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From the hairnet to the Puma - the Bundeswehr remains a permanent construction site

A popular quote among feminists comes from Margaret Thatcher: “In politics, if you want something said, ask a man.

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From the hairnet to the Puma - the Bundeswehr remains a permanent construction site

A popular quote among feminists comes from Margaret Thatcher: “In politics, if you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.” If the thesis of the legendary British prime minister were correct, the Bundeswehr would have been in tip-top shape long ago. Because over the past nine years, there has always been a woman at the head of the Defense Ministry, first Ursula von der Leyen, then Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, today Christine Lambrecht.

But the Bundeswehr was and is one of the largest permanent construction sites in the republic - regardless of the gender of the department head. One should simply refrain from such simple slogans about men and women in the future.

As it turns out, the troops' problems are of a structural nature. A number of defense ministers have already failed because of them. And no head of department since 1955, be it Franz Josef Strauss, Hans Apel or Thomas de Maizière, has had to react to a Russian war of aggression. While Minister Helmut Schmidt was still concerned with whether the soldiers, who often had long hair at the time, should wear a hairnet, today the existential question is whether the Bundeswehr is operational at all.

As early as 2018, four years after Putin's annexation of Crimea, the then military commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels stated that the troops were not adequately prepared for a NATO alliance. After years of shrinking, she thrived on the substance, and it was increasingly depleted.

Since it is no longer just about missions abroad, but about warding off Russian aggression, about collective defense in Europe, the deficits have become even clearer. In February, Army Inspector Alfons Mais stated resignedly that the Bundeswehr was "more or less blank".

These problems should not all be blamed on the incumbent minister, Christine Lambrecht. What you have to blame her for is that she has not shown in her tenure so far that she can be part of the solution.

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