Thursday, November 19, 2015

On the Bundeswehr Topic

There was a short piece on ARD (Channel One of German state-run media) on connecting the German Army (the Bundeswehr) to the security apparatus of Germany.

If you watch enough of the video from France.....French soldiers are out in public, armed, part of the national security mechanism.  The French public readily accepts this and approves.  There's no conflict and no laws to prevent the French government from doing this.

In Germany?  Well, it's not that accepted and they built laws into place after 1945 to hinder the Bundeswehr being part of the national security structure.

When you go back to the early 1960s and the Hamburg Flood episode.....this was the first occasion that the nation asked itself about the laws preventing the German Army from helping the German people.  Legally, by the Basic Law (the German Constitution), it was not in a position to do much.  The Basic Law says that the Bundeswehr is built for the defense of the nation from outside threats, and the police are there for the interior protection.

However, there is this short paragraph in the Basic Law.....Article 35, paragraph 2.....has a very simple reading that says disaster relief is one area where the Bundeswehr can be asked to help.  There's a second area left to help as well....Article 87a, paragraph 4....where an internal emergency could exist and the Bundeswehr would assist as directed.

The disaster relief angle came up in the mid-1960s and probably results greatly from lessons learned from the flood episode.  The internal emergency angle comes up after 9-11 in Germany.

All of this leads to conflict over how the military could fit into internal security of Germany today, with the escalation of terror.  The intellectual argument is that police will protect the rights of the citizen and are better suited for the requirement.  The intellectual argument would even go a step further and state that they've funded and established various SWAT teams around Germany today for serious confrontational let them handle that.

All of this is true, but when you start talking about a "presence" at public structures, for weeks and weeks, the cops simply don't have the manpower to extend out and cover that much territory.  Even if you put the cops on a 60-hour a week schedule....there are thousands of public areas that you simply won't be able to cover with adequate security.

At some point, I would suspect that the political players will meet and have a very long discussion about the future and how they could quietly fit the Bundeswehr into national security during events like this.

A lot has happened since 1945 and public sentiment over the Germany Army is awful high and positive.  It would be hard to find anyone in Germany who has some fear of the Bundeswehr.

Quietly one will find changes occurring and then observe Bundeswehr members on German streets, and just accept it.

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