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Gabriel: Chancellor must retract Afghan 'war' acknowledgement

DDP/The Local · 13 Apr 2010, 09:00

Published: 13 Apr 2010 09:00 GMT+02:00

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Last Friday Merkel attended a memorial service for three German soldiers killed in Afghanistan, where she acknowledged that her government had chosen to break the long standing political taboo of calling the conflict a “war.”

“We must look the facts in the eye,” the Chancellor said. “Many call the mission in Afghanistan a war. And I understand that well.”

But SPD head Gabriel criticised the move in an interview with daily Frankfurter Rundschau, saying if she chose to call the conflict a war, she would have to request a new mandate.

“I can only warn to get rid of the term for fear of the public debate,” he told the paper.

While Gabriel said he understood the public’s sentiments, “politicians still have to do something else.”

Story continues below…

Germany’s participation in the NATO mission in Afghanistan is clearly tied to an international mandate, he said. If Berlin decides this is no longer sufficient, then they must express this openly and "Germany must decide if it wants to take part in a war."

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:01 April 13, 2010 by Kayak
"Germany must decide if it wants to take part in a war."

Cool, a country that can vote war in and out.

I never thought I'd see the day.
11:34 April 13, 2010 by Clapoti
Only in Germany :P
13:07 April 13, 2010 by wenddiver
They take the name "useless beauracrat" very seriously.

We could call it the international cheese party for Democracy in Afganistan for that matter as long as somebody remembers to bring Chesse and we destroy the cavemen we call the Tallian terrorists.
13:43 April 13, 2010 by dbert4
@wenddiver - "destroy the cavemen we call the Tallian terrorists."

The ENTIRE population of Afganistan are cavemen, what are you talking about? The Taliban will never be defeated militarily, they will be defeated only though a shift in the Afgan mentality. They won't happen in your lifetime and I don't want to pay for it in any case.

The US taxpayer already paid once to create them.
16:05 April 13, 2010 by wenddiver
@dbert- B-52s. There are some very nice Afgans. The Talliban are a minority, except for amongst the Pashtuns.

Civilize them with a Colt. Just the Cavemen who are violent and destroying the country, supporting international terrorism.

The rest teach to play nintendo and golf.
16:35 April 13, 2010 by Frenemy
ahhhh, ethnocentric stereotyping never gets old... :-/
17:52 April 13, 2010 by dbert4
@Frenemy - No yes so old..............

"Frashta didn't want to marry her cousin, and she fled. In a land where tradition and family honor are everything, that sealed her doom. Two shots from a hunting rifle in the night, then they rolled her in cloth and tried to hide her, but some things cannot be hidden"

There is a recent piece in the LA Times which explorer this STEREOTYPING, I would encourage you to read it as a means of self-education into the Afghani culture.

18:06 April 13, 2010 by Frenemy
You think individual instances (regardless of how many) are representative of an entire population group?!

Ok, well then I suppose this represents "Western culture" (specifically how Western fathers treat their daughters):


FYI: I'm German-American (just thought I'd throw that out there before all the flaming begins)
18:35 April 13, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
Ok, here we go again. I regards to the above discussion: I don't know why this constantly needs to be repeated. Let's review:

1) The Taliban have a declared goal of creating a world-wide Caliphate.

2) Western democracy is fundamental incompatible with a Caliphate.

3) The Taliban have declared intentions of destroying western society to institute this Caliphate.

4) They helped Al-Queda kill thousands of people.

5) A guy in Austria locking his daughter up in the basement is not equal to any of the above, or even relevant to the issue.

6) No one ever said the majority Afghans were the problem.

So, looking at the above, it's pretty clear to me that these people are:

1) Hell-bent on our destruction.

2) Not willing to take 'No.' for an answer.

3) Flourishing in an environment where education levels are very poor, and hence, extremely dangerous.

So, if you can suggest to me a more efficient way of permanently stopping them other than shooting and/or bombing them, I am all ears.

Now, as for the actual article:

German troops are in a foreign country under order of the Defense Ministry and are engaging hostile forces. That's a war, kids. There's nothing to decide; we're already in it.
18:55 April 13, 2010 by Henckel
Yes, it's war, whatever the Left wants to call it. It's the 5th Afghan War, the previous ones being in 1838-42, 1878-80, 1919 and 1979-1989.
19:06 April 13, 2010 by Frenemy
@Grenadier: You and I are usually on the same page, so I figure there is a misunderstanding of sorts going on here...

*I* understand the difference between Taliban, AQ, random Islamists, and Afghans (they can overlap, but they don't ALWAYS). All I'm saying to dbert4 is that generally calling every Afghan (which necessarily includes the ones that got out before the Taliban took over) a cave-dwelling savage, incapable of moral behavior (by UDHR standards), is counterproductive at best and plain stupid at worst.

As for suggesting "a more efficient way of permanently stopping them"... nukes and/or genetically-targetable bioweapons? (!)
19:11 April 13, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen

I don't think that's such a good idea. I think we should stick to shooting them. No one should ever use an atomic bomb or a bioweapon, ever.

Unless you were kidding.
20:25 April 13, 2010 by wenddiver
#5- When I was talking about B-52s, I was of course talking about Iron bombs, daisy cutters, cluster bombs and such. There is abosolutely nothing in this conflict that would convince a reasonable person that we can't overcome the liliputian military efforts of the cavemen (talliban).

Let's get real an American GI or German Falschirjaeger is a hell of a lot more likely to die in a drunk driving automobile accident in their home country than from anything the cave men do.

We broke the backs of the Talliban in the liberation of the country with B-52s. They hate them! They fantasize about being killed is a big death struggle with some westerner, not having their skull explode from iron bomb concussion, because some American so high in the Air you can't see them, pushed a button while drinking a Coke and talking about football.

By the way there is no such thing as German-Americans, we're Americans. Maybe Americans with German ancestry, but Americans.

The Afgan people on the whole are charming. Very friendly, also thankful.
20:54 April 13, 2010 by Frenemy
"By the way there is no such thing as German-Americans, we're Americans. Maybe Americans with German ancestry, but Americans"

um...ok. So then what do you call someone with both German and American citizenship? (stateless? like do they cancel each other out) :-/ lol
20:58 April 13, 2010 by Prufrock2010
"So then what do you call someone with both German and American citizenship?"

Caught between a rock and a hard place.
21:36 April 13, 2010 by Frenemy
...tell me about it
00:56 April 14, 2010 by wxman
It seems both German-Americans (which constitute a great majority of Americans) and Germans themselves are of similar thought on this issue. Let's not beat each other up with trivialities. We all want a quick and effective end to this conflict that will leave both countries, hopefully, safer.
01:19 April 14, 2010 by wenddiver
@ Frenemy- I have cousins in Germany who insist the whole family is really German. They think of being American as like saying "I'm staying at the Disneyworld resort." I apologize, because I have no idea how you would say your status under dual citizenship. Probably have to write it out German and American. I will ask my riend Carmen, her children are both. They got married when Rudy was a GI and he preferred to stay in Germany, Carmen being a native German prefers the craziness of America. The children seem happy in both. Probably a Bureacratic Charlie Foxtrot

I imagine there are a lot of American service men, who going in the service at 17 and spending 20 years defending Germany during the Cold war at the end of their career were as familar with Germany as the states.
02:17 April 14, 2010 by Prufrock2010
@ Frenemy:

I enjoy our discourse, even on the rare occasion upon which I disagree with you. You have a laudable sense of irony and the skill to convey it.
12:16 April 14, 2010 by Internuncio
Why am I reminded of John Cleese / Basil Fawlty and "I didn't mention the war, did I?"
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