Thursday, December 4, 2008

German Tanking in Afghanistan Underscores Need for Outsourcing

A German parliamentary report makes us wonder why NATO doesn't just outsource its Afghanistan police training program to people who show professionalism and accountability.

The report, which is stirring a controversy in Germany and worldwide, fuels criticisms that the Bundeswehr's 3,500-man presence in Afghanistan isn't as useful as it might be. Most German troops are stationed in the relatively quiet north, with a main job of helping the locals fight illegal narcotics production and trafficking.

US troops are forbidden to drink alcohol in Afghanistan, but NATO's contribution includes the delivery of 260,000 gallons of beer and 18,000 gallons of wine last year for the German military contingent.

A German military report says that 40 percent of its soldiers between ages 18 and 29 are overweight, and 10 percent are "clinically obese." About 70 percent are said to be heavy smokers.

German troops are not supposed to drink more than two cans of beer a day, and even then, not while on duty, according to the Defense Ministry.

One German lawmaker suggests that Berlin provide its military with "an alternative to beer drinking, such as sports and cultural activities."

We have a different idea. How about if the German military helps fight the Taliban and al Qaeda, or at least does its job of training the Afghan police to root out illegal drug production? On second thought, the Bundeswehr has already been given the chance and has blown it. Let's outsource the job to private companies.

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