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Westerwelle urges quick end to conscription

DDP/The Local · 14 Jul 2010, 08:59

Published: 14 Jul 2010 08:59 GMT+02:00

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Westerwelle, who is also vice chancellor and head of the pro-business Free Democrats, told daily Hamburger Abendblatt that the recent cut in the length of service from nine to six months was a step in the right direction. But the service should be scrapped with all haste, he said.

“It would be the right decision to stop military service as soon as possible,” he told the paper.

He added that he welcomed Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg’s vow to “deal with the question of a voluntary military with a completely open mind.”

Guttenberg is engaged in a thorough review of the armed forces in an effort to dramatically slash military spending, part of which will be a decision on whether – and when – to end conscription. Indeed, Guttenberg has professed a personal preference for abolishing the service on the grounds that a modern military should be entirely professional.

Westerwelle insisted the conscription question was not about budget cuts but about justice.

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“It cannot be that only 16 percent of an age group fulfil their military service, while many others can improve their job chances in their own time,” he said.

Young people eligible for service have the option of doing civilian service instead – an option many of them take.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:44 July 14, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
Westerwelle is an blistering idiot. Conscription has nothing to do with a lack of modernity; Germany's conscription is based on physical realities. We can not trade space for time during a state of war - we just don't have enough of it! Especially not in an age of mobilized infantry. Conscription is the only way to get enough forces up to the line to stop an advance before we lose all our chips.
17:09 July 14, 2010 by michael4096
Especially not in an age of mobilized infantry.
Well, I guess the taliban are "mobilized infantry". Do you have any other suspects that might threaten germany?
18:07 July 14, 2010 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen

People always ignore history.

It's never the enemy that you're worrying about that turns into the real problem. Wars and enemies rarely announce themselves. Most conflicts happen suddenly and without any real warning, on historical scales. These scales would not be of such magnitude that we would be able to re-arm effectively before the beginning of hostilities. So, the question isn't who is a suspect; that becomes obvious when you redefine what 'suspect' means in terms of what we know from history. The fact is, anyone who is near us and is capable of fighting a major war against the BRD is a 'suspect'. And that makes for a whole lot of them!

Conscription is the cheapest way to have a large standing formation to guard against these unexpected issues without actually keeping a million men on payroll and under arms.
21:13 July 14, 2010 by proclusian
Westerwelle is an idiot. And he seems to me to be a self-contradictory idiot too.

After all his blowhard bluster about Hartz IV and national character some months ago, now he wants to eliminate one of the few institutions in German society which actually builds character -- either via army service or via civilian service, working at less-than-pleasant jobs.

But no one is considering that: it's all about the pocketbook or about what the military needs. How dull is a life when you simply get to follow your own whims!
02:24 July 15, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Maybe Guido wants to follow the American example of outsourcing the military to mercenaries. I can imagine a few Blackwaters in Germany's future.
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