Syria Intervention: Why Are German Netizens Against It?

Syria Intervention

Why Are German Netizens Against It?

The German parliament has decided: Germany will participate in a combat mission in Syria. Some politicians and the majority of German netizens are against it. The German Gist gives you the most common reasons.

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The Bundeswehr, the German army, are so called Parliament forces: Under normal circumstances, the German parliament, Bundestag, has to vote whether it is necessary or not for Germany to participate in a war. On December 4th, 2015 the Bundestag agreed to a combat mission in Syria.

The result of the vote was no surprise since most government members had already announced that they would decide in favor of the assignment in Syria. Only the opposition party Die Linke unanimously voted no. However, some coalition government parliament members also voted against the Bundeswehr assignment, despite traditionally high party loyalty. The politician Swen Schulz (SPD), for example, tweeted live from the Bundestag:

At the #Bundestag I will vote against the #Syria mission

What his reasons were, he already explained ahead of time in a newspaper essay:

EnglishGerman

The vote concerning the Bundeswehr assignment to fight ISIS is one of the most difficult decisions for me in my function as parliament member. I realize there are strong arguments for the assignment, because in the end military action will be necessary and because of the importance of active solidarity with France and the victims of Islamist terror worldwide.

Having said that, after careful consideration I cannot vote yes. The main reasons for this [decision] are: No absolutely certain UN Mandate exists. This is a problem under international law. Furthermore, [that there is no UN Mandate] also reveals that there is no common ground within the international community. That, however, would be a compulsory condition for the long term success of an intervention. There is neither a military nor a political concept that contains the course of action, the goal, and the mission completion options.

Diese Abstimmung über den Einsatz der Bundeswehr im Kampf gegen den IS ist für mich eine der schwersten Entscheidungen in meiner Tätigkeit als Bundestagsabgeordneter. Ich sehe starke Argumente für den Einsatz, weil letztlich militärische Mittel notwendig sind und weil der tätigen Solidarität mit Frankreich und den Opfern des islamistischen Terrors weltweit sehr große Bedeutung zukommt

Gleichwohl kann ich nach sorgfältiger Abwägung nicht zustimmen. Die hauptsächlichen Gründe dafür sind: Es liegt kein zweifelsfreies UN-Mandat vor. Das ist zum einen ein völkerrechtliches Problem. Zum anderen macht das aber auch deutlich, dass es keine gemeinsame Position der Weltgemeinschaft gibt. Die jedoch ist zwingende Voraussetzung für den nachhaltigen Erfolg einer Intervention. Es ist weder ein militärisches noch ein politisches Konzept erkennbar das Vorgehen, Zielstellung sowie Beendigungsoptionen beinhaltet.

The missing mission concept and the lack of support by the United Nations is one concern that many netizens share with the politician. However, there are additional reasons why the majority of the online community seems to be against the Syrian combat mission. Twitter user Ron Patrella, for example, writes:

Do you really think that the [combat] mission will solve THE problem? Why do people make the same mistakes over and over?

One of these mistakes probably included what Falko Rademacher tweeted sarcastically:

By the way, the great thing about bombs is that they never hit children.

Not only the future casualties in Syria concern German netizens. They fear things could get worse in their own country as Facebook user Karim Hassan points out:

EnglishGerman

oh man. even more refugees even more deaths even more hate even more terrorists and even more money for the weapon industry…

oh man. noch mehr flüchltinge noch mehr tote noch mehr hass noch mehr terroristen und noch mehr geld für die waffenindustrie…

Is the German Army Ready?

That German military participation could harm more people than it saves is not the only concern. The army and its equipment are supposed to be in a desolate state. For the planned Syrian mission Germany—among other things—wants to send six panavian tornados to fight ISIS, but those are in bad shape as Spiegel Online reports:

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Apparently, not even every other jet is deployment ready. The airforce has 93 “tornados” of which 66 are active, only 29 of those are ready to be used (44 percent). That is even less than at the corresponding inspection a year ago. Then 38 jets were deployment ready.

The tornados are between 23 and 34 years old and are considered an obsolete model. However, the new model’s “Eurofighter” readiness has not improved either. Last year the evaluation lead to a big debate about the Bundeswehr’s equipment. “The situation of our flying equipment remained unsatisfactory” concluded the Inspector General Volker Wieker in the current report. 117 measures put into action and 5,6 billion Euros were planned in for a time frame of ten years.

(…) offenbar nicht einmal jeder zweite Jet ist einsatzbereit. (…)…Bei der Luftwaffe (sind) von 93 “Tornados” 66 in Betrieb und davon wiederum nur 29 einsatzbereit (44 Prozent). Das sind noch weniger als bei der entsprechenden Untersuchung vor einem Jahr; damals waren noch 38 Jets für einen Einsatz verfügbar.(…)

Die “Tornados” sind zwischen 23 und 34 Jahre alt und gelten als Auslaufmodelle. Aber auch beim Nachfolger “Eurofighter” hat sich die Einsatzbereitschaft im Vergleich zum letzten Bericht nicht verbessert. (…) Im vergangenen Jahr hatte die Bestandsaufnahme zu einer großen Debatte über den Zustand der Bundeswehrausrüstung geführt. “Die Lage der fliegenden Systeme bleibt unbefriedigend”, urteilt Generalinspekteur Volker Wieker in dem aktuellen Bericht. 117 Maßnahmen seien ergriffen worden, und 5,6 Milliarden Euro sind für einen Zeitraum von zehn Jahren dafür veranschlagt. (…)

The comedy account of the public TV station WDR therefore published the following satirical dialogue on Twitter in which chancellor Angela Merkel asks the Secretary of Defense Ursula von der Leyen:

And why are our ole panavian tornados suddenly the silver bullet against ISIS?

Awesome, huh? While they are flying so many parts drop down—something’s always going to hit”

However, neither the fear that terrorists might focus more on Germany, nor the bad condition of army equipment are justified critism, says Bundeswehr blogger Thomas Wiegold. On the public TV station ZDF he argues:

EnglishGerman

Is this war useful? No one can give a final answer to that question. German participation in that war is not a universal cure. [The German participation] is painful, but I believe it is necessary. The airforce has many problems with their equipment. Can the “Tornados”, those fighter-jets, be sent there at all? Well, yes that is possible. Although only half of the fleet is ready, but for those six jets that are supposed to fly for reconnaissance reasons it will be more than enough. Because of that, some people say, Germany will come into the firing line of terrorists. That is a big error. Germany is already in the line of fire of terrorists. It does not matter if the German air force is active there or not.

(…) Ist dieser Krieg sinnvoll? Darauf kann keiner endgültig eine Antwort geben. (…) Diese deutsche Beteiligung am Krieg ist kein Allheilmittel. Sie ist schmerzlich, aber ich glaube sie ist nötig. (…) Die Luftwaffe … hat große Probleme mit ihrer Technik. Kann sie die „Tornados“, diese Kampfjets, überhaupt dorthin schicken? Nun, das kann sie schon. Zwar ist weniger als die Hälte deutschen Tornado-Flotte einsatzbereit, aber für die sechs Maschinen, die dort Aufklärung fliegen sollen, wird es allemal reichen. (…) Es gibt Stimmen, die sagen, damit gerät Deutschland ins Fadenkreuz terroristischer Anschläge. Das ist ein großer Irrtum. Deutschland ist längst im Fadenkreuz terroristischer Anschläge – ob die deutsche Luftwaffe dort mitfliegt oder nicht.

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