Ecumenical News International

Military bishop calls for "culture of military caution"

January 31, 2014

Cologne (epd). A clear majority of Germans is against any expanding of missions by the German armed forces in international crisis areas. 61 percent of citizens reject any such plans raised by federal defense minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU), a poll revealed in Cologne on Friday. 30 percent of Germans reportedly favor the expanding of German military missions. The pollster interviewed 1000 people with the right to vote from Monday to Wednesday on behalf of the ARD morning TV program.

Protestant military bishop Martin Dutzmann has called for restraint with regard to missions abroad. In every case there should be a careful verification of the specific mandate the armed forces are there to fulfill and of how their mission can be ended, Dutzmann told the Protestant press agency epd. In the case of Afghanistan, such checks had only been partially carried out and should be handled differently with further missions.

Dutzmann was talking shortly before embarking on a week-long visit to the German troops in Mali, accompanied by two staff members of Bread for the World, the Protestant aid agency.
At present around 100 German soldiers are stationed in Mali in order to train the national army in the framework of an EU mission. Defense minister von der Leyen had recently announced her intention to increase the number of soldiers engaged in this training operation to 250.

The military bishop stated that he had not yet been able to discern a plausible overall strategy for the Mali mission. The fact that he is travelling with two development experts has special implications, Dutzmann underlined. "This is meant to signal that we see a connection between civilian and military engagement."

31 January 2014



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