Dienstag, März 20, 2007

Speaking Truth To Power...

I met now-retired Gen. Klaus Naumann back in 1984 or 1985 when I went to NATO HQ in Bruxelles with retired Gen. Bennecke, who was teaching security policy at the Albert-Ludwigs Universität zu Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. He was a Lt. Col. at that time and gave an incredibly kick-ass talk on the NATO dual-track decision that remained very controversial at that time. His competence and mastery of every aspect of that decision was very impressive, done with no notes, no preparation, zilch, and he underscored for me the fact that really successful modern officers are not the kind of idiots that your typical leftist or journalist (sorry, I repeat myself) usually thinks they are, but rather consummate professionals, the ones you want on your side and really, really worry about if they are not.

Well, he's up to his old tricks, and he does it so well...

It's up here, unfortunately in German only, but here's my quick-and-dirty translation of the relevant part:

Ex-NATO-General accuses German politicians of ignorance

Ex-General Naumann has blown a gasket: in terms of the loud criticism of the planned US-rocket shield, the former NATO commander points out that leading German politicians have absolutely no idea of what they are talking about. Their statements show "an almost unbelievable ignorance".

In the debate, most facts are left unmentioned. In Deutschland-Funk (a radio station - JO) he pointed out that most of the facts point not to a threat against the Russians, but rather the opposite. The US is planning to put in only 10 rockets, says Naumann. Given the more than 1000 Russian atom rockets with multiple warheads, their use against Russia is completely senseless. The warnings of leading politicians about a new arms race documents their complete ignorance.

In addition, so Neumann, the US missiles are to be stationed in eastern Europe. This means that in an attack they couldn't even reach any Russian missiles fired at the US, since these rockets would be fired over the North Pole and not over Europe. If Russia claims that the rocket shield in Poland and the Czech Republic is threatening their security, then this must be classified as an unashamed manipulation of the public.

He also emphasized that the US has been talking with Russia about their plans to move in these missiles. These discussions were part of bilateral talks with the Russians before Putin's talk at the Munich Security Conference. That's why it is amazing that the German Foreign Secretary Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD), immediately after Putin's speech, called for the necessity of at least talking to the Russians, criticized the former German general.

The rest of the article is about the French response and doesn't go into more detail.

Suffice to say: Naumann is absolutely correct. Absolutely. If you add to these facts the fact that the whole missiles-in-Poland plan was offered to NATO to be a part of about 8 years ago and rejected by them then, well...sort of puts it all in perspective, don't it?

The modern German political parties - mainly the SPD, but this unfortunately holds true for the rest of them - are idiots when it comes to the military and woefully ignorant of military affairs.

This is really speaking truth to power: to point out the woeful ignorance of the facts is on a completely different basis than what the populist left means when they claim to be "speaking truth to power" while in reality they are just yammering about how lousy the government is because they're not in power.

The last really good German Defense Minister was Manfred Wörner (1982-1988) who was then the NATO General Secretary from 1988 to his untimely death from cancer in 1994. Steinmeier is a joke.

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