November 25, 2006
Many instances from the World Wars and the brave performances over the decades in the World Cup suggest not, but the question arises from an incoherent, rambling article in Der Spiegel : Are the Germans Stationed in Afghanistan Cowards ? 2 extracts :
'The Germans at NATO headquarters in Kabul now face open hostility: They're mocked as cowards and cop-outs. Some Europeans "obviously resist the idea that you have an army in order to fight. And I have very little patience for that," says the US ambassador to Afghanistan, Ronald Neumann. Neumann wants the Germans to join in the fighting -- and the dying, if necessary -- in southern Afghanistan.'
'And the Germans in the north? It may be a little cowardly to stay up there and radiate a feeling of security, dig a few waterholes, calm down a few of the warlords and cultivate trees.
But it may also just be smart.'
Note the Germanic name of the US ambassador.
My in-laws are German-Americans and the interactions between them and their close kin in Germany are fun to watch. The German-Germans, delightful people for the most part, seem pessimistic and cynical about society. One, a fine man who fought on the Eastern Front and has good memories of Americans and American chocolate at the end of the War and who lost his land to the communists, is pretty anti-American. My theory is that Germany is psychologically crippled by unexpiated guilt from history. My theory is that this extends to generations who had no part in the original evil. My theory is that psychological health is restored when national honour is restored by virtuous acts. But Germany has not acted virtuously. At great risk the Allies saved modern Germany from Nazism and Communism. Germans owe their freedom twice over to the courage of the Anglosphere. In return much of Germany sneers at the USA in general and Bush in particular. Neither an individual nor a collective psyche can be in good shape like that.
When we lived in the Hague and drove into Germany, the light became gloomier as we crossed over. People were just unhappier, more private and wore darker clothes. My wife felt the same.
So my advice to Germany is 'Regain your self-respect. Stand by those who stood by you (that's not France by the way).'
See also - "The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity."