Letter to the editor

Referendum for security in uncertain times

In all new projects of the administration the progressive sounding PR word “development” is used but it’s describing actually abolition. So as well in the WEA-Project (Development of the Swiss Armed Forces), which should rightly say “ongoing abolition of the army”. In 2003 Swiss people have by their vote on the “Army XXl” approved a size of the army of 220,000 soldiers and voted clearly in favour of the compulsory military service. Nevertheless, the Swiss Armed Forces must currently undertake enormous efforts to deploy, in case needed, just 2300 soldiers on average throughout the year. With this minimum size, the army should not only defend Switzerland, according to the Federal Constitution but also cope with immigrants and refugees and provide protection-, control- and accommodation orders as a result of the increased terror risk.
In 2003 Federal Council and Parliament dropped the alarm forces at the airports of Zurich, Berne and Geneva with 5,000 militiamen off. In a benchmark study of the American military expert Kevin D. Stringer the defensive strategy of the Zurich Airport regiment was characterised as the world’s finest and most cost-effective. Already in the 1980s military plans, Kloten International Airport was a preferred topic in big scale exercises simulating air land attack there because of his great start and landing capacities in the back of the NATO defence-lines. At that time, NATO signaled that when the Swiss defence in the Greater Zurich Area would fail, it could suffer heavy, possibly nuclear fire. The airport regiment No 4 in Kloten could readily mobilise 3,400 man 365 days a year within 2–3 hours.
By the WEA, the size of 100,000 soldiers would be reduced to less than halve, of which just about 24,000 soldiers were combat troops. Spread over the whole year one could deploy a maximum of 1,200 men. That would even no longer be enough for the airport and important facilities such as nuclear power plants, dams, etc. remained unprotected.
The people must demonstrate to the Parliament by the WEA referendum until 7 July that it must put the Federal Council and GSoA (Group for a Switzerland without an Army) finally in the constitutional barriers. Signature sheets are available at www.armee-halbierung-nein.ch.

Peter Aebersold, Zurich

(Translation Current Concerns)