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Well, no. No American politicians, but at least I got you here.
The former German Secretary of Defense and current Secretary of Labor, Franz Josef Jung, is struggling with a MAJOR scandal involving the German involvement in the Afghanistan conflict, leading to the dismissal of the highest-ranking German Military Officer,the Chief of Staff General Wolfgang Schneiderhan, and the probable resignation of Jung, which is expected in the next days.

The background: September 4, near Kunduz, Afghanistan. Taliban forces hijack two fuel tankers, which were driven from Tajikistan to Kabul to bring supplies to NATO forces there.

The German Colonel Georg Klein orders a NATO attack on the fuel tankers, which were stuck on a sand bank. At least 100, probably up to 142 people die, mostly Taliban, but also 30-40 civilians.

The Bundeswehr (German Army) thought that the Taliban were going to try to attack Bundeswehr targets in the days leading up to the German elections, so they thought it was necessary to take out the tanks.

On the next day, ISAF commander McChrystal visits the place of the attack with an investigation team and concludes that there probably were civilian casualities, the attack is condemned internationally.

However, while a commission to investigate the role of Col. Klein in the attack is almost immediately set up, Defense Secretary Jung disputes that there were any civilian casualties in the attack, so does General Inspector (Chief of Staff) Schneiderhan, the highest-ranking official in the German Army. Despite investigations by the NATO, the Afghan Government, claims by the Taliban and local witnesses, that many civilians were killed in the attack, this was the official talking point of the German administration: No civilians were killed.

However, in late September, there were new elections, and the cabinet got mixed up. Jung, who was already highly unpopular in the Army, became the new Secretary of Labor, and Carl Theodor zu Guttenberg, a young, conservative politician with the reputation of being absolutely honest and incorruptable regardless of the political implications of what he says, becomes the new Secretary of Defense.

However, on Wednesday he learned that the German army most likely knew since at least September 6, two days after the attack happened, that there were lots of civilian casualties, and that this was covered up to avoid a scandal ahead of the election on September 27.

And he immediately reacted by firing Schneiderhan, not even granting him to resign himself, and he also fired the second-in-line in the Ministry of Defence, Peter Wichert (I don't use his title because that would be confusing to you, we call secretaries 'ministers' and the people who are second only to them 'secretaries of state').

German opposition parties called on Jung to resign, he reacted by saying that he said from the beginning 'that we can't rule out that there were civilian casualities ' (dass wir auch zivile Opfer nicht ausschließen können)- which he didn't, at least not clearly. In the afternoon, Merkel said that she expected a full investigation of the scandal, throwing von Jung effectively under the bus.

In the late afternoon, von Jung gave a speech in front of Congress, explaining that he didn't hold back any information. However, now all parties, including his own, are calling for a full investigation of the matter, and it looks increasingly likely that he will have to resign in the next days.

This is really huge, and a major, major scandal breaking in German politics right now.

Originally posted to twohundertseventy on Thu Nov 26, 2009 at 12:50 PM PST.

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