Monday, April 16, 2007

Target practice in the Bronx


If Steve Gilliard were healthy, I'm sure he'd share this. Since he can't for the moment, I will.

What with its new-found taste for overseas assignments, you would think the German Army might have developed a finely tuned sense of cultural awareness by now. But it still seems in need of sensitivity training.

First there was the scandal over German soldiers posing with skulls in Afghanistan. Now the army is in trouble again over a video showing a recruit being encouraged to imagine he is shooting African-Americans in the Bronx.

German Defense Ministry spokesman Thomas Raabe said Monday that the army was investigating the incident. "This behavior is absolutely unacceptable and contradicts the training standards of the German army," Raabe said at a press conference, where he emphasized that the incident was an "isolated case." The army had begun a probe into the incident which would probably be completed within two to four weeks, he said.

The video in question shows an army recruit being trained in machine gun use by an army instructor. First the recruit is encouraged to imagine he is shooting terrorists in an airport. The soldier lets off a couple of rounds, apparently to the instructor's satisfaction. The second visualization exercise involves a more urban scenario. "You are in the Bronx," the instructor says. "A black van stops in front of you. Three African-Americans get out and insult your mother in the coarsest possible way." The recruit is told to fire and shout the English expletive "motherfucker" with each round, which he does after first laughing at the absurdity of the instructions given him. The instructor tells him to shout louder, and the recruit obeys.

Der Spiegel
April 17, 207

Somehow I don't think those guys quite get it. You can view the video at the link.

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