From the horse's mouth, so they say, German soldiers "are softies who lack discipline, hate responsibility and show an inadequate desire to serve their country."
General Wolfgang Schneiderhahn, the general inspector of the Bundeswehr, told the German parliament that depite their positive contribution in Afghanistan, complaints from troops about their conditions were an "embarrassment"."We have given a good account of ourselves in Afghanistan, but we cannot guarantee an all-round feel-good feeling for soldiers," said the general, before going on to detail the less dignified side of the country's armed forces.He cited complaints reaching him about the quality of sleeping bags used in a deployment in the Congo."Are our soldiers too soft?" asked the best-selling daily German newspaper Bild.Gen Schneiderhahn told politicians in Berlin on Monday that the descendants of the country's mighty military machines of the past needed to have "a better feeling for discipline and to show a greater readiness to serve the state".Interesting devolution, from what was once the most feared military machine in the world to nothing more than a glorified gendarmerie. In fairness to our Kraut allies, this is largely a political problem, in that the Germans are -understandably, given their history- reluctant to use military force outside their borders. Remember that up until 1994, the Bundeswehr was restricted to border defense only.Here, war might be the answer. There's nothing more demoralizing to a combat unit than to be demoted to occupational force (the German army mainly does peacekeeping and reconstruction). Allowing the Germans to fight in Afghanistan, alongside their British, Dutch, American, and Canadian allies, could jumpstart their inner warriors -- and hopefully give them more important to worry about than sleeping bags.--John Noonan