Darabos Fires Top General

News | Vienna Review | February 2011

Austrian Defense Minister Nobert Darabos has come under attack following his dismissal of chief of staff General Edmund Entacher for criticizing a proposal to convert compulsory military service to an all-volunteer army. His behavior has been labeled as "Stalinist" by the center-right daily Die Presse (Jan. 25), which described a growing distrust among members of all leading parties, as well as the public.

"If constructive criticism from a high-ranking general leads to his dismissal, then Darabos is not worthy of his position and should step down," said ÖAAB chairman Matthias Tschirf for Die Presse. The ÖAAB (the Austrian Workers and Employees Coalition) is one of the four political associations that together make up the center-right Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP).

Darabos’ action was in response to a comment the General made to the Austrian news weekly Profil: A conversion to an all-volunteer army could be "next to impossible to undo," Entacher said in the interview. "Why should I introduce a new system that is full of risks and has no future? No rational person would do this."

At the news of Entacher’s firing, Officers’ Association President Eduard Paulus was furious. "Defense Minister Norbert Darabos has become intolerable in a democracy. He should resign," Paulus told the Austrian daily Der Standard. "A minister who threatens his people publicly over the media – that can’t and must not be tolerated."

David Wörgötter

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