2008: The German parliament is un an uproar over a report depicting the German
soldiers as physically unfit for military service. It was found that 40 percent
of the troops were overweight, compared to 35 percent of their civilian
counterparts (of the same gender and age). The investigation also found that
the troops exercise less (including participation in sports), and smoke more (70
percent do) than their civilian counterparts. The military encourages sports
and physical fitness, and discourages smoking, but those efforts do not appear
to be working.
just a German problem. The basic problem with European military organizations
is that most of them are basically make-work programs. It's long been known
that many European soldiers are not really fit for action. They are uniformed
civil servants. One reason many are not ready for combat, or even peacekeeping,
operations, is that they don't have the equipment, or the training. And that's
because up-to-date gear, and training, are expensive. A disproportionate amount
of money is spent on payroll. That keeps the unemployment rate down more
effectively than buying needed equipment, or paying for the fuel and spare
parts needed to support training.
would not be an issue if Europeans did not get involved in military operations.
When they do that, the deficiencies become very obvious. It happened in the
1990s, when peacekeepers were needed in the Balkans, and after that, when
forces were needed in Afghanistan and Iraq. Same problem with putting together
European peacekeeping forces for Darfur and Chad.
the only real exception, withÂ armed
forces capable of going into action. But even that is under attack, as British
politicians try to emulate other European nations, and save money by creating
hollow forces that are there, but cannot really do much.
there's the United States, which the Europeans know they can call on if they
ever need some real military muscle. So confident are the Europeans, that they
heap abuse and scorn on the U.S. and the American military, knowing that the
Americans will still show up if Europe ever faces a threat.
end of the Cold War, Europe is, for the first time ever, at peace. Truly at
peace. There is no military threat. There are the Islamic terrorists, but that
lot doesn't have an army. They are a public safety, not a military, threat.
It's a unique situation in European history, and European generals and
politicians are still trying to get their heads wrapped around it. There are
potential military threats, but nothing in the immediate future that requires a
large force. There's peacekeeping, and that's what the Europeans are trying to
organize for. That, however, costs a lot of money, and you can't support the
traditional type forces, and the new peacekeeper ones, as well. But the idea of
disposing of ancient military traditions and organizations is, well, hard to