Sunday, September 26, 2004
How the mighty have fallen: During WWII the German Army's blitzkrieg dominated Europe. The German warrior culture was so feared that for decades the world kept the country divided into East and West.
Today, one retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. can send the Germans into full retreat by suggesting that Germany only likes the U.S. troops for the money they spend in cities adjacent to their American bases.
HEIDELBERG, Germany — The German military has pulled out of the U.S. Army’s annual Land Combat Expo, protesting an opinion piece written by a controversial retired U.S. officer slated to be a guest speaker at next week’s event.
Retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a noted author and frequent lecturer in military circles, wrote an opinion piece blasting the Germans in the New York Post on Aug. 19. The column came in the wake of criticism from Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign team of President Bush’s plan to reduce U.S. forces in Europe and Asia.
“Not one presents a reasoned strategic argument for maintaining wasteful garrisons abroad. And not one admits that the Germans only care about losing the jobs we provide,” wrote Peters.
“Regarding the Democrats’ claim that we’ll lose influence in Europe, the obvious question is, ‘What influence?’” Peters continued. “We’re not stabbing our French and German ‘allies’ in the back. They stabbed us. And they’ll do it again. Our troop posture in Europe doesn’t give us influence over the Europeans — it gives the Europeans power over us.”
In response, German army leaders informed U.S. officials on Tuesday that they’ve decided to pull out of the expo, said Col. Hans Kling, the chief German liaison officer at the Army European headquarters in Heidelberg. Kling said the decision to withdraw from the expo was made by the commander of Germany’s land forces, Lt. Gen. Axel Bürgener.
I'm pretty sure that a John Kerry administration could get the Germans to like us more -- but I don't think it would change their actions one bit. If a little criticism by a retired American officer can get the German Army to pull out of an exposition, then I suspect that two dozen bloggers making funny faces at them could cause them to unilaterally disarm.
Peters makes an excellent point:
“I think the fact that they’re pulling out is the best imaginable indicator of how weak our alliance is, how meaningless Germany’s contribution is,” said Peters. “If they pull out because they can’t stand one 800-word opinion piece in an American newspaper, how could we possibly expect them to stand by us in a violent crisis?”
In short, is Germany going to send troops to Iraq -- even if John Kerry is elected president? Don't hold your breath.
(via Davids Medienkritik)