Earlier this month, Berlin announced measures to increase its spend on its police and security forces; it also announced its intention to create a special unit to counter cyber-crime and terrorism. Questions have been raised as to whether this is as a reaction to the current terror threat, and whether these new measures amount to “scaremongering.”
Spokesman for the Interior Ministry Johannes Dimroth says that this is nonsense and that the proposals were nothing more than a previously planned update to a government paper that was last revised in 1995, while opposition MPs condemned the plans saying that they could unsettle citizens.
Details of the new proposals were made public in a 69-page government paper that was leaked to the press recently, and Frankfurter Allgemeine Sontagszeitung was quoted as saying that “An attack on Germany which requires a conventional defence response is unlikely, nevertheless the country should be prepared in case of a life-threatening development which cannot be ruled out.”
These proposals tend to remind one of the detailed West German civil defence plans of the Cold War when it was expected that Germany would imminently be on the frontline of conflict between the West and the Soviet Union. It also harkens back to a time when generations of West Germans lived with the wailing of sirens that would war of a Soviet attack being tested regularly.
Many civil defence measures were allowed to lapse in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany in 1990, and a review was ordered both after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and severe flooding in 2002.
Whether it is scaremongering or not is a good question, but taking steps to ensure that citizens have access to fresh water is something that should be taken very seriously at all times. Human beings cannot survive without water; our bodies need it to function; we need it for personal hygiene, laundry and food preparation; farmers need water for agricultural purposes, and industry needs it too.