One of the rock solid things in life has always been the neutrality of Switzerland. I go to bed much easier at night knowing that at least there is one place where war is not the solution to problems.
This has changed in a very saddening way:
Swiss accidentally invade Liechtenstein
Fri Mar 2, 10:01 PM ET
What began as a routine training exercise almost ended in an embarrassing diplomatic incident after a company of Swiss soldiers got lost at night and marched into neighboring Liechtenstein.
According to Swiss daily Blick, the 170 infantry soldiers wandered just over a mile across an unmarked border into the tiny principality early Thursday before realizing their mistake and turning back.
A spokesman for the Swiss army confirmed the story but said that there were unlikely to be any serious repercussions for the mistaken invasion.
"We\’ve spoken to the authorities in Liechtenstein and it\’s not a problem," Daniel Reist told The Associated Press.
Officials in Liechtenstein also played down the incident.
Interior ministry spokesman Markus Amman said nobody in Liechtenstein had even noticed the soldiers, who were carrying assault rifles but no ammunition. "It\’s not like they stormed over here with attack helicopters or something," he said.
Liechtenstein, which has about 34,000 inhabitants and is slightly smaller than Washington DC, doesn\’t have an army.
Now, I understand that it is not a huge step to invade a country with a name that sounds like you have a phlegm problem, but the underlying implications of this cannot be understated. This seems to be the first step away from neutrality.
Sure, the Liechtensteiners are playing the whole thing down. They are probably too shocked to thing straight. Here they had a neighbor that did not even take sides during World War II. They have always felt safe. Did they protect their borders? No need to. Did they have barbed-wire fences and German Shepherds (Liechtenstein actually uses a different breed called Lichtensteinian Car Salesmen)? Well, I think they are regrouping and figuring out ways to cope with the troublesome Swiss.
It is comforting, however, that the only real accomplishment of the Swiss Army is to produce a tool to file your nails and pick your teeth should you ever get lost in the wilderness. If the army should attack Liechtenstein with these knives, they may simply leave the country with better fingernails and cleaner teeth. I have it on good authority, however, that the Swiss army has moved away from only carrying Swiss Army Knives and is now carrying more dangerous cutlery. There are even rumors that they have started carrying electric knives!
I have seen no formal reaction out of Washington. Bush seems too focused with smaller issues, such as the War on Terror, the economy, and learning to properly say the word: nuclear. I suspect the Democrat challengers will take advantage of this slip and make addressing the increasing Swiss threat in the world a major issue in the upcoming election. Howard Dean has been recently heard screaming insanely: the Swiss must die!
Hopefully this is just, as they suggested in the article, an honest error. It would be a shame to think that the country that brought us Swiss Cheese, Swiss Steak, Swiss Miss, Yodeling, and Heidi would end up becoming a partner in the Axis of Evil.