An MP from Germany’s Greens party condemned “Right-wing extremism” in the German military yesterday and called for a zero-tolerance policy to purge it from the ranks.
Agnieszka Brugger, a Greens MP who is the Vice Chairman of the party’s parliamentary group and also sits on the Bundestag’s Defence Committee, attested that there is a “dangerous kind of esprit de corps” in the ranks of the Bundeswehr, or the German armed forces. She claimed that has led to a “culture of hushing up and hiding” in which the problem of Right-wing extremism is being covered up.
“Nobody can close their eyes to this great danger,” Brugger said, according to a report by Junge Freiheit.
Earlier this month, an officer in the Special Forces Command of the Bundeswehr (KSK) requested Brugge’s help in dealing with the problem of extremism. He claimed that some soldiers exhibit extremist views but that these are tolerated and covered up by their comrades.
Brugger has complained that the Defence Committee only learned of the problem through the media, claiming that this indicated “a lack of respect for Parliament” and went against the military’s stated goal of transparency.
“There have been huge signs in recent years that there are serious problems with Right-wing extremism in the Bundeswehr and especially in the KSK,” Brugger said. She called for an investigation of the problem and for “radical reforms” to address them, including a possible complete reorganisation of the institution.
Brugger stated that there must be a “zero tolerance policy” by which anyone who expresses “extremist” views will be immediately dismissed from the military, claiming that soldiers must be “suitable in character” and not merely physical and mentally fit.
The question of what exactly constitutes “extremism” remains a difficult one, however. The German news magazine Der Speigel reported last year that many soldiers who have been dismissed from the German military in recent years were targeted because of their membership in organisations such as Generation Identity, the Alternative for Germany party, or because they are “sympathetic to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán,” as previously reported by Voice of Europe. It is highly dubious whether any of these positions constitutes “extremism” under any reasonable definition.
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