Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics
from Global News Journal:
Germans have spent the last six decades trying to be as un-militaristic as possible.
Their struggle to make a complete U-turn from their belligerent past has caused many an awkward moment for the country and its NATO allies. In avoiding the mere mention of the word “war” that seemed to be all but banished from their vocabulary, German leaders raised in a post-war era and the motto "Nie Wieder Krieg!" (No more war ever) have gone through tortuous tongue-twisting excursions about what the increasingly deadly mission in Afghanistan isn’t – a war.
But all that angst about "war" was suspended, at least temporarily, on Friday when Chancellor Angela Merkel went, for the first time, to a funeral service for three German soldiers. They were killed in an ambush in Afghanistan on Good Friday.
Until now Merkel had kept her distance to the increasingly unpopular mission in Afghanistan and the 4,300 German soldiers stationed there. But on Friday she cut short a holiday to attend an emotional ceremony broadcast live on German TV networks, where she defended the country’s involvement despite 39 soldiers killed so far on what was supposed to be a peacekeeping mission. "Most soldiers would call it a civil war or simply war -- and I can well understand that," said Merkel, 55.
Germany has slipped up again in Afghanistan, mistakenly killing five Afghan soldiers after losing three of its own soldiers in a gunfight with insurgents in the northern province of Kunduz. For a nation with little appetite for a war 3,000 miles away, the losses couldn’t come at a worse time. Germany is still feeling the repercussions of an incident in September in which its forces called in a U.S. air strike that killed scores of people, at least 30 civilians, the deadliest incident involving German forces since World War 11.