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Guttenberg slammed for Afghanistan trip

The Local · 14 Dec 2010, 07:52

Published: 14 Dec 2010 07:52 GMT+01:00

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The normally polished and savvy young Christian Social Union (CSU) star was slammed by colleague Elke Hoff, the security policy spokeswoman for coalition partners the Free Democratic Union (FDP) for his pre-Christmas visit to thank the Bundeswehr troops in Afghanistan.

“I would advise the minister to show more restraint and suggest rather that he promptly repair the lingering training and equipment deficits among the troops,” Hoff told the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.

Guttenberg also took television talk show host Johannes B. Kerner on the trip.


“The last thing the troops need now is the presence of a treasured talk show host. That just doesn’t fit,” Hoff said.

The defence spokesman for the centre-left Social Democrats’ (SPD) parliamentary group, Rainer Arnold, told the Passauer Neue Presse said that visiting troops was “in principle always good,” there was no reason for Guttenberg to take his wife Stephanie.

The CSU politician, who consistently rates as Germany’s most popular politician and is seen as a future candidate for Chancellor, was too focused on his media image, Arnold said.

“Guttenberg should rather apply himself to a substantial debate about his reform plan and the Afghanistan mission.''

Hannelore Kraft, the SPD premier of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung: "When politics is staged, it makes people more fed with up politics. This is particularly so when it comes to our soldiers' dangerous mission in Afghanistan."

Greens party co-head Claudia Roth called the trip "crude self-promotion" while the left-wing pacifist Die Linke said the minister should have taken to Germany's 4,600 troops in Afghanistan "orders to come home, not his PR retinue."

Story continues below…

Guttenberg touched down Monday in Mazar-i-Sharif, command headquarters for the northern region, where most of the German soldiers deployed to Afghanistan are stationed, before going to the Kunduz military camp, the defence ministry said.

"I would simply like, before Christmas, to say thank you to the soldiers," he said when questioned on arrival by German ARD television.

DAPD/The Local/AFP/dw

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Your comments about this article

08:12 December 14, 2010 by Landmine
The wife looks sort of disinterested in the picture...
09:06 December 14, 2010 by majura
Oh she's interested... interested in how conservative Afghani women work in the kitchen, cleaning the house etc. Things she can hopefully bring back to Deutschland for her hubby dubby lovey chubby.
09:20 December 14, 2010 by Portnoy
Are you kidding me? They pay Polish women to do that. She's thinking: Oooh. Fresh meat.
09:52 December 14, 2010 by Dougbal01
I think it was a good thing for him to do. There is nothing soldiers need also to be seen at home on television. Politician should start changing theoir tectics and be people persons. This way we will also understand them and know them for their strenghts and weaknesses. This close up situation of politician does nothelp as there is not understand of ordinary people, soldiers in this situation. Well done Mr. minister I say it was the best move and would have done it if I was in your place. he should be with his wife, whyt not?
13:00 December 14, 2010 by wenddiver
God Bless ALL the troops, who are defending the West and Free Men and Women everywhere from one of the purest forms of evil known to mankind..

Thank Minister Gutenburg for at least remembering that the country is at War and doing his bit to support Germany's troops. I personally am glad that the area is getting safe enough that we can bring wives and News Reporters along.
13:07 December 14, 2010 by bald yeti
Think about the up-side: how many more people would have been upset, if Frau zu Guttenberg wore a head-scarf - like the Afghani women do.
19:54 December 14, 2010 by Victor Scicluna
While we are warming our nice comfortable bottoms next to the central heater these soldiers are risking their life at a daily basis to help protect us and this whether they agree with the deployment or not.

Any visit from back home is certainly welcome, lets say I was in their shoes (or boots) I would be more than happy even if the local supermarket cashier drops over to say hello, let alone when a famous personality drops by.

Gutenberg, you are right keep it up, the public is behind you, that the opposition complain ... well what a surprise.

Imagine had he done the opposite and sent us pictures of him and his wife on some nice luxurious yatch for Xmas and they would have flipped out. He took his wife over to see at first hand basis the situation our men are in and the opposition flip out, come on Claudia Roth, go over and preach peace and environment to the Taliban not from your cosy seat in Berlin but from Afganistan.
23:30 December 14, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Stephanie's hot, don't get me wrong, but does she make defense policy? How much do we have to pay for this little publicity junket? She'd probably fetch 100 camels in Afghanistan, which could offset the cost.
06:37 December 15, 2010 by Nemo2010
Good for him!
08:19 December 15, 2010 by raben
Hopefully this will make everbody forget about German Colonel Georg Klein who gave the order for the Kunduz airstrike last year that killed over 100 civilians. Thanks GOD I dont live in Afghanistan!
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