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I just think that the countries that do not do so necessarily have cowardly troops. I accept that some countries troops do more than their fair share. I just do not believe "cowardice" is a term that should be applied to the troops whose countries restrict them from doing more.
So a political gesture to win favour instead of an objective assessment of the military needs of the mission.
The 'European' way of doing things? Sounds about right on current form, and that is not a dig at France's finest or even the Germans for that matter, but the idea that the politicans of either of those nations take their treaty obligations seriously.
Well of course, but there will be a bit of breather first, some days at the lake, or on course, some serious nights on the razz, mess do's, wifeys/girlfriends needing a lot of servicing... etc, etc... that kind of stretch. Then it'll be crack on... not afore.
The political commitment to Afghanistan varies among European countries. Hence the different approaches and mandates. After the 9/11 attacks the Americans tried to form a coalition and act against what they saw as our common enemy. Whereas in the public debate of some European nations (amongst them France, The Netherlands and Germany) opinion makers tended to see 9/11 as an American problem.
The effect of this on sending troops into a foreign country and giving them a proper mandate shouldn't be underestimated. When the Dutch were asked to send troops to Afghanistan the military was more than happy to oblige. However, Dutch parliament insisted the mission had to be a 'reconstruction mission'. Under no circumstances was it to be named a 'fighting mission'. Despite numerous warnings directed at our government to send troops to do a military job, they decided differently.
A large part of the Dutch population was therefore made to believe our troops would go to Uruzgan to help the local population reconstruct their homes, villages and lifes. In such a scenario you're unlikely to get hurt let alone killed. Unfortunuately it's also a scenario which leaves little to no room for sacrifices because the presented 'cause' is pretty flimsy. Every soldier's death is followed by a heated public debate whether we should withdraw our troops or not.
There is willingness to fight in Afghanistan amongst our troops but our politicians didn't give them a fair chance to do so from start. In fact they even robbed them from popular support to the mission as well. I therefor blame our government and not our armed forces.