Information Warfare: September 1, 2005

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Europeans can be very touchy when it comes to military matters, especially when you mix political correctness, poor reporting and hostility towards the American removal of Saddam Hussein. An excellent example of this can be found in a recent incident where Switzerland froze an offer to give Iraq 180 second hand U.S. made M-113 APCs (Armored Personnel Carriers.) The donation was made with the understanding that the armored vehicles would be used for, "police services, border protection and transport of material." Then a Swiss newspaper published an assertion, made because of a poor translation (from English to German) that the second hand Swiss APCs were to become part of the Iraqi army. The Swiss dont want to be seen contributing to the rebuilding of the Iraqi army, which is somehow more evil than helping other Iraqi security services. Actually, the very politically correct Swiss are not giving the M-113s to Iraq, but are selling them to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has said it would pass them on to Iraq. Swiss were upset with the initial deal because they believed it would tamper with Swiss neutrality. Switzerland has not fought in a war for nearly two centuries (except for one minor civil war, over religion and federalism,  in 1847). This long peace has proved very lucrative for Switzerland (something they dont like to talk about, but facts are facts), which did business with many of the combatants, without getting involved in the fighting. World War II was particularly lucrative for Switzerland. The current deal was also criticized inside Switzerland for possibly enraging Islamic terrorists, and causing them to make attacks against Switzerland. The M-113 deal was originally approved because it was believed that helping the Iraqi government pacify their country would be a good thing for everyone. Well, almost. Depends on how you word it. Eventually, the Swiss approved the sale, saying that you can't be neutral against terrorism.

 


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