It's only a fruitless operation if the West gives up and runs away. Moral choices are rarely as "clear as a bell." Making difficult decisions is what those who claim leaderships positions are paid for. It's no different for Bishop Kässmann. She's widely talked about how continuing the German military presence is unjustifiable---what about the consequences of a rapid withdrawal? Are those justifiable?
14:24 January 12, 2010 by DoubleDTown
people who were born in 1980 and grew up in Australia may not properly appreciate that Western European pacifism is not the road to security that one might hope for, even if 750,000 protesters wish problems would go away without violence in all cases.

Kaessmann should go and see what is going on for herself. Seems to be a win-win offer for her, even if Guttenberg doesn't succeed in turning her around she can speak on the issue in the future with the sanctimoniousness of first hand experience.
18:05 January 12, 2010 by mixxim
What would she see? We all know this war is going nowhere. The best solution would be a small nuclear device as in Hiroshima - that shut up the Japs! Conventional forces fighting terrorists but bound by queensbury rules achieves nothing. Oh and Cheeseman looks sweet even if her daytime job is to spout a lot of nonsense.....
18:32 January 12, 2010 by DavEd
Kaessmann conveniently ignores the NATO Treaty and its principles:

NATO policy is that an attack against one member is considered an attack against all members. On September 12, 2001, this principle of collective defense was acted on after the terrorist attacks against the United States, when NATO invoked Article 5 of the NATO treaty, declaring the attacks to be an attack against all of the NATO member countries.

Since the Bishop feels so strongly against Germany's involvement in Afghanistan, her larger agenda appears to point toward a complete severance of Germany's membership in the NATO Alliance.
20:51 January 12, 2010 by Deviate
It's easy to condemn something from the comfort of your own home/pulpit.

I'm not a German citizen, nor am I Protestant (or even religious for that matter), but if she visits Afghanistan and still decides to denounce the war she will have earned my respect. I may not agree with her conclusion, but at least I cannot question whether or not she's looked at it from the other side of the proverbial coin.
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