Switzerland The Swiss Army Gets Knifed

Once a revered institution, the militia suffers flesh wounds as the country's citizens reassess its role

Although it has long been famously neutral, Switzerland, as an English scholar once wrote, "has been in a state of war every weekend since 1945." The gibe has more than a little truth to it. On weekends rifle ranges around the country resound with the din of thousands of Swiss practicing their marksmanship. At the same time, Northrop F-5E Tiger fighter jets skim along mountain faces and blue-gray-uniformed figures clamber down couloirs and across alpine meadows. With a militia of 625,000 men, Switzerland, as the well-worn saying goes, does not have an army, it is an army.

The Swiss military has...

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