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Defense minister's plagiarism scandal continues to prompt reader mail

The majority of our readers seem to think Guttenberg's reputation is beyond repair, but the 'teflon minister' has weathered scandals before, and made it through unscathed.

German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg attends a debate at the German federal parliament in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011.

While still popular in Germany, Guttenberg has readers' ire

The following comments reflect the views of DW-WORLD.DE readers. DW-WORLD.DE reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

Opinion: Germany's scandal-plagued defense minister must step down

You seem at odds with about 73 percent of Germans in a recent poll. I wonder how many members of the Bundestag, especially from the Left and Greens, could withstand the interrogation given Guttenberg. I just wonder about the writer's political motives in all of this. - Paul, US

I am one of many former-doctoral students who had to work hard, and ethically, without cheating, for my degree. I am disgusted at the revelations of cheating and plagiarism of this man, and his attempts to dismiss the accusations as "absurd." He has no credibility and surely must resign. How can he, or anyone in government in future, talk of educational standards, honesty, hard work, without this arrogant man's actions haunting them? He should go now for the sake of his party at least, and apologize for his unacceptable behavior that is an insult to all students worldwide. - Alan, Poland

An excellent article in superb English. It sums up what I, as the mother of a PhD student in Cambridge, living in Germany with a German husband, have said all along. I will forward it to as many friends as possible. How can Merkel hold her head up after this display of expediency? - Maren, Germany

Bettina Marx echoed my sentiments exactly. I have much experience with students like Guttenberg; focused only on what place in the social hierarchy the title would give them versus having a genuine interest in the subject matter - at least enough to make them want to pursue the knowledge for its own sake. This whole controversy has raised the question, "Why does the defense minister have such a lack of interest in law studies?" and "What could be more important to a lawyer than the law?" It is those B and C students who are getting the real shaft here. It is very difficult to explain to them why they should make the sacrifice required to have a doctor title if those who are caught cheating can simply "shake it off" and keep moving upward. If what seems to be an utter contempt for honest work and sincere character is allowed to stand, it would set a precedent which would rip the society in a way not witnessed for decades. - Lilith, US

I do not blame the minister for this, but the university that gave him the doctorate title. How do you give someone an academic title without checking or investigating if he or she deserves it? It is the University of Bayreuth's mistakes not the minister's mistake. They have failed to do their job, now they do as if Guttenberg is a sinner or liar. That is a disgrace! - Pinky, Zambia, South Africa

German Defense Minister Guttenberg should step down. It's his only honorable option. As an English professor, I spend most of my work day convincing students (this country's future) that taking someone else's ideas or words without acknowledging the source is illegal and unethical. It is for a defense minister. Can anyone place trust any kind of statement Guttenberg makes on any subject from now on? Even worse, he showed neither the professionalism nor the decency to admit to his wrongdoing at a time at which the country could still have recovered from shame and embarrassment, at a time at which German citizens could still have forgiven him. The minister's arrogance to raise himself above the German law and international standards of professionalism clearly indicates that his concern is single-mindedly focused on personal advancement rather than the good of the country. He has forfeited everyone's trust. He needs to go. Need I say more? - Brigitte, US

I think it is a disgrace that Guttenberg is still in power. He stole over 70 percent of his PhD thesis from other peoples' works. As if that was not enough he denied it and lied about it. Guttenberg is very quick with firing people even if there is only the suspicion that they have done wrong, he should apply the same principle to himself and resign. - Katharina, UK

Guttenberg apologized to his party in Hessen. Such valor! He mocks his supporters with his guile and lies. The extent of Guttenberg's plagiarism is deplorable! I would like to see Guttenberg stand answer to a more critical audience, and be held accountable for his crime. He should not be left off of the hook so easily. - Manuela, Germany

Compiled by Stuart Tiffen
Editor: Andreas Illmer

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