“I’d like to convey my deepest apologies for the poor military meal services brought into an issue recently as well as evil customs of the military culture that caused an undeserved death,” said President Moon Jae-in on Sunday in his memorial address for the national memorial day. He met with the bereaved family of the non-commissioned officer at the Armed Forces Capital Hospital where a memorial ceremony was arranged and apologized again saying, “I am sorry the country was not able to protect her.” He instructed the national defense minister to “change the military culture with this as a momentum.”
The national memorial day is a day to remember honorable sacrifices of patriots and soldiers who lost their life protecting our country. But our national leader, the commander-in-chief, had to apologize for the shameful act of the military. Today’s military is where a noncom officer takes her own life after falling victim to a sex crime and poor military meals break the heart of parents who have their sons serving in the military. We cannot raise our head in front of fallen heroes at the National Memorial Board.
Behind the total failure of the military is its poor organizational culture. Whenever there is an issue, the military has been busy covering it up, which shows its closeness and toxic self-protectionism. Its twisted hierarchy dictates achievements to be attributed to higher officers and responsibilities to subordinates. It also has a distorted sense of time, which is shown in the belief that everything becomes okay when time passes. It promises to reform itself and scrambles like a beehive, but same issues always occur again. That is why the time in military is “the time to rot” for the youth.
In the Western and Eastern worlds alike, military of successful countries led national development in human resources, culture and technological prowess. But what about Korea? The private sector is competing in the global stage, but the government is not doing much about it being trapped in politics and the military is rotting, refusing to change. “I believe the military has the capacity to change and innovate itself,” said Moon. But the military lost the trust of people a long time ago. We should not neglect the poor military that has settled for its closed culture.