October 06, 2003


Gerhard Schroeder kicked off the Day of German Unity with his usual rank anti-Americanism, and might have expected his fellow speakers to follow suit. One didn’t: Hungarian Nobel Prize winner and keynote speaker Imre Kertész. David Kaspar has the story, plus German reaction to Kertész’s excellent speech.

Hey, maybe some of those listening to Schroeder will be motivated to join the German army, currently seeking girlish new recruits:

"We get bombarded with Rambo types with knives between their teeth and a foot in the far-Right scene, but not enough reflective candidates who are interested in contributing to world peace and wouldn't mind going abroad, something they didn't have to contemplate 10 years ago," said Capt Thomas Huber, the spokesman for "Our Army", which, without a hint of irony, he described as a "travelling circus".

That’s what you need in a soldier. The capacity to reflect.

UPDATE. Alan R.M. Jones writes to point out that wily Gerhard carefully alters his message depending on the audience. Here he is last month celebrating the 100th anniversary of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany:

“The United States of America selflessly helped us restore our democracy after Germany took a series of wrong turns which culminated in the unprecedented barbarity of National Socialism. Nobody who, as I did, grew up during the post-war years, will ever forget the part the US played in our recovery. I am not just referring to the economic assistance from the Marshall Plan and the unique political guidance that helped us become self-confident democrats. That initially only benefited the western part of our divided nation. But without our democratic example, and without the United States as guarantor of freedom during the Cold War decades, Germany would never have been able to reassert its unity in freedom. And nobody welcomed and supported this unity as did our American friends. I would like to give special mention to the great services of George Bush, the US President of the time.”

Yeah. Pity about those “wrong turns”.

Posted by Tim Blair at October 6, 2003 12:38 AM

The SS reflected a lot.

Posted by: Pedro the Ignorant at October 6, 2003 at 01:05 AM

What if I painted myself silver? Ok, how about just a foil hat then?

Posted by: Charles at October 6, 2003 at 01:25 AM


Ahh, not too bad. But not as good as the first.

Posted by: Charles at October 6, 2003 at 01:36 AM

I'm sorry, but the terms "world peace" and "German Army" just don't belong in the same topic, I don't care if it has been sixty years.

Posted by: gaz at October 6, 2003 at 01:38 AM

At the same time though, the jerry army's recruiting ad's are probaly less lame than the Aussie ones.

Posted by: gaz at October 6, 2003 at 01:50 AM

The Germans have been doing a lot of soul searching and reflecting lately; it would seem that they have gone all religious.

Posted by: saintinastraitjacket at October 6, 2003 at 02:05 AM

A German soldier go a broad? Nah.

Posted by: S Whiplash at October 6, 2003 at 02:57 AM

Kinsley, you are evil!

Posted by: tim at October 6, 2003 at 03:04 AM

Sounds like an army of social workers.

Posted by: Harry at October 6, 2003 at 03:31 AM

My experience has been that most American troops I've met are a damned site more reflective about what they do and why they do it, than the entire University of California English faculty put together.

Posted by: Andrew at October 6, 2003 at 08:05 AM

That's because the soldiers are smarter than the faculty members.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at October 6, 2003 at 12:04 PM

I'd like to join the German Army and go abroad.

Preferrably in a Leopard 2, which is very good for reflecting shit like RPGs and such like.

Posted by: Razor at October 6, 2003 at 02:47 PM

"Wrong turns". That's how Arnold Schwarzenegger should describe his groping days. If it gets you off the hook for launching two world wars, it should suffice for unwanted physical contact.

Posted by: Uncle Milk at October 6, 2003 at 03:47 PM

"I think I'd rather become a hairdresser."

Let me think what career?

I don't think we can count on much help from the "new" German Army.

Posted by: wallace at October 6, 2003 at 04:17 PM

Soldiers should shoot first, then rape, murder and pillage. Reflecting comes later.

Posted by: Freddyboy at October 6, 2003 at 05:23 PM

Interesting that Captain Huber described the German army as a travelling circus.

Anybody remember these guys?

Posted by: tom beta 2 at October 6, 2003 at 10:22 PM

So I guess Slick Willy's smoking missile took a "wrong turn" once it left his mouth.

Posted by: Tongue Boy at October 7, 2003 at 12:19 AM