LHStarAlliance
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Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:42 pm

Robert Gates wrote to the Federal Government a 8 pages long letter claiming for German Troops to the South of Afghanistan - This some weeks before the Nato Meeting in Vilnius .

Will the Government agree at the End , will the pressure be to high ? How could the Americans put the Germans under pressure , I don't see any way ...

Why are all Countries "shouting" to Germany to send more troops ? Canada is menacing that they'll retire 2500 soldiers if , "some European Countries" meaning Germany don't sends 1000 more .


Constantin


http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/0,1518,532442,00.html

[Edited 2008-01-31 11:45:35]

[Edited 2008-01-31 11:46:03]
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Confuscius
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:45 pm

South to where...Austria?
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LHStarAlliance
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:46 pm



Quoting Confuscius (Reply 1):
South to where...Austria?

yes
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Confuscius
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:50 pm



Quoting LHStarAlliance (Reply 2):
yes

Thanks for the clarification...and editing.

Yeah, they need more troops in Afghanistan...that's where al-Qaeda is strongest and not in Mesopotamia.
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Banco
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:51 pm

Quoting LHStarAlliance (Thread starter):
How could the Americans put the Germans under pressure , I don't see any way ...

If you mean Afghanistan, it's because the Americans, British, Canadians and Dutch are fed up with being the ones doing the dirty work and all the fighting in the likes of Helmand province, that's why.

[Edited 2008-01-31 11:54:45]
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LHStarAlliance
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:56 pm



Quoting Banco (Reply 4):
If you mean Afghanistan, it's because the Americans, British, Canadians and Dutch are fed of being the ones doing the dirty work and all the fighting in the likes of Helmand province, that's why.

Na what I ask is how could Americans put Germans under pressure so they send the troops .
Now the Bundesregierung would always say , we can't because it is not popular and we could lose votes ...
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skyservice_330
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:57 pm



Quoting LHStarAlliance (Thread starter):
Why are all Countries "shouting" to Germany to send more troops ? Canada is menacing that they'll retire 2500 soldiers if , "some European Countries" meaning Germany don't sends 1000 more .

As part of NATO and a coalition isn't it only right that all members take their fair share of the heavy work? Canada has been taking on casualties in the south while others have been avoiding the combat aspect of the mission because of their caveats. Time to step up to the plate I say. And no, it doesn't only mean Germany, I am sure Canadians would be happy just as long as someone steps forward.
 
Klaus
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:59 pm

Those demands are not entirely unreasonable on the face of it, although the german forces certainly can't expand their commitments indefinitely.

My misgivings relate primarily to the problematic american mission leadership and their refusal to discuss or modify their approach.
 
Banco
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Thu Jan 31, 2008 7:59 pm



Quoting LHStarAlliance (Reply 5):
we can't because it is not popular and we could lose votes ...

It might not be popular and it might lose votes. But Skyservice is right. It is hardly fair that the burden of the heavy work is falling on the shoulders of a very few countries. These nations are losing people out there.
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Banco
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:04 pm



Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
My misgivings relate primarily to the problematic american mission leadership and their refusal to discuss or modify their approach.

The tail rarely wags the dog.

At different times, this campaign has been under British and Canadian command as well. Both nations have substantial commitments there, and the Americans have has no problem serving under the command of either, just as the British and Canadians currently have no problems serving under American command.
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Klaus
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops Sou

Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:18 pm



Quoting Banco (Reply 9):
The tail rarely wags the dog.

If there is only a chain of command without any consideration of alternative strategies or tactics on the upper levels, it's not an alliance mission. In that case our troops could only be withdrawn.

As far as I'm aware the overall strategy and tactics for the active military operations have been devised exclusively by the american side with as little consideration of alternatives as we've seen everywhere else with the Bush administration. And the problematic consequences of that strategy in Afghanistan don't let this approach look like a winner much more than the one in Iraq devised by the same people.

That is where my misgivings originate.
 
WrenchBender
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:32 pm

Klaus
From the ISAF Website.....
"Who is in charge?
The political direction and co-ordination for the mission is provided by NATO's principal decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council. Based on the political guidance from the Council, strategic command and control is exercised by NATO's top operational headquarters, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium."
link to the site http://www.nato.int/isaf/index.html
Please don't confuse the American presence(Enduring Freedom) with ISAF, which also includes Americans with a different command chain.

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A342
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Thu Jan 31, 2008 8:33 pm

Am I the only one who initially thought "That Microsoft founder really has to get involved in EVERYTHING!" ?  biggrin 
Exceptions confirm the rule.
 
Klaus
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Thu Jan 31, 2008 10:35 pm



Quoting WrenchBender (Reply 11):
From the ISAF Website.....
"Who is in charge?
The political direction and co-ordination for the mission is provided by NATO's principal decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council. Based on the political guidance from the Council, strategic command and control is exercised by NATO's top operational headquarters, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium."
link to the site http://www.nato.int/isaf/index.html
Please don't confuse the American presence(Enduring Freedom) with ISAF, which also includes Americans with a different command chain.

I don't. My problem is that my last information was that the operative forces are effectively under US command with a strict refusal to consider requests for strategic or tactical changes.

I'd love to hear that things have changed since then (I haven't watched that aspect too closely), but simply providing german cannon fodder to compensate for a lack of american one due to Iraq would not be acceptable.

If there is actual allied cooperation going on, those requests for german troops are okay with me at least in principle. But not if they're just intended as voiceless vassal contingents.

Quoting A342 (Reply 12):
Am I the only one who initially thought "That Microsoft founder really has to get involved in EVERYTHING!" ?

Just for a few clock cycles...!  cool 

Actually, I hope that the current US SecDef is more competent than the other one...
 
Banco
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Fri Feb 01, 2008 10:02 am



Quoting Klaus (Reply 13):
I don't. My problem is that my last information was that the operative forces are effectively under US command with a strict refusal to consider requests for strategic or tactical changes.

ISAF switches command between the countries that are operationally engaged. As stated before, at different times the NATO forces have been under British and Canadian command including American troops.

Quoting Klaus (Reply 13):
but simply providing german cannon fodder to compensate for a lack of american one due to Iraq would not be acceptable.

The implication there is somewhat distasteful. Given that Afghanistan is a NATO operation, of which Germany is a member, you are supposed to be part of the operation. It is simply not fair to leave it to the usual suspects to do all the fighting and take the casualties. It's not just the US that wants the likes of Germany and France to do more, the other three combatant nations do as well. If the Dutch can do it (and they have) the French and Germans certainly can. Your alpine troops would be of immense value, and sitting in nice, safe Kabul whilst the others are fighting and dying is going to cause resentment.
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Klaus
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops Sou

Sat Feb 02, 2008 3:24 pm



Quoting Banco (Reply 14):
ISAF switches command between the countries that are operationally engaged. As stated before, at different times the NATO forces have been under British and Canadian command including American troops.

The issue is not formal command, the issue is actual cooperation on the strategic and tactical level. If the current strategy (sucking up to the warlords / drug barons and air-bombing villages with little discrimination) is kept in place, it simply doesn't matter who is sitting on the big chair.

Quoting Banco (Reply 14):
The implication there is somewhat distasteful.

Most certainly. And I don't want our soldiers in that situation as long as that is the case.

Quoting Banco (Reply 14):
Given that Afghanistan is a NATO operation, of which Germany is a member, you are supposed to be part of the operation. It is simply not fair to leave it to the usual suspects to do all the fighting and take the casualties.

German troops working up there in the north had to do not least with the total refusal of the US side to even consider talking about strategy and tactics with anyone else - the strategy and tactics were devised by the US side and whoever participated had to fit in and obey.

The schism about Iraq only deepened the reservations on our side.

And the harsh letter from Gates is transparently a demand to replace troops which have been extracted from Afghanistan in 2003 to start the disastrous Iraq invasion, at the very least american and british ones.

The limp handling of the drug problem and the resulting resurgence of opposing forces including the Taliban was one of the consequences. The entire strategy has largely failed, and that failure was in large part owed to fundamental misconceptions about the nature of the operation, quite like in Iraq.

At this time sending our troops into battles chosen, prepared and commanded by people with such a record of proven ineptitude and lack of foresight would be extremely difficult (if possible at all) to justify in the Bundestag, let alone in the general population. (It would of course be at least premature to dump all the blame on the military commanders - we all know that the political level had a lot to do with the way things have been done.)

The tone of the letter has probably also played a part in the official rebuttal it has received by now.


A major change of strategy which could actually turn Afghanistan around could make such a deployment debatable if the resources were available, at least for me; Even if increased risks were involved, the chances might still be worth it.

But at this point we're apparently looking at an attempt to procure just another chunk of cannon fodder, without the existing mistakes being corrected first as far as I can see.
 
Banco
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:27 pm



Quoting Klaus (Reply 15):
But at this point we're apparently looking at an attempt to procure just another chunk of cannon fodder,

Utter rot. Firstly you're implying that the British, Canadians and Dutch are cannon fodder. An outrageous implication.

It never seems to occur to you that German sentiment is ignored because the Germans don't pull their weight.
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Charles79
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sat Feb 02, 2008 4:35 pm



Quoting Banco (Reply 4):
If you mean Afghanistan, it's because the Americans, British, Canadians and Dutch are fed up with being the ones doing the dirty work and all the fighting in the likes of Helmand province, that's why.

Even though I understand that this is a NATO operation lets not forget that it was the USA that pulled everybody into that conflict, only to shift strategy and go and invade Iraq. My biggest beef with Gates is his statement that the US military is stretched "too thin". Well, if that's the case, why the hell go and invade Iraq when you are not done re-building Afghanistan or capturing OBL? As an American military officer I find it insulting that my leadership is now placing the blame on other nations to cover their own short-sightedness. I agree with the Germans on this one...
 
GDB
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops Sou

Sat Feb 02, 2008 5:59 pm

Just imagine if during previous conflicts, one of the Allies refused quite reasonable demands in a serious situation, because another had done something a few years before that they did not approve entirely of.

Gates is no Donald Rumsfeld, he is asking very pertinent questions about just what all those forces in some larger NATO nations are for.
It's just no good to say 'we only do the more benign peacekeeping', when situations on the ground can change rapidly.
Did we all learn nothing from the break up of the former Yugoslavia?
That thug in Belgrade, now happily no longer on this Earth, could and should have been stopped in the early 1990's.
And what was the result of that?

In this period, the UK government at the time, with that dreadful old Foreign Office Mandarin, Douglas Hurd, in the Cabinet as Foreign Secretary, was as culpable.
But the uncomfortable facts are that certain nations were very quick to ask for US help, for a problem in their own backyard, that they, given the will, had the military resources to do themselves.

All of a sudden, the cry from many in the US of 'ungrateful Europeans' is not just the usual WW2 referenced knee-jerk, from the usual suspects.
It seemed perverse that the US turned down so many offers of NATO help for Afghanistan in 2001, which may have helped Bin Laden to get away, by instead using unreliable, bribe-able, Afghan fighters. Which would leave a void later filled by a resurgent Taliban.
But now, if the caveats were demanded then by some, as now, you can see why they were turned down.

Picture if you will, a collapse of the aid and military effort in Afghanistan, the Taliban again in charge, again a base for terrorism, terrorism that HAS plotted against the very nations refusing to pull their weight, even before Sept 11th 2001.
A massive victory to them, which would also greatly embolden the terrorists, not to mention the appalling effects on millions of ordinary Afghans, who we in the West promised would not be abandoned, again.
That would be a tragic case of some nations, cutting off their nose to spite their face.

And the rift across the Atlantic would likely be permanent, to the pleasure of not just Islamists, but Iranian despots and even Putin and his successors.
Try then asking for help from the US, Canada, or UK, if another serious situation erupts in the Balkans again, or Russia gets more and more bullying.

[Edited 2008-02-02 10:30:17]

[Edited 2008-02-02 10:32:26]
 
NoUFO
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops Sou

Sat Feb 02, 2008 6:09 pm



Quoting Banco (Reply 14):
It's not just the US that wants the likes of Germany and France to do more, the other three combatant nations do as well. If the Dutch can do it (and they have) the French and Germans certainly can. Your alpine troops would be of immense value, and sitting in nice, safe Kabul whilst the others are fighting and dying is going to cause resentment.

I understand, I really do. But to get this straight: The fact that Mr. Gates demands German troops to be deployed to Afghanistan's south is as laughable as it would be, would Minister Jung demand that Mr Gates deploys American troops to someplace else.
If this is a NATO mission, NATO can demand troops, not Mr. Gates.

Then I have some questions:

- Whom are the soldiers supposed to fight against? Al Qaida? The Taliban? Peasant farmers with opium fields? All of them? Are our troops supposed to help establishing a democracy?
The war has started in 2001 as a battle against Al Qaida and their camps in Afghanistan. Now NATO even attacks those Taliban members who didn't pick up their guns against NATO soldiers and is burning down opium fields. Not necessarely a bad thing, but who's the enemy, and what's the strategy?

- In 2005, the UK had 461 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan, while the USA had the vast amount of 89 soldiers over there. Germany on the other hand provided 1,816 - by far more than any other country. The north, formerly the place of clashes between Taliban and the so called Northern Alliance is now comparatively calm. Why isn't Britain and the U.S. saying something along the line like "ok, could be our fault ..." rather than shifting the blame?

- What is going to happen to those being captured? Will they be shipped to Guantanamo or will there be even more "rendition flights" then those we have seen in the past? What is their legal status going to be?

- If those fightings continue to push Taliban or Al Qaida members (pick one) over the border to Pakistan: Will the U.S. urge NATO to invade Pakistan one day?
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GDB
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sat Feb 02, 2008 6:45 pm

The mistakes made in the past are irrelevant now, what matters is the situation on the ground. Gates did not 'demand' anything, he has been asking reasonable requests for months, he'd be less than human if he did not get fed up at being fobbed off.
If overstretched British forces can nearly increase by some 50% their numbers on the ground, in less than two years, due to what is actually happening out there, others can step up too.
It's called give and take, or has all those decades of living and prospering under NATO strategic protection, made those decision makers blind to the reality of military operations, or any kind?

British forces will likely, somehow, at great stress to all involved, find more resources for this mission, but even some all out effort with massive extra funding and withdrawal from other important operations, would still not provide enough.
Others owe NATO this, on the subject of NATO, if there is a perception that threatening it's very existence, or even in some quarters outright hostility to it, be careful, because if it goes, it will be missed and likely very quickly.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops Sou

Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:11 pm

Quoting GDB (Reply 20):
The mistakes made in the past are irrelevant now,

Had you read my questions carefully, you would have noticed that they are not exactly aiming at the past. Quite to the contrary.

Quoting GDB (Reply 20):
Gates did not 'demand' anything, he has been asking reasonable requests for months,

How about calling NATO then instead of his German colleague? He can neither demand nor ask for troops without sounding stupid - provided this is really a NATO mission.

Quoting GDB (Reply 20):
If overstretched British forces can nearly increase by some 50% their numbers on the ground, in less than two years,

So the number of British troops were increased by some 230 from 2005 to 2007? That's interesting, because Germany increased troops committed to Afghanistan from 1,816 in 2005 to 2,850 in 2006. That's roughly 4 times as many in half of the time, while Germany, to my knowledge, is still the bigger contributor to UN peace keeping missons around the globe than Britain.
Why in the world Mr. Gates has a right to feel "fobbed off" is, against the background of those numbers, a little beyond me. Same goes for your sentiment on "other important operations", because Germany has in doubt more "other important missions" than Britain.

Quoting GDB (Reply 20):
Others owe NATO this, on the subject of NATO, if there is a perception that threatening it's very existence,

Then call NATO member countries who have contributed a couple of dozens soldiers so far.

But first and foremost I want my questions answered before I support Mr. Gates' ... er .. request.

[Edited 2008-02-02 11:20:16]
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Banco
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:17 pm



Quoting NoUFO (Reply 21):
So the number of British troops were increased by some 230 from 2005 to 2007? That's interesting, because Germany increased their troops from 1,816 in 2005 to 2,850 in 2006.

Totally wrong. There are now 8,000 British troops deployed in Afghanistan, which dwarfs the German contingent. And those British troops are on the front line.
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NoUFO
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops Sou

Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:25 pm

Banco,
According to NATO, Britain had exactly 461 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan (2005). An increase by some 50% over two years, as mentioned by GDB, would roughly sum up to an additional contingent of 230 in 2007. Is that correct?
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Banco
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:36 pm



Quoting NoUFO (Reply 23):
According to NATO, Britain had exactly 461 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan (2005). An increase by some 50% over two years, as mentioned by GDB, would roughly sum up to an additional contingent of 230 in 2007. Is that correct?

Ah, I see why you think that.

No, as I understand it, the ISAF part only referred to the operations around Kabul, and the campaigns in the south of the country were not counted in those numbers because it wasn't then under NATO command. So even though Britain had then something like 3,500 troops fighting in Afghanistan, the ISAF figures only showed around 500 as part of the ISAF grouping. Since then, the whole operation has come under NATO command, and so British forces now appear in the overall total as a much, much higher figure.

I'm willing for that to be corrected elsewhere, but I believe that's the position.
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sat Feb 02, 2008 7:56 pm

First the German military need to get their act together.
A report published about two weeks ago by an official committee under the leadership of a former general stated that the German military have a serious leadership and coordination problem.
The main reason was according to this report that, since the Bundeswehr was founded in 1955, Germany did not have a general staff anymore.
A general staff normally is a multiservice department, which centrally plans for all contingencies and makes sure that the different services (army, air force, navy and civilian government) know what they are doing.
As not to scare our neighbours so shortly after WW2, when the Bundeswehr was founded to leave all planning competence with NATO or, at lower level, decentralised with the individual services. It was never thought that Germany might be in command or running major operations by itself.

The result now in Afghanistan is an absolute chaos, both in operations as well as in logistics.
At the same time the units based in Afghanistan get micromanaged from Berlin with silly regulations (e.g. combat vehicles in Afghanistan were not allowed to be used because their pollution test had expired and there was no testing equipment available in the country, airforce ramp personnel in a combat zone had to wear dayglow yellow tabards as if they were working on an airfield at home and not in the range of possible snipers etc.).
Then the German special forces unit KSK (which falls under another chain of command than the regular German ISAF forces) was operating without coordination with locally based forces in Northern Afghanistan, leading to dangerous situations.
The individual services operate uncoordinated.

http://www.zeit.de/2008/04/Bundeswehr?page=all (in German)

Jan
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NoUFO
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops Sou

Sat Feb 02, 2008 8:03 pm



Quoting Banco (Reply 24):
No, as I understand it, the ISAF part only referred to the operations around Kabul, and the campaigns in the south of the country were not counted in those numbers because it wasn't then under NATO command.

Could be. This, however, would turn the request/urge to deploy German troops to the south as it was mentioned as early as in 2005, irrelevant. Outside NATO's borders, German troops can exclusively be under NATO or UNO command, and Operation Enduring Freedom has, to my knowledge, not been a UNO mission.

But if you have 8,000 troops in the south, all at the frontline (I won't say that you may want some people doing the logistics and support for you then, rather than more snipers and tanks), plus probably a 5-digit number of Americans, Canadians and Dutch, without being able to make the place more safe, my question on the underlying strategy gains more importance: What are 250 German soldiers supposed to achieve? Don't we rather need a new strategy?
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Banco
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sat Feb 02, 2008 8:26 pm



Quoting NoUFO (Reply 26):
Don't we rather need a new strategy?

I wouldn't begin to play armchair general on that one. I haven't a clue. But if there is lots of frustration from Canada, Britain and the US (and presumably the Netherlands too) that others aren't pulling their weight and that they desperately need re-inforcing from somewhere, then I would suggest that they are at least aware of what their strategy is - and neither you nor I are really in a position to second guess that.

The alternative to countries like Germany or France doing so is that it will have to come from the existing nations. How do you imagine that will go down?
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GDB
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sat Feb 02, 2008 8:42 pm

I was referring to the initial deployment in 2006, to date, the one where British troops found themselves in the heaviest combat since Korea or even, WW2.
Every time a request, and Gates is only requesting, he cannot order and Germany knows it, has been turned down, guess who has had to increase numbers?
From troops often only recently off serious operations elsewhere.

There are some smaller NATO nations, not just the Dutch, whose contribution, even if limited to what their small forces can do, has totally shamed larger NATO members.
It's not just about troop numbers, it's about will, doing the right thing by allies, quite frankly it's about some in power having some balls.

Some of the recent NATO members have helped some, maybe they appreciate NATO more.
But, they have had to recover, just like what was the DDR, from the Cold War era. Who are only slowly, becoming inter-operable with NATO as a whole, losing those decades of WarPac doctrine.
Here is an idea, these newer members take over much of the responsibility of certain other NATO nations in quieter areas, this will be a good way to gain NATO deployment experience, thus releasing those original NATO members, with all the advantages of all those decades as part of the alliance, to support operations where they are urgently needed.
No extra troops, in any numbers at least, required.
Seems a fair deal.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sat Feb 02, 2008 8:58 pm



Quoting Banco (Reply 27):
I wouldn't begin to play armchair general on that one.

Armchair general? I'm merely asking some question I want answered before I, a citizen in whose name soldiers will be deployed to the south (and some of them probably die), support the request. Is that too much? Am I an armchair politician when I go to the ballot box, an armchair economist when I want answers how my taxes are going to be spent?

No, pal, I'd like to know who exactly the enemy is, what happens if we continue to force Taliban or Al Qaida members over to Pakistan, and whether or not POVs are going to be POVs or sent to Guantanamo and for how long.
Sorry, I'm not the one who says "deploy more troops, fight more, ask questions later".

The German contingent has been steadily increased from 1,816 in 2005 to 2,850 in 2006 to roughly 3,500 in 2007. Is it too much to ask where this is going to end?

While I understand that the situation in the south is completely different and way more dangerous, it wasn't clear from the beginning that the north, notorious for being under the influence of the warlords of the Northern Alliance, let alone Kabul, be more peaceful than the south. You can pick any conflict you can find in world's history - the capital of the occupied country has almost always been a hotspot of violence, be it Berlin, Mogadishu, Baghdad or Belfast. Yet the two largest contributors act as if the relative peace in Kabul and in the north fell from heaven like God-sent manna and demand from the third largest contributor to do more.
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Banco
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sat Feb 02, 2008 9:06 pm



Quoting NoUFO (Reply 29):
Armchair general? I'm merely asking some question I want answered before I, a citizen in whose name soldiers will be deployed to the south (and some of them probably die), support the request. Is that too much?

You miss the point. I was saying I wasn't qualified to answer the question, not that you weren't qualified to ask it.

No need to go on a rant about my confessing my inability to answer you!  Wink
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racko
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops Sou

Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:06 pm

IMO the real question is: WHY would they want us there? We suck at war. If you eventually want to win that conflict there's no better strategy than to get us as far away from the front line as possible. Have you learned nothing from the past?  Cool
 
WrenchBender
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:06 pm



Quoting NoUFO (Reply 23):
According to NATO, Britain had exactly 461 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan (2005). An increase by some 50% over two years, as mentioned by GDB, would roughly sum up to an additional contingent of 230 in 2007. Is that correct?

According to ISAF over 7700 UK troops are in Afghanistan not including their NSE
http://www.nato.int/isaf/docu/epub/pdf/isaf_placemat.pdf

All anyone is asking is for ALL NATO Countries to pull their weight and shoulder a fair share of the effort

Quoting GDB (Reply 28):
Some of the recent NATO members have helped some, maybe they appreciate NATO more.
But, they have had to recover, just like what was the DDR, from the Cold War era. Who are only slowly, becoming inter-operable with NATO as a whole, losing those decades of WarPac doctrine.
Here is an idea, these newer members take over much of the responsibility of certain other NATO nations in quieter areas, this will be a good way to gain NATO deployment experience, thus releasing those original NATO members, with all the advantages of all those decades as part of the alliance, to support operations where they are urgently needed.
No extra troops, in any numbers at least, required.
Seems a fair deal.

Well said GDB  checkmark 

WrenchBender
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sat Feb 02, 2008 10:59 pm

Here is a fun fact:

Proportion of armed Forces currently stationed in Afganistan (i.e. not including Iraq and elsewhere)

USA: About 1 in 50
Canada: About 1 in 30
UK: 1 in 25

Germany: 1 in 297


Also, the aforementioned countries are in the South and taking many more casualties. Since thestart of the Campaign, around 200 British Troops have been killed in action, Canada a similar number, Germany has suffered only 1/10th of the casualties.

It could be seen as some countries doing more than others, however if this issue is resolved, it could break up NATO as a unit or result in the loss of membership of many countries, like France and Germany.
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NoUFO
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops Sou

Sat Feb 02, 2008 11:51 pm



Quoting WrenchBender (Reply 32):
According to ISAF over 7700 UK troops are in Afghanistan

As Banco already mentioned it seems that I first came across the ISAF numbers alone. Sorry for the confusion.

Quoting EXTspotter (Reply 33):
Proportion of armed Forces currently stationed in Afganistan (i.e. not including Iraq and elsewhere)

USA: About 1 in 50
Canada: About 1 in 30
UK: 1 in 25

Germany: 1 in 297

How so? According to WrenchBender's chart it goes more like this:

USA: 15,038
UK: 7,753
Germany: 3,155
Italy: 2,358
Canada: 1,730

ISAF + NSE: 41,741
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NoUFO
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops Sou

Sat Feb 02, 2008 11:57 pm



Quoting EXTspotter (Reply 33):
however if this issue is resolved, it could break up NATO as a unit or result in the loss of membership of many countries, like France and Germany.

France is not part of the military arm of NATO anyway, and you'll be hard pressed to find a halfway sane person who wants Germany out.
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sun Feb 03, 2008 1:09 am

My understanding is that around 80 UK personnel have been killed in Afghanistan, since 2001, not 200 thank god.

Germany is getting a bad rap here, (and they are seen as far from 'useless at war', there has never been a bad German army, in ability, not about ideology I should stress), but they are not the worst offenders here.
France had a SF contingent in the South, small but valuable, they were withdrawn. They do not have the restrictions that Germany has-not that these should apply to Afghanistan anyway.

We don't need more fast jets than already there, more troops would mean they'd be needed less too, so it's hard not to be cynical when the French response to requests for help, comprised of some Rafale's, an aircraft they are desperately trying to sell, (The UK's Typhoons will replace existing, hard worked, RAF Harriers for a time).

Others who could provide combat troops are Italy and Spain.

It also should be remembered that German troops have been killed, mostly by suicide bomb attack, if the situation is not better contained soon, more of these will occur in so called 'quiet' areas.
Then they won't be so quiet.
If you want these areas not to go the way of the South, action has to be taken, where the main Taliban threat is.
 
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:10 am



Quoting GDB (Reply 36):
t also should be remembered that German troops have been killed, mostly by suicide bomb attack, if the situation is not better contained soon, more of these will occur in so called 'quiet' areas.
Then they won't be so quiet.
If you want these areas not to go the way of the South, action has to be taken, where the main Taliban threat is.

This is what I understand the 250 (appr. 2 companies plus support troops) German combart soldiers will be used for, mainly to replace the Norwegian soldiers, who have been doing the job so far in the North.

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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:39 am



Quoting Banco (Reply 4):
How could the Americans put the Germans under pressure , I don't see any way ...

If you mean Afghanistan, it's because the Americans, British, Canadians and Dutch are fed up with being the ones doing the dirty work and all the fighting in the likes of Helmand province, that's why.



Quoting WrenchBender (Reply 11):
The political direction and co-ordination for the mission is provided by NATO's principal decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council. Based on the political guidance from the Council, strategic command and control is exercised by NATO's top operational headquarters, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe (SHAPE) in Mons, Belgium."
link to the site http://www.nato.int/isaf/index.html

So that there might be a nice compromise solution. The Germans send more troops to Afghanistan but the "command chain" is changed, so that a German general has the command in Afghanistan. And the supreme command no longer is the NATO one in Mons but the E.U. in Brussels.
 
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sun Feb 03, 2008 2:14 pm



Quoting ME AVN FAN (Reply 38):
And the supreme command no longer is the NATO one in Mons but the E.U. in Brussels.

You want to change the mission from NATO to EU ???
1. There is no EU Military alliance
2. SHAPE is the NATO HQ
3. If the Germans took on more reasponsibility in the south they might get considered for a larger command role (Which they have in Rergion North - BGen Dieter Dammjacob)


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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sun Feb 03, 2008 3:19 pm

As I said above: The primary issue I have with that demand is the current strategy. If that strategy is not sound now, it would be reckless to put our troops into its service.

So has the cosy relationship with the warlords / drug barons been reconsidered?

What about the bombings of villages with the resulting anti-western backlash? Is that still the most intelligent treatment of the conflict that's on the table?

There is a difference between a winning strategy that's merely lacking resources and a losing strategy that won't ever turn around no matter how much manpower you're pumping into it.

So only demanding more troops without even looking at the strategy can't be a way forward, especially when looking at the very questionable results of the current one.
 
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sun Feb 03, 2008 5:41 pm



Quoting Klaus (Reply 40):
So only demanding more troops without even looking at the strategy can't be a way forward, especially when looking at the very questionable results of the current one.

That's a very wise statement, Klaus. The Bush administration is at odds about what to do with Afghanistan, largely ignoring the country while Al-Qaeda regrouped. If I were Germany, I would demand from the US a commitment to change (perhaps define?) its strategy first. To be honest, I'm at a loss in regards to our mission there. First, it was to capture OBL...not done. Then, it was to destroy the Taliban...it's regrouping now as we moved our forces to Iraq. Then it was about establishing democracy...not sure if the Afghans ASKED for democracy in the first place. Now the country has few operating hospitals and schools, children are growing up without their parents, we are involved in a campaign in Iraq that lacks vision, and then we turn around and complain that our allies are not doing their part? In what fantasy world do we live in? I always thought that we rushed to war after 9/11 too quickly, but I never thought that my own country would be so ignorant to past failures that it would start this "war on terror" in Afghanistan only to pack up and leave without ensuring that the country was ready to move on. Unless our civilian leadership can provide a concrete course of action and a clear vision of what is it that they want to accomplish I find it irresponsible to send more of our brave soldiers (from the US and NATO allies) to this part of the world.

The sad part is that those that have made these choices will never face punishment.
 
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sun Feb 03, 2008 6:02 pm



Quoting WrenchBender (Reply 39):
There is no EU Military alliance

True, but there is a kind of German-French "army" of some kind, so that the forces in Afghanistan might get linked to that one. The Brits of course could join that thing.
-
 
NoUFO
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sun Feb 03, 2008 6:10 pm



Quoting Charles79 (Reply 41):
That's a very wise statement, Klaus. The Bush administration is at odds about what to do with Afghanistan, largely ignoring the country while Al-Qaeda regrouped. If I were Germany, I would demand from the US a commitment to change (perhaps define?) its strategy first.

It's a NATO mission by now, so NATO is in charge, not President Bush, and quite frankly, Bush naturally won't achieve much until November. Not to mention that he won't touch anything during his last months in office that could fail and backfire against him; and Afghanistan is such a case.

Again, I really understand that those fighting in the south of Afghanistan have bad feelings against other NATO member countries, but it's still legitimate to first find answers on at least some of the question in reply 19, and I for one don't think we are still fighting against Al Qaida, but against half of the population.
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sun Feb 03, 2008 6:24 pm



Quoting Klaus (Reply 40):
What about the bombings of villages with the resulting anti-western backlash? Is that still the most intelligent treatment of the conflict that's on the table?

British forces are usually the more reluctant to use fast jet air support, as seen in Iraq, further back in the mid 60's, in a serious confrontation against insurgents in Borneo it was never used once, but, they've had to all too often in Afghanistan, due in part to having too few troops in very heavy fighting.

The Afghan leader's recent comments attacking the UK forces, has attracted a wave of revulsion, usually in the form of the ungrateful (insert expletive of choice here)
I totally agree that there are very serious questions to be asked about a whole range of issues around the Afghan government.
Trouble is, you cannot do that with any real hope of reform before the Taliban are greatly reduced in strength, put simply, there is a war to fight, now.
I hate using WW2 analogies here, but both Churchill and FDR found Charles De Gaulle often insufferable, arrogant, Anglophobe paranoid to a destructive degree and yes, ungrateful.
But they did not let this distract from what had to be done.

Do the Afghans want NATO/EU/UN/various aid agencies, well try asking them if they want the Taliban back.
Ask a female, ask anyone remotely educated.

I agree that the US should have committed many more troops to Afghanistan in 2001, I agree that Iraq was a massive blunder, that does not change the reality of the situation on the ground, fellow NATO troops are fighting, being maimed, dying, in an operation that all signed up to.
What do we mean when we say Alliance.
A continual refusal to help will not be forgotten, and not just in Washington.
And if they all thought it would go a certain, benign way, they've clearly never heard the truism that 'plans rarely survive contact with the enemy'.

Many in the nations being singled out for criticism here, often bristle at US opinion that calls them 'unreliable', 'ungrateful', or 'no good in a crisis', usually they have a right to be annoyed.
But this perception is widening way beyond the usual right wingers, here (in the form of Europhobes}, and in the US.
And this time, they seem to have a point, the best way to disprove this destructive idea, to end the perception-even among more moderate voices in the US, that really, when the chips are down, only the 'Angloshpere' of the US and Britain and major Commonwealth partners step up, is to show some flexibility and willing.
 
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sun Feb 03, 2008 6:38 pm



Quoting Charles79 (Reply 41):
If I were Germany, I would demand from the US a commitment to change (perhaps define?) its strategy first.

Of course there are different opinions here as well, but that aspect is among the reasons why the demand was refused the way it was made right now.

Although it looks like our forces will be taking over active protection duty in northern Afghanistan in addition to their current assignment either way.

Quoting Charles79 (Reply 41):
To be honest, I'm at a loss in regards to our mission there.

That's what I've been asking all along - without much of a response thus far.

The problem is that the mission was designed right from the start to do it "on the cheap" (does that sound familiar?) by enlisting the "help" of exactly those who are now the main problem for the country: The warlords who now control entire provinces as governors and who basically run the massively growing drug industry in Afghanistan.

I suspect that the bloodshed "saved" in the beginning by not confronting those thugs has by now caught up with the western forces (besides apparently allowing bin Laden to escape); But it surely gave the initial opportunity to divert a sizable part fo the forces to Iraq, the target that had been assigned even before 9/11 provided an apparent "opportunity" to "finally" get assent for an invasion.

Those initial misconceptions and miscalculations have probably made a major contribution to the situation Afghanistan is in today, and at least my opinion is that we need to face reality and overhaul the overall approach to the problem.

It could even mean that german troops might get (more) involved in direct fighting, but I might assent to such a necessity if a strategy was in place that actually had a chance of justifying the risk.

Just "more of the same" doesn't cut it, especially when "the same" has been much less than successful so far.

Quoting Charles79 (Reply 41):
The sad part is that those that have made these choices will never face punishment.

Tell me about it. Our own former chancellor Helmut Kohl should actually be (or have been) in jail for his involvement in the party donation scandal, his refusal to cooperate with the investigation and for a few other matters; But he simply wasn't prosecuted.

His merits towards the reunification are commendable, but nobody should be above the law! Sad
 
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops South!

Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:20 pm

For what it's worth, in 2001, the US should have had sufficient force in place (with plenty of allies, but some of them dropping all those caveats too), to tell the various non Taliban warlords to back off or else........
Then once the main military task was done, put Afghanistan under UN protectorate rule whilst a proper rule of law, democratic system, was put in place.

But this would have been a very major undertaking, the hope being that the other warlords seeing the rapid destruction of the Taliban would get the message.
And if you had to round them up, lock them up, so be it.

Problem is, from the perspective of the USSR in 1979, that is not unlike what they tried to do, only then it was in support of a hated, tiny clique of Communists in Kabul.
So perhaps doomed from the very start.

My point is, there are few easy answers here and even less entirely good choices.
 
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops Sou

Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:29 pm



Quoting GDB (Reply 44):
Trouble is, you cannot do that with any real hope of reform before the Taliban are greatly reduced in strength, put simply, there is a war to fight, now.

The problem is that they are a guerilla force, not a consolidated national army. Recipies from WWII simply do not apply there - the USA have made that experience in Viet Nam already but their current leadership apparently hasn't learned anything from that.

Quoting GDB (Reply 44):
I hate using WW2 analogies here, but both Churchill and FDR found Charles De Gaulle often insufferable, arrogant, Anglophobe paranoid to a destructive degree and yes, ungrateful.
But they did not let this distract from what had to be done.

Completely different situation.

Quoting GDB (Reply 44):
And this time, they seem to have a point, the best way to disprove this destructive idea, to end the perception-even among more moderate voices in the US, that really, when the chips are down, only the 'Angloshpere' of the US and Britain and major Commonwealth partners step up, is to show some flexibility and willing.

Simply dumping our forces into a misconceived and failing strategy is no way to improve anything - it would only destroy domestic support for any future endeavours.

There is just no way around it: A failing strategy needs to be overhauled. Unquestioning obedience in such a situation would be stupid and irresponsible, nothing else.

Mending fences is all nice and well, but there is simply no way if the other side ultimatively demands unquestioning support for a failing but nevertheless sacrosanct strategy that cannot be questioned.

The separation of our forces from those of the "coalition of the willing" in the south was not least due to the lack of trust in the strategic approach devised by the Bush administration - which has since turned out to have been justified. That separation and the unwillingness of the Bush administration to revise that strategy has of course led to Germany not intensely asking for further discussions. But if our involvement is requested, the need to revive that discussion simply comes with the territory.

So if the strategy can actually be reconsidered, my willingness to support such a deployment would substantially increase. But I have little hope for any movement before the next US president will be in office.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops Sou

Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:34 pm



Quoting Klaus (Reply 45):
Our own former chancellor Helmut Kohl should actually be (or have been) in jail for his involvement in the party donation scandal, his refusal to cooperate with the investigation and for a few other matters; But he simply wasn't prosecuted.

His merits towards the reunification are commendable, but nobody should be above the law!

Off topic, but as far as I understand, he is not standing above the law. He wasn't prosecuted, because he committed a civil offense which let to his party facing punitive fines heavy enough to nearly go bankrupt. In the end it was him who paid the fine or most of it.

Mr. Kohl himself could only have prosecuted for undisclosed donations had there been substantiated claims that he was bribed. But there ws no such thing.

Same goes for his refusal to co-operate with the authorities. Would denial of evidence be a criminal offence. he could take a lawyer - and legally refuse to say a word. Hence it's only a civil offence, punishable with a fine or coercive detention ("Beugeghaft") of (I believe) up to two weeks.

Mr Kohl was smart enough to make sure that none of his actions could be prosecuted as criminal offense.
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Klaus
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RE: Gates Writes To German Government - Troops Sou

Sun Feb 03, 2008 7:45 pm



Quoting NoUFO (Reply 48):
Mr. Kohl himself could only have prosecuted for undisclosed donations had there been substantiated claims that he was bribed. But there ws no such thing.

There was also the severely fishy takeover of the Minol network of gas stations in eastern Germany by the french ELF corporation which was apparently greased with substantial amounts of kickbacks and political involvement, probably leading up to Kohl. The investigation was stifled, however, despite substantial evidence turning up even so.

We may find out the details sometime down the road; It will be interesting to see the results; But unfortunately our justice system has its weaknesses when going against the (formerly) powerful...

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