Appeal from Ansbach – moral rebellion

Wars of aggression begin to start again from German soil:


AFB, the Ansbach Peace Alliance, sees the previous consensus of German-American politics disturbed, which was that no more wars of aggression must start from German soil. 


We demand a fair hearing and call on members of the town council to take legal steps at once for consultations with the government of the state of Bavaria. The aim would be to verify whether, in the due course of law which forbids arbitrary rule, supra-local interests continue to exist that are worthy of protection and justify infringements of Ansbach's planning competence by U.S. military bases in the area. AFB calls for a controlled and immediate freeze of current plans to extend Ansbach as a military base on both the U.S. and German sides (planning moratorium).


Ansbach, a town 40 km southwest of Nuremberg, is the administrative seat for central Franconia and Bavaria's largest rural district. U.S. forces want to extend their military facility there into Europe's largest helicopter base. Ever since these plans became public in August 2006, there has been unrest among local people who felt they were facing accomplished facts and met with helpless silence from a number of their elected representatives.


We, the initiators of the Appeal, see the proposed military extension as a precedent which contravenes a basic consensus of German-American politics that goes back as far as 1945.


When U.S. troops entered Germany as part of an Allied force (also embracing Britain, France and the Soviet Union) to end nazi rule, they discovered an underground ammunitions factory in the Ansbach area, one of the largest in the Third Reich. It was the fathers of the soldiers stationed here today who said that never again must a war start from German soil. For this we are forever grateful to the American people and the Allied forces who helped secure Germany's democratic development until the end of the cold war in 1990.       


We are all the more alarmed to see that the vows of the past seem to be called into question as Germany again supports wars of aggression, a criminal offense under its Basic Law. Since 2003, helicopter gunships with crews trained at Ansbach and Illesheim (in the neighboring district of Neustadt/Aisch-Bad Windsheim) have been deployed in Iraq. Today even official U.S. sources tell us that during this war limits were exceeded which had better been left intact, both in terms of international law and from an ethical viewpoint.


There must be no unlegislated areas in this country. Knowingly or not, Germany and the towns of Ansbach and Illesheim bear responsibility as bases for stationing U.S. combat troops which are deployed worldwide. In addition, these forces for intervention are not controlled by NATO, the joint defense alliance, but solely by the President of the United States. This should be food for thought particularly for local politicians of all party affiliations  at Ansbach and in the rural district who (still) think they may remain neutral in this matter of conscience.


There are limits that must not be overstepped


The question then arises of how sovereign Germany can be if it feels bound by the consensus that war must never again start from its soil. And, how sovereign can Ansbach be in dealing with extension projects for its U.S. military base.


The Ansbach Peace Alliance believes that the helplessness felt by parts of the town council need not necessarily lead to actual impotence but could be overcome in talks with U.S. decision-makers on whatever political level. Cowardice in the face of a friend is misplaced, particularly because we are certain that acting on the issue of war or peace also serves the interests of most Americans who are against wars of aggression violating international law. Such talks would seek to close down U.S. military bases in the area so that Ansbach could embark on a non-military future. This is a realistic aim as will be shown in the following.


Needed    –    European defense policy based
on a democratic European constitution
which embraces international law    


Now that Germany has reunited while remaining loyal to the U.S. and the NATO alliance, restoring its full territorial sovereignty in recognition of its democratic progress is a move that has long been overdue. It would also be a step toward a democratic European constitution which would make a formal peace treaty that has been outstanding since 1945 unnecessary. U.S. military bases in European countries are leftovers from cold war times. As an integral part of the European defense alliance, Germany deserves being treated as a truly sovereign partner.


The people of Ansbach should be able to decide whether their taxes go into extending military bases used for wars of aggression in breach of international law, or into civilian projects that also benefit our American friends who have settled here. Any closure of U.S. military bases in the area should be socially compatible both for the families of soldiers, and German civilian employees. For these purposes we would consider our tax money well spent.


In this rethink, the Ansbach Appeal is neither the end nor the answer to everything. One reason why we are still in the process of forming an opinion is that we get new messages of encouragement from all walks of life and political parties every day. This is something we did not expect, and such diversity will prevent the Ansbach Peace Alliance from being exploited by whoever. Anyone who speaks out on our behalf is aware that they have to set aside their own party-political interests. This approach is quite evident in our meetings which are open to the public and, of course, to U.S. personnel stationed in the area and affected by the latest military and political developments.


We will welcome American personnel as friends, not least because we hope to hear from them about the mission, and death, of members of German special forces (KSK) under U.S. command. These are answers German politicians are (still) unable, or unwilling, to give.


Ansbach, March 2007      


AFB, the Ansbach Peace Alliance, unites people from the town and rural district of Ansbach, and a number of political parties and groups. Independents from all walks of life (including medium-sized businesses, churches, schools, colleges, the media)work side by side with members of political parties (such as the CSU), and these organizations: BAP, Bund Naturschutz (Ansbach district group), Bündnis 90/Grüne (Ansbach district association), DFG/VK, DKP, Offene Linke and SDAJ.