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Slovenia: Petition: Let's abolish the army!

http://www.mladina.si/dnevnik/29-01-2010-ukinimo_vojsko_/

Signatories to the petition share the view that the Slovenian army is in need of a major overhaul.

The military personnel should be retrained according to the principles of peace and social policies. Consequently, some soldiers would become social workers tending the elderly whereas the rest would become part of the civil defence forces.
Furthermore, financial means should be redistributed and the majority of arms sold.
Empty barracks should be refitted into elderly apartments and adult care homes, hospices, young families' apartments, youth centres and similar facilities.
We also call for broader consideration of this topic.

We believe that Slovenia has a unique geostrategic position and that national security is not under threat rendering the army in its present form redundant. Even so, the overhaul does not imply it has to abandon its commitments to NATO and the international community; however, the possibility of Slovenian withdrawal from NATO is not excluded.

Slovenia has to carry out thorough developmental changes in order to become a land of prosperity. It should reflect upon the current and future social as well as demographic fluctuations in the Slovenian society. This postulates, among other things, a policy which will efficiently attend to the needs of older generation, and at the same time ease the financial and nursing burden on the young, investing means and staff that are currently earmarked for the armed forces.

A few facts on the current structure and expenses of the Slovenian armed forces:

The Slovenian army has a combined strength of 9,305 soldiers; 7,593 of them are members of permanent forces whereas the remaining 1,712 are the reserve. Slovenia has 19 army barracks. In 2009, the military budged amounted to 552 million Euros or 1.55 percent of the gross domestic product – three tenths of the percentage point over its share during the period immediately before entering NATO.

Consequently, we propose:

1. Following the disbandment of the army, 2,000 of its members would become guards in the (current) system of the civil defence. They would also be equipped to intervene in case of a natural disaster. They would keep the so called light weapons and possibly lightweight mobile
artillery. In case of a threat they would assist the police to line up the popular resistance.

2. In concordance to the commitments to NATO, approximately 500 former soldiers should be trained for peacekeeping missions, similar to Iceland's arrangements.

3. The rest of 5,000 soldiers could be retrained to become part of a new social system based on the concern for individuals. There are several options: they could be employed in homes for elderly and disabled, be in charge of various activities for elderly, as well as the young, etc.

4. There are 9 small and 9 larger army barracks in Slovenia, built on sizeable slots of land which can be expanded even further. Most of barracks could be refitted into social centres for elderly, complexes with elderly apartments or youth centres. These are comprehensive projects involving new settlements and new jobs.

5. Most of the military equipment should be sold; furthermore, the very membership in NATO should be reconsidered. The aim of the proposition is to redirect the resources into social projects and not
to contract the state budget.

This petition does not aim at demilitarization of the country since specially trained units of guards and policemen would be in charge of its security and defence. 500 troops would participate in peacekeeping missions under the UNO mandate and with the approval of the Slovenian
parliament. The reformed forces would also be in charge of organizing and coordinating the popular resistance in case of an act of aggression against Slovenia.

Historically, national armies used to be a vital part of nation-states, including Slovenia. Today, Slovenia is an active member of the international community including a military alliance, which
renders its army and the army apparatus redundant. Sovereignty, influence and recognition no longer derive from the size of the armed forces. Slovenia should bolster its sovereignty with peace policy instead of war policy.

Signatories (in alphabetical order):

Editorial staff of the Mladina weekly

And

Jan Cvitkovič
Zdenka Čebašek Travnik, PhD.
Andrej Fištravec, PhD.
Jurij Gustinčič
Matjaž Hanžek
Spomenka Hribar, PhD.
Jadranka Juras
Bogomir Kovač, PhD.
Jani Kovačič
Lev Kreft, PhD
Feri Lainšček
Tanja Lesničar - Pučko
Janko Lorenci
Jože Mencinger, PhD.
Vlado Miheljak, PhD
Maja Novak
Tone Pavček
Dušan Plut, PhD.
Zoran Predin
Božo Repe, PhD.
Polona Vetrih
Jože Vogrinc, PhD.
Goran Vojnović
Vesna Vuk Godina, PhD.

The petition Let's abolish the army can be signed on the web site of the Mladina weekly www.mladina.si or you can send your signature (with your name, surname and the permanent address) to:

Mladina
Dunajska 51
SI-1001 Ljubljana.