Four Dutch F16s and their 150-person supporting staff have returned home to The Netherlands after flying their last mission in the war against ISIS on December 31st. They had been stationed in The Middle East for three years. Our country’s state news broadcaster NOS made a brief mention of their return, lasting literally mere seconds. Air Force Lieutenant-General Dennis Luyt criticized the NOS editorial decision in a striking tweet:
Welgeteld 3 seconden aandacht in het journaal @NOS journaal over de terugkeer van de mannen die voor NL de kolen uit het vuur halen, en 5 minuten over het gebit van een hond. Nu is dat laatste natuurlijk ook belangrijk nieuws, maar vind t wel een bijzondere keuze vd redactie. pic.twitter.com/YdL62NvflG
— LtGen Dennis Luyt (@dennisluyt) January 2, 2019
Three seconds of attention in the NOS newscast for the return of our troops who have been in the heat of battle for The Netherlands. And five minutes for canine dental health. Of course, the latter is important too, but this is a remarkable choice of the editors.
It is no wonder, since NOS is the most pro-establishment (or rather ‘part-of-the-establishment’) news caster on Dutch TV. It is also no wonder, since The Netherlands cares very little for its military.
As President Trump pointed out last year, most NATO members are not paying their fair share in defense spending. In 2016 the US spent 3.61% of GDP and The Netherlands spent 1.17%. The agreed-upon standard is 2%.
In 2015, the Dutch army did not have money to use real ammo during training, forcing military personel to mimic shooting sounds, going ‘bang! bang!’ at each other. Now-disgraced establishment MP Alexander Pechtold (of the infamous D66-party) applauded the news, tweeting that he thought it was ‘delightful news’. An illustration of what that sounds and looks like from the Malinese army which had the same problem several years earlier:
In 2017 we found out that many members of the armed forces pay out of pocket to replace their army-issue gear and clothing as they are dissatisfied with the quality of what they are given.
In 2018, 1,000 soldiers had to buy winter coats themselves for a trainings mission in freezing Norway as the Ministry of Defense failed to arrange the coats in time. The soldiers were able to ask the money back afterwards.
Our state news channel not caring about the return of 150 who have been risking their lives in the fight against ISIS is, sadly, par for the course.