Support Our (German) Troops

Feldpost für unsere Soldaten is a campaign recognizing the sacrifices of German soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.

My friend Joerg Wolf, who runs the superb Atlantic Community site, is starting a campaign to get German citizens to recognize the sacrifices that Bundeswehr soldiers are making in Afghanistan.

Expressing support for the country’s soldiers in Afghanistan may be common in the United States, but can be hard to find in Germany. While most US critics of the war Afghanistan make extra efforts to distinguish between criticism of the strategy/purpose of the wars and the service of the troops, such differentiation usually is not made in Germany. Besides, It is practically unheard of to see a car with the bumper sticker “Support our Troops” in Germany.

The Bundeswehr troops do not get much moral support from citizens, media, celebrities or politicians. Instead many soldiers are concerned about the opinion polls that indicate popular disapproval of the Afghanistan war.

Therefore the Atlantische Initiative has teamed up with Germany’s biggest daily newspaper and started the campaign “Feldpost für unsere Soldaten!”

We encourage our readers and members to write short personal messages of support for the Bundeswehr troops. We will then forward the best ones to the various bases in Afghanistan. Several hundred messages have already been published by our partners at the top-selling periodical, Bild.

While there’s a certain bitter irony in lamenting the lack of fighting spirit in Germany, they are one of our most important allies and 42 of their soldiers have died fighting in Afghanistan, putting them behind only the USA, UK, and Canada.  They deserve the thanks of their nation and ours.

FILED UNDER: Europe, Military Affairs, Quick Takes
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Brummagem Joe says:

    These guys sacrifices need to be recognized Jim but it’s a lost cause in Germany. My German son in law’s father is as conservative as they come and he thinks the Germans are out of the their minds being in Afghanistan. Britain has the second largest troop contingent there and about 75% of the country wants to leave and I’m sure the number is higher in Germany.

  2. Thomas says:

    Bring the troops home. End this silliness.

  3. James Joyner says:

    @Joe and Thomas:

    I think we can simultaneously believe that the mission in Afghanistan is futile and that soldiers engaged in a laudable mission deserve our respect.

  4. Joerg says:

    Thank you for the post and all your comments.

    I am not sure it is a lost cause. Four out of five parties in the Bundestag have been supporting the war since 2002, incl. the current two opposition parties. Still, I agree that the opinion polls bring it doubt how much longer this mission can be sustained.