Day by Day

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Building a Stronger Norway

The Rena base, still under construction, is an integral part of Devold's plan to overhaul the military. From the air, the giant yellow Volvo earth-movers plowing its roads and runways look like Tonka toys. Scaffolding shrouds some of the low-slung computer complexes, and building materials lie scattered in small neat piles around ''little Baghdad,'' a mock village being erected for urban-warfare instruction.

Norway is now second only to the United States in NATO in per capita spending on defense. But even with the military, there is resistance. Officers have lost commands, and others have resigned, complaining that they didn't sign up for the new proactive role Devold has envisioned for Norway. ''Many of my colleagues say they joined the military to defend Norway,'' explains Gen. Sverre Diesen, commander of Norwegian land forces, ''and not to embark on foreign adventures. We're trying to explain to people that security problems are becoming globalized. Osama bin Laden doesn't just hate America. He wants to destroy the entire Western way of life. So we, too, have interests in places like Afghanistan. I don't need to wait for someone to blow up the train station in Oslo to see that.''

Who's Afraid of Norway?

Another excellent piece of information found on Right-Thinking.

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