Germany at War
The Merkel government agrees to add 500 more troops in Afghanistan.
Ahead of tomorrow's London conference, German chancellor Angela Merkel announced her country would be deploying an additional 500 troops to Afghanistan—far short of what the Obama administration was hoping for, namely, 2,000 more soldiers. In addition, reports the Financial Times, "Germany would also raise development and reconstruction payments from a planned €220m to €440m per year until the end of 2013, and increase the number of German police trainers to 200 from 123."
The slight increase (by U.S. military standards) is still a politically risky move by the coalition government considering the current deployment—the third largest in the region—is already highly unpopular. As Bundestag member Rainer Stinner (speaking for himself) earlier explained, the German people should have been told the ISAF mission was a military one and not just a provision of economic and infrastructural assistance. So uncomfortable are Germans with the word "war," Stinner said, that in his business consulting days, he recalled when a "project room" was designated by his American counterparts as a "war room." In consternation, he and his colleagues wondered, "What is this war room?"
But semantical progress seems to have been made. At a recent "international town meeting" sponsored by America Abroad Media, German defense minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said, "we didn’t describe Afghanistan as a war deployment but it really is a war and we are at an important juncture."