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Wim Wenders undret seg en gang over hvorfor Hollywood hadde et uendelig oppkomme av heltehistorier å spinne på, mens europeisk film ikke greier å blåse liv i myter, til tross for at Europa er mettet med myter.

Kan forklaringen være at Amerika fortsetter å produsere helter, mens det er vanskelig å få øye på annet enn livsnytere og karrierister i Europa?

USA har vært i kontinuerlig krig siden den første Irak-krigen i 1991. Hele tiden har det vært soldater og tjenestemenn som har opptrådt som whistleblowers og dissentere. De har sagt fra når USA har ført en politikk som er umoralsk eller strider mot egne interesser.

Denne sansen for rettskaffenhet mot alle odds er et særtrekk ved USA og tilfører det politiske liv noe helt essensielt. Filmindustrien er med på å holde myten i live.

Oberstløytnant Daniel Davis hadde tjenestegjort lenge i Afghanistan. Han fant at det bildet soldatene tegnet ikke stemte med det som øverste ledelsen presenterte. De hevdet at krigen gikk godt, soldatene sa noe annet. Over tid kunne ikke Davis leve med denne vissheten. Han så resultatet i form av sårede og drepte medsoldater. Han bestemte seg for å synge ut.

Since enlisting in the army in 1985, he said, he had repeatedly seen top commanders falsely dress up a dismal situation. But this time, he would not let it rest. So he consulted with his pastor at Mclean Bible Church in Virginia, where he sings in the choir. He watched his favorite movie, ‘‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,’’ one more time, drawing inspiration from James Stewart’s role as the extraordinary ordinary man who takes on a corrupt establishment.
And then, late last month, Colonel Davis, 48, began an unusual one-man campaign of military truth-telling. He wrote two reports, one unclassified and the other classified, summarizing his observations on the candor gap with respect to Afghanistan. He briefed four members of Congress and a dozen staff members, spoke with a reporter for The New York Times, sent his reports to the Defense Department’s inspector general — and only then informed his chain of command that he had done so.
‘‘How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding?’’ Colonel Davis asks in an article summarizing his views titled ‘‘Truth, Lies and Afghanistan: How Military Leaders Have Let Us Down.’’ The article was published online Sunday in The Armed Forces Journal, the United States’ oldest independent periodical on military affairs.
‘‘No one expects our leaders to always have a successful plan,’’ Colonel Davis says in the article. ‘‘But we do expect — and the men who do the living, fighting and dying deserve — to have our leaders tell us the truth about what’s going on.’’
Colonel Davis says his experience has caused him to doubt reports of progress in the war from numerous military leaders, including David H. Petraeus, who commanded the troops in Afghanistan before becoming the director of the C.I.A. in June.
Lastmarch, for example, Mr. Petraeus, then a U.S. Army general, testified before the Senate that the Taliban’s momentum had been ‘‘arrested in much of the country’’ and that progress was ‘‘significant,’’ though fragile, and ‘‘on the right azimuth’’ to allow Afghan forces to take the lead in combat by the end of 2014.
Colonel Davis fiercely disputes such assertions and says that few U.S. troops in the region believe them. He is also acutely aware of the chasm in stature that separates him from those he is criticizing, and he has no illusions about the impact his public stance may have on his career. ‘‘I’m going to get nuked,’’ he said in an interview last month.

Hæren har lært. Den forsøker ikke lenger å stoppe munnen på folk som Davis. Folk som han er et pluss, og kritikken gjengis i en lang artikkel i nettstedet til Armed Forces.

Ville det norske forsvaret reagert på samme måte? Det er ikke lenge siden E-tjenesten forsøkte å forhindre VG i å trykke historien om norske agenter i Irak som ønsket å hjelpe irakiske tolker som hadde havnet i klemma etter at nordmennene trakk seg ut. E-tjensten var knallhard og sa nei. De sa nei til å hjelpe dem, og fratok agenten som hjalp dem, Geir Furuseth, sikkerhetsklareringen. Kombinasjonen av PR og sans for lagånd og moral synes fjern for sjefen, Kjell Grandhagen.

Renommè, moral og kampmoral er to sider av samme sak.

Europeisk syke

Under den årlige sikkerhetskonferansen i München sist helg roste den tyske forsvarsministeren det transatlantiske samarbeidet. Men, skriver Judy Dempsey i en kommentar i New York Times, man behøvde ikke snakke lenge med amerikanske tjenestemenn, militære som sivile, for å høre en helt annen historie. De er alarmert over europeernes synkende vilje til å betale for sitt eget forsvar.

Europeerne er blitt gratispassasjerer, for ikke å si snyltere på USA. Det er en situasjon som ikke kan vedvare. Robert Gates advarte europeerne i fjor sommer, rett før han gikk av. Leon Panetta har gjentatt advarselen. Likevel er det som om europeerne ikke tar det til seg.

Tell that to top U.S. defense experts and Atlanticists, who were attending the Munich Security Conference that brings together defense and foreign ministers and experts from many countries. Unlike Mr. de Maizière, these experts and former politicians did not pull their punches.

They said that the Europeans did not grasp just how bad the trans-Atlantic relationship had become as Europe refused to pick up more of the military burden. Nor did the Europeans understand the implications of Washington’s strategic shift from Europe to the Asia-Pacific region.

A particularly hard-hitting analysis came from Stephen Hadley, a former national security adviser to former President George W. Bush. He is one of the experts for the new Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative that aims to forge a new cooperative relationship between the United States, Russia and Europe.

Europe, Mr. Hadley said in an interview, had become a “free rider.” It was taking the United States for granted in providing defense and filling military capability gaps. “Europe has become so enamored with soft power that it has stopped investing in hard power,” Mr. Hadley said. “In terms of hard security, it makes Europe a free rider.”

Mr. Hadley and other U.S. security experts insisted that they did not want a Europe that was weak and divided to the point that the grand project of European integration that the United States has encouraged since 1945 would collapse.

“We have enormous global problems, which we can only solve if Europe and the United States work together,” Mr. Hadley said. “Europe is going to have to start investing in its military and building an effective military that can provide leverage on its soft power.”

With few exceptions, European leaders seem to ignore that Europe needs the tools of hard power if it wants to aspire to being a global player. Instead, they point to their success in toppling Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s regime in Libya.

Sam Nunn, a former U.S. senator, said Europe’s performance in Libya and in Afghanistan “pointed out a whole number of deficiencies.” He said that the Europeans lacked logistics, intelligence and air power. They could not have done it without immense military support from the United States.

The Europeans can always blame the global financial crisis of 2008-9, and now the euro crisis, for the sharp decline in defense spending. According to NATO statistics, defense spending among European NATO countries fell to $275 billion in 2010 from $314 billion in 2008. That is a drop of more than 12 percent. Since most European countries are members of NATO and the European Union, Europe as a whole is in very bad shape militarily, say analysts.

But the problem is not just about money. Europe’s unwillingness to invest in military capabilities like drones and electronic intelligence surveillance equipment predate these crises.

“There is a lot of frustration that the United States seems to have to bear more and more of the burden,” Mr. Nunn said in an interview. “Our European friends need to understand that we are under considerable financial pressures ourselves.”

The European members of NATO believe that the answer to some of their deficiencies is “smart defense.” On paper, it means NATO members pooling and sharing capabilities, and better coordination. In practice, little has happened.

Europeerne sier de vil samarbeide, men når det kommer til stykket, vil de ikke oppgi nasjonal selvråderett, og de stoler ikke på andre.

Tafattheten, passiviteten og viljen til selvbedrag minner om holdningen til eurokrisen. Europeere kan ikke get their act together.

Det er en forbindelse mellom dissenter- og heltetradisjonen i USA, kampmoralen og viljen til å forsvare seg.

USA ble grunnlagt av dissentere. Europa sykner hen, i velstand, overnasjonalitet og en drøm om å få i pose og sekk.

Krisen i Europa handler om noe mer enn økonomi.

U.S. Sees Europe as Not Pulling Its Weight Militarily