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Germany in Afghanistan

Germany, much like America, is struggling with what involvement in Afghanistan means.

“The German men and women in Afghanistan set off for war without the support of the populace, and they know that when they return there won’t be crowds cheering in the streets, ready to make heroes of them. Germany has turned its back on hero worship. The soldiers fight alone.

“This sense of appreciation, you don’t get that, the feeling that wearing your uniform people are going to be proud of you,” said Heike Groos, who has written about her time as a German military doctor in Afghanistan. “Young people die. Young people are badly wounded and one feels out of place and lonely when one thinks, ‘No one in Germany understands and no one in Germany is even interested’ .”

In many ways this conflict, and German participation in it, is a turning point for the postwar German society. Even more so than Kosovo, Afghanistan represents a kind of Rubicon, the question is whether Germany will cross it. Has this nation moved past its terrible personal history? Can it take its place among the nations of the world when it comes to military matters? This of course is a complicated example because German leaders seem to be incredibly ambivalent about their nation’s participation. If Germany is going to remain on the ground it would seem that its leader need to make a strong case that it is in the national interest. If not they should also make that case.

When you sit on the fence too long you only get splinters…

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