Germany never had a real chance. Unlike other countries, which had colonies, we lost ours with the peace treaty of Versailles in 1919 and not by wars waged against German colonization by the peoples of the colonies themselves. The Herero insurrection in 1904 was quenched by a bloodbath, but that was it.
Apparently, Dien Bien Phu is a lesson every major nation must go through, and now some folks think it's our turn. In Afghanistan, nobody shoots at our boys, nor does anyone in former Yugoslavia, where our boys have to shoot each other accidentally in order to have something to write home about. Even this does not happen too often.
The newest challenge is the Democratic Republic of Congo. To be frank, we have no business there. Folks there are no threat at all to Germany. Some come over and seek asylum in Germany, but definitely not in an aggressive way.
The official reason why our boys (and maybe a few girls; hey, we’re progressive after all!) are being sent to Kinshasa is to “protect” (what else) the elections. The mandate will officially be restricted to a four-month term, but nobody really believes that it will not be extended.
What's to protect there? A ruling elite screams for help at the brink of a potential civil war. The country has substantially more acreage than Germany, most of it being not exactly developed in the sense of German Autobahn access, so our wise and infallible leaders restrict the mandate to the capital, Kinshasa.
None of our soldiers can speak the local languages. There has been no significant reconnaissance. Our soldiers are of a different color than the people, which makes them easy targets. This is a recipe for premeditated disaster.
In a war theatre, where you don't understand the language, don't know who's who, can't hide in the population, you're dead. This mission will give the expression “termination leave” a new meaning.
Angie, get ready to tell the parents of the kids you're hauling home in black plastic bags, why you think this is necessary. Tell the rest of us unenlightened taxpayers why we have to fund premeditated murder.
Disclaimer: Since in Germany it is considered a felony to call soldiers murderers, I herewith emphasize that I did not say so. To send soldiers to a place where they will most probably be slaughtered is what I consider murder.
Btw, a reader of my last article told me that Biafra is a province of Nigeria, not of Congo. Apparently, the blood stains on the map I looked at were too thick. I thank him!
Ulrich Biele [send him mail] is a consultant in Munich, Germany.