Fast track to war

Bundestag to decide on sending new soldiers to Kunduz, Afghanistan. What was unthinkable only a few years ago has now become routine.

In the night from Monday to Tuesday, the UN Security Council in New York decided to expand the mandate of the ISAF force in Afghanistan, following a request from Germany. If the Foreign Office in Berlin has its way, German troops will be stationed in Kunduz, Afghanistan. So far, the ISAF mandate is limited to the capital Kabul. The Bundestag is expected to pass a resolution next week on sending more Bundeswehr soldiers to Afghanistan.

Approval will come from most parliamentary groups. Perhaps a Christian Strobele will object to the posting, or one of the two non-factional members of parliament for the PDS. That the discussion is not really taken seriously is indicated by two circumstances. First, NATO, which currently leads the ISAF force in Afghanistan, already approved the German project last week. If the Bundestag should agree, so it was announced, an advance command of 70 soldiers could be sent immediately. Which, in reverse, means that they are already ready to march.

Quickly to war

But all this is to happen much faster. "We have to be prepared for situations", said the CDU defense expert and deputy chairman of the CDU, Wolfgang Schauble, "in which our previous lengthy procedures will not suffice." Will heiben: Parliament is to relinquish the control over the armed forces enshrined in the Basic Law. Without gross discomfort, Social Democratic Defense Minister Peter Struck calls for deep cuts in (historically based) democratic Bundeswehr control. In the future, it will no longer be the members of parliament who will decide on deployments, but rather a "Special committee".

Support came naturally from the German Armed Forces Association, which has always felt opposed to incompetent paternalism by civilians. In any case, in the Chemnitzer Freie Presse, the head of the association, Bernhard Gertz, hastened to endorse his minister’s position. Parliamentary decisions simply took too long, he also affirmed. Struck went on the offensive after a NATO training session in Colorado Springs, USA, a few days ago. The simulation showed that quicker decisions were needed, the minister explained, and therefore called for a "Deployment Act" until the 2004 Easter vacations. But the Social Democratic home front is proving to be closer than suspected. The proposal is currently being rejected by the majority of the SPD. According to Gernot Erler, vice chairman of the SPD parliamentary group, the consultations on this ie are "not yet concluded".

The current discussion comes as anything but a surprise. Since the beginning of the 1990s, Europe in general and Germany in particular have been working on an intervention-oriented armed force. The first Gulf War between the U.S. and Iraq literally gave the starting signal for this. It is interesting to note that since then, a heightened sense of insecurity has been used as a justification for an active military force. At the NATO summit in Rome in 1991, for example, the idea of "The talk is of multifaceted risks and dangers". Weapons of mass destruction were already very popular in security policy rhetoric at that time. When the new defense policy guidelines were presented a year later on the initiative of the then defense minister Gerhard Stoltenberg (CDU), what many had feared could be read in black and white: For the first time, economic interests were explicitly mentioned as a reason for deployment of the Bundeswehr.

Berlin thus moved in line with the international trend. While the "Peacekeeping missions" Somalia and Bosnia were still under UN administration, the world organization has relinquished its legislative power since 1999. In April of that year, by the way, the "Special Forces Command" (KSK), whose 1.000 men to the "rapid intervention" . When Rudolf Scharping took over the defense portfolio, the German armed forces had 37.000 forces. According to the key data of the Bundeswehr reform – as it was first presented on 14. The number of troops in the KSK, which was approved by the Bundestag on June 1, 2000, is expected to reach 150 by 2006.000 soldiers are deployed.

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