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    A woman holds a poster against drones during a demonstration against the upcoming visit of United States President Barack Obama in Berlin, Monday, June 17, 2013

    New Poll of Germans Finds Widespread Opposition to Involvement in US Drone Wars

    © AP Photo / Markus Schreiber
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    German involvement in controversial US drone wars is opposed by 50 percent of Germans, according to a YouGov poll, Sputnik Deutschland reported.

    Half of all Germans don't want their country to take part in drone wars waged by the US in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, according to a YouGov poll.

    The US army has eight garrisons in Germany, where over half (35,800) of the 63,000 US army soldiers stationed in Europe are based.

    One of the most important US bases is in Ramstein, a municipality in the south-west German state of Rheinland-Palatinate. It serves as headquarters for US Air Force Europe, and is also used as a NATO base.

    In December the German government admitted that the US is using Ramstein to carry out controversial drone attacks, following parliamentary questions from the left-wing Die Linke party.

    In June thousands of protestors surrounded Ramstein to protest against drone operations being carried out there by the US Air Force; drones would take off from Germany to attack targets in in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere.

    The YouGov survey asked 2038 respondents whether Germany should in principle allow the US to plan, monitor and carry out drone attacks on German soil. Half of respondents, 50 percent, answered "no." Around a quarter of respondents, 24 percent, replied "don't know," and 26 percent said "yes."

    Leader of the YouGov research project Holger Geissler told Sputnik Deutschland that the results are unsurprising, because Germans are traditionally critical when it comes to German involvement in military interventions, or deployments from German soil.

    "In the last few years we have conducted various surveys regarding international deployments of the Bundeswehr, and in a way the results were comparable. The same also goes for the question of the participation of Germans or German armed forces in any foreign military engagement, and the results of the current survey on the topic of drones at Ramstein," Geissler said.

    "When it comes to the principle of Germany being (militarily) involved, the Germans have a lot of reservations. In surveys the German population takes a clear anti-war stance, very peaceful," Geissler said.

    The researcher said that this pacifist attitude is a consequence of the burden borne by Germans as a result of the Second World War. In addition, the recent election of Donald Trump, who has criticized US military undertakings in Europe, has made Germans more uncertain about what to expect from military co-operation with the US.

    Geissler said that Germany's federal government is aware of public opinion on such matters, since it carries out its own surveys. However, there remains a discrepancy between the opinions of ordinary people and the policies of their government.

    "Firstly, one can assume that the federal government, and politicians as a whole, have very clear knowledge about surveys which are carried out – not only by us, but also by other market and opinion researchers. In the Federal Government, too, there are employees whose job it is to carry out surveys and who very closely and regularly check what opinions the German citizens have on a subject."

    "The other question is always: how transparent is all this? What is a topic of discussion and what isn't? There is a discrepancy between what the German population wants and what, on the other hand, happens. In some ways, that is probably right because a government simply has different insights, it sees certain things differently. All you can say is that here the government will try and avoid this becoming a big issue."

    According to research by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, during Barack Obama's presidency a total of 563 US air strikes, largely by drones, targeted Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. As a result, between 384 and 807 civilians were killed in those countries.

    In Afghanistan, around 1,300 US air strikes have been reportedly carried out since January 1 2015, which are estimated to have killed between 125 and 182 civilians.


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