Pushing the Wermacht’s prams to Paris

They’ve still got those poplar trees so that they can march in the shade, haven’t they?

“Anyone who, for example, uses the option of a three- or four-day week while raising a family must still have career prospects,” she told Bild.

Among the reforms, she said she was also considering a system whereby overtime could be saved up and then used for looking after small children or elderly parents.

She also wants to study the army’s system of transferring soldiers every two to three years, she said. “A career in the armed forces must not mean as a rule: always on duty and every few years a move,” Mrs von der Leyen said.

And she added that widening childcare provision would be one of the first measures looked at.

“We need a flexible system of childcare across the armed forces,” she said, calling for the provision of out-of-hours care, before or after the normal working day, beyond that offered by barrack nurseries.

I’m not entirely sure she’s quite grasped what an Army does as yet….

32 comments on “Pushing the Wermacht’s prams to Paris

  1. A review on making War more family-friendly is long overdue. For example, strategists need to ask themselves just what effect night-time bombing has on the work/life balance.

  2. Drinks vast amounts of beer, polishes shoes and undertakes extreme camping.

    “There are no part-time wars and no family-friendly military missions,” Inge Hoeger, of the (far-left) Linke party said.

    Yes, of course, you always take your family with you on ops. Von der Leyden may be a little confused but Hoeger is an idiot. As well as a typical leftie anti-semite.

  3. About time that war became family-friendly. This is not the only area of discrimination; older, fatter and slower soldiers are at greater risk of being shot than agile young slim ones. This is clearly a case of workplace discrimination and employers must take steps to ensure that their best soldiers are shot in equal numbers.

    My latest book on Sustainable Warfare also exposes the environmental costs of weapons systems currently in use. Tanks and armoured vehicles have a massive carbon footprint; with 2 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of steel, Challenger 2 has a carbon footprint of over 100 tonnes of Carbon, and the 26.6 litre Diesel power plant pumps out more carbon that a whole fleet of Prius cars. Depleted Uranium munitions are phytotoxic, degrading plant growth, and the metal may accumulate in small amphibians. Electric Tanks made from recycled plastic, and shells and munitions made of wood from sustainable sources are clearly the way ahead here.

    It is however the stressful environment of the battlefield that poses the greatest challenge. During close-quarter infantry combat especially, battle managers must ensure that respite counselling is available at all times to soldiers, who must also be given the option during an engagement with the enemy to switch to a less stressful work pathway. Regulating the hours of battle, and flexible fighting, will provide combatants from both sides with the opportunity to be with their younger children at evening feeding and bed-time.

    Future battlefields should also be equipped with break-out areas for informal combat, and flexible battle-stations that allow for hot-bunkering, as well as easy access to hot water for drinks. Prominent signs should also be provided advising the enemy that battle facility managers operate a zero-tolerance policy towards violence and aggression on the battlefield.

  4. “Yes, of course, you always take your family with you on ops.”
    Historically, of course yes. Hence the term camp followers.
    And yet more confirmation Europe’s headed back to the Dark Ages.

  5. Actually, one of the more interesting analyses of stress in modern combat relates to the air-crew who were flying combat missions in the initial stages of the Bosnia conflict. They were flying out of NATO airbases in Italy which were actually their home bases.

    Therefore you could be making breakfast for your kids, spend the day on combat bombing missions, and back for dinner. People found that very difficult to cope with. So they moved them to other airbases and they lived in the mess. Less family friendly but much less cognitive dissonance.

  6. Hm. Last place I worked used had flexitime arrangements. The nature of the work meant that the dedicated among us would sometimes work 60, 80, occasionally even more hours per week. And we could then take that time back.

    Which was fine for me as an underling. Once took a solid month of lieu overtime when work was quiet. In the interests of both parties to do that kind of thing.

    Trouble is, when I made it to middle-management level (such as you can have in a medium-sized company), those opportunities to claw back your overtime essentially disappeared. I left for greener pastures with hundreds of hours in the bank, and my successor is a mummy on part-time, but works more hours than the notionally full-time underlings.

    So there are family people out there dedicated enough to their work to not take advantage of this – and they (and the non-family peoples) will always thus have an advantage in career terms over those who, for whatever reason, want to do less work.

  7. I’m quite sure this beazel understands very well what armies do. *That* is the point of her proposal.

  8. SE

    Anti-semitic heh.

    So, we’re talking the sort of family-friendly strategist who definitely won’t start a war during the Christmas holiday season, but defintiely WILL launch a surprise attack at Yom Kippur.

  9. bloke in germany
    January 13, 2014 at 11:54 am

    I am considering adapting a new moniker.

    Signed,
    The commenter formerly known as JamesV.

    Scary stuff, at the time of my last comment I as considering changing to Bloke in North Dorset. What is they say about great minds and fools 😉

  10. Isn’t the point of the armed forces to serve as a playground for leftist politicians and their pets?

    Until they lose the next war, of course. Although the Germans have probably been taught that winning wars is racist.

  11. So, we’re talking the sort of family-friendly strategist who definitely won’t start a war during the Christmas holiday season, but defintiely WILL launch a surprise attack at Yom Kippur.

    There may be some confusion here. Hoeger is the anti-semite. And Linke are fairly pacifist international disarmers. So I doubt she’d launch an attack herself. Although I doubt she would shed many tears if Hezbollah or similar did.

  12. @ Radders

    You make no mention of the following essential items viz:
    * adequate signage and enforcement of no-smoking areas
    * proper 21st century logistics in order to ensure that battlefield operatives get their five-a-day, (which of course mustn’t include fruit juice which contains potentially harmful amounts of sugar). It would also be adviseable to avoid providing sugar for hot drinks and of course it goes without saying that white bread, butter and bacon are not considered suitable for battlefield conditions.

  13. They move soldiers every three or four years? What happened to their regimental system?

    Radders – “My latest book on Sustainable Warfare also exposes the environmental costs of weapons systems currently in use. Tanks and armoured vehicles have a massive carbon footprint”

    The Germans are way ahead of you. The last time they tried anything on a grand scale, they reduced their carbon footprint considerably. By using horses instead of trucks. Which turned out rather lucky for the Russians.

    “During close-quarter infantry combat especially, battle managers must ensure that respite counselling is available at all times to soldiers, who must also be given the option during an engagement with the enemy to switch to a less stressful work pathway.”

    You may well laugh but the Israeli Army does, actually, provide respite counselling at all time to soldiers. They have psychologists with Army units full time. I doubt the Americans and the British are far behind.

    As for choosing a less stressful pathway, the Americans are ahead of you there. In every war since Panama, some American soldiers have sat down and cried until they have been given alternative orders. Usually that means they are not asked to drive a truck from one mainly safe location to some other mainly safe location in order to provide some other soldiers in a not-so-safe location a few non-essentials like ammunition and food. It usually means that a third lot of soldiers have to be told to do it – soldiers with one thing in common with the second lot of soldiers that the first lot do not have.

    And that is ignoring the fact that thousands of soldiers with something in common with the first lot of soldiers have chosen to spend more quality time with their children by, all too often, having some by getting pregnant.

  14. The British Army has psych nurses in theatre, based at the Role 3 Hospital but mobile, complemented by an in-unit trained advisor programme called TRIM as a feeder in to the formally medical side. Plus, for those who aren’t dogmatically anti-religious, there is always help available from the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department.

  15. We delayed our wedding until my bride’s old school friend had returned from his tour in Basra to celebrate our wedding mass. Whilst we really should die laughing at the Green-Linke-pacifist-feminist Germans, that man is a hero.

  16. Therefore you could be making breakfast for your kids, spend the day on combat bombing missions, and back for dinner. People found that very difficult to cope with.

    For a while, we had soldiers demobbing from the streets of Iraq straight into leave on the streets of Britain in a matter of hours. The squaddies found that all a bit difficult to cope with as well*, so they introduced a week or two of debriefing in Cyprus to bridge the gap.

    *Rapid changes of scene can feel very surreal. I once woke up in Dubai, flew to London, and drove straight to west Wales where I watched the sun set from my childhood home. The previous day I had been in Qatar. It was really fucking weird.

  17. Where should the armchair generals for our new touchy-feely EU army be based?
    Clearly not Brussels, Luxembourg, Strasbourg… to EU, Nato, etc.
    I know! Sedan.

  18. Well, its quite some way from the Hitler Youth, the last time they tried the “family-friendly” army thing. That’s one thing to be glad of.

  19. Steve – “Although the Germans have probably been taught that winning wars is racist.”

    I recommend that you go to the German Army Museum in Dresden. You are not far wrong. It starts out by claiming all weapons are penis substitutes and really goes down hill from there.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundeswehr_Military_History_Museum

    The museum has made an effort to distance itself from the usual presentations of military history. Instead of glorifying war and armies, the museum tries to present the causes and consequences of war and violence. The focus is placed on the human component of war, on the hopes, fears, passion, courage, memories and aspirations of those involved.[9] The museum seeks to inform visitors about the military history while encouraging them to ask questions and seek new answers.

  20. @ SE 10.23 am
    Similarly Henry Cooper had to leave home for around a month before each fight
    @ Ironman
    Yes, I agree: he is

  21. john77 – “Similarly Henry Cooper had to leave home for around a month before each fight”

    There might be another reason for that. As I understand it, boxers tend to believe that sex before a match makes them weak. So they need to abstain.

    Which is interesting because clearly a lot of women like boxers in an entirely No-nice-girl-has-any-business-in-the-Gladiators-quarters way.

    Surreptitious Evil – “Yes, of course, you always take your family with you on ops.”

    When did the West generally stop? The Victorian Army tried to prevent soldiers marrying, but they always took a certain percentage of wives and children with them. The French Army was famous for the wives who provided little shops for the soldiers under Napoleon.

    “Von der Leyden may be a little confused but Hoeger is an idiot. As well as a typical leftie anti-semite.”

    Well you have to admit that the incident she usually gets criticised for is a hard one for a half-wit Leftie to figure out. I mean, Vittorio Arrigoni said:

    “Zionism is an abominable, racist and colonial movement. Like all colonial and apartheid systems, it’s in the interest of all that it be swept away. My hope is to see it replaced, without any bloodshed, with a democratic, secular and lay state – for example on the borders of historic Palestine – and where Palestinians and Israelis could live under equal rights of citizenship without ethnic and religious discrimination. It’s a wish that I hope will soon become a reality.”

    What is a marginally functional secretary who somehow fluked her way into Parliament going to think when someone who believes that is killed? Of course it can’t be those nice handsome (in an entirely Gladitorial way come to think of it) young Palestinians.

    The lesson is not to elect half-wits to Parliament.

  22. You may well laugh but the Israeli Army does, actually, provide respite counselling at all time to soldiers. They have psychologists with Army units full time. I doubt the Americans and the British are far behind.

    I’ve held the view for a long time that the therapy movement is one of the most dangerous movements in western society. Many people think I’m a nut, but I think I’m onto something.

    They’ve done something quite cunning really. They’ve persuaded everyone that an abnormal reaction to stresses- which they call “trauma”- is the normal one. Humans are designed (to be teleological) to just get over bad things. If we hadn’t had that capability, our ancestors wouldn’t have survived the terrible things they went through. Some don’t; a small proportion of minds go awry, and then they need medical care. Shell shock, etc.

    But nowadays we have become convinced that every person that suffers anything on a list of traumatic experiences- war, rape, etc- will get a “PTSD”. Even if they think they’re fine, they’re not, etc. This needless to say supplies an endless stream of clients for therapists.

    Oprah Winfrey has a great deal to answer for.

  23. You’re wrong, Ian. Therapy with science behind it (which basically means cognitive behaviour therapy and parts of some others) works very well. The rates of debilitating reaction to trauma are *far* higher than you’re suggesting.

  24. Matthew L, to what extent is that because people are encouraged in it?

    Separately but related, John Keegan argued in his History of Warfare, over twenty years ago, that mankind has always sought to impose laws of war, to limit the extent of devastation that can be caused. Maybe this beazel’s proposals should be seen in that tradition, ahem.

  25. Matthew-

    The rates of delibitating reaction to therapy seem to far exceed the rates of debilitating reaction to trauma, which is the problem. Since Freud, it has basically been a system of inducing symptoms in clients, rather than curing anything; which is hardly surprising since there isn’t an iota of science in it anywhere.

  26. Ian B – “I’ve held the view for a long time that the therapy movement is one of the most dangerous movements in western society. Many people think I’m a nut, but I think I’m onto something.”

    And it was probably intended to be. I don’t think that is a nutty thing to say. But then my endorsement may not be representative of the mainstream.

    “Humans are designed (to be teleological) to just get over bad things. If we hadn’t had that capability, our ancestors wouldn’t have survived the terrible things they went through. Some don’t; a small proportion of minds go awry, and then they need medical care. Shell shock, etc.”

    Shell shock is probably a good example of doctors making people worse. There is a very good bit in Martin van Creveld’s Fighting Power where he compares the Nazi approach to mentally ill soldiers with the West’s. The Nazis weren’t having any of that Freudian crap. They kept the Shell shocked mixed with other injured soldiers, as close to the Front as possible. If the worst came to the worst, they gave them mild electric shocks. Meanwhile the West gave every soldiers with mild symptoms a free ticket home – they had ever incentive *not* to get better. So they didn’t. Vastly more ended up in long-term psychiatric care.

    Matthew L – “You’re wrong, Ian. Therapy with science behind it (which basically means cognitive behaviour therapy and parts of some others) works very well. The rates of debilitating reaction to trauma are *far* higher than you’re suggesting.”

    PTSD may well be entirely invented by the medical profession. Nor does it work – Australia used to give women who gave birth PTSD counselling. They went on to have far fewer second children than the women they left alone. The brain does quite well healing on its own.

    What science? Cognitive behavioural therapy has numbers on its side. Not science. It appears to work. Mildly. As opposed to every other talking cure. Which don’t work at all. A schizophrenic has a better chance of recovery in Nigeria than in the UK – the Nigerians simply leave them alone. We had more success in 1904 than we do today in terms of patients *not* going back to mental hospitals.

    The entire profession is a joke and should be closed down.

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