Saturday, November 24, 2007

Vati’s Armee

Check out where the helicopters for Darfur aren’t:

THEY are on the front line of the war on terror, but German pilots facing the Taliban are insisting they stop at tea time every day to comply with health and safety regulations.

The helicopter pilots, who provide medical back-up to Nato ground troops, set off for their base by mid-afternoon so they can be grounded by sundown.
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One Norwegian cavalry officer, who was engaged in a day-long fight with more than 40 Taliban near Jari Siya in Badghis, said: “It’s hopeless. We were attacking the bad guys, then [at] three or four o’clock, the helicopters are leaving.

“We had to go back to base. We should have had Norwegian helicopters. At least they can fly at night.”

Abandoned by their western allies, the 600 men from the Afghan army’s 209 Corps were forced to retreat until a convoy of American Humvees arrived the next day to reinforce them.
The title might have a “German-bashing” tone, but it’s completely deserved.

Speaking of Darfur, another veteran of UNIFIL is having a hard time marshalling any support from other Europeans – even though the Darfur operation hasn’t yet been awarded the Scarlet Letter of “Imperialist War for Chimpy W. Hitlerburton” by the usual perceptive geniuses who are always eager prove their originality:
Asked whether the Darfur spillover mission could proceed without these aircraft, O'Dea said, "In short — no."

He specified Germany and Italy as two countries with "ample military resources, and so far they haven't made any contribution to this particular mission."

The German government declined to comment Tuesday. Last month, German Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung said his country was willing to provide only "political support."

The Foreign Ministry in Rome confirmed no troops would be sent to Chad and indicated no comment would be made in response to O'Dea. But the Italian Foreign Ministry pointed out that Italy is the leading contributor to the U.N. force in Lebanon and has troops in Afghanistan and the Balkans.

O'Dea spoke out a day after a briefing in Brussels from Lt. Gen. Pat Cash, the Irish general commanding the EU force.

"The mission won't be deployed unless the force commander is absolutely certain he has the required air support to make it successful," O'Dea said.
Appearing to be the only person in the room who understands something, O’Dea said:
"The carnage in Darfur coupled with the multiple conflicts in the border areas between Darfur, Chad and the Central African Republic has scarred the lives of countless thousands of innocent men, women and children. It will be our job to help and protect them," O'Dea said.

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