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[Editorial] Military Should Refrain from Self-Destructive Behavior

[Editorial] Military Should Refrain from Self-Destructive Behavior

Posted January. 30, 2005 22:59,   


The military prosecution and the army, which crashed over the issue of the promotion scandal surrounding two colonels who were promoted to the rank of brigadier general, recently said they would invite the Army Chief of Staff and the minister of National Defense to the hearings as witnesses. Recently, an unbelievable incident happened in an army boot camp in which a commissioned officer forced recruits to eat feces. It is fair to say that the discipline of military that should be in perfect order is lax across the military, regardless of rank.

The military prosecution asked the Army Chief of Staff to attend the hearings, saying, “It is estimated that many of those who worked with Army Chief of Staff Nam Jae-joon or members of a private organization associated with him were promoted.” In response, army-designated lawyers said, “If the judges take Nam as witness, we will call in Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung, who announced that there are no private organizations, in an exercise of right to protection.” It seems that the two sides are trying to go to any length to discriminate between right and wrong. If they fail to conclude the issue by doing so, will they request to call in the president, who is the commander-in-chief? It is tantamount to self-destructive behavior by the military, which escalates concern.

The mission of the military is the protection of the country. To protect the divided nation, it should equip itself with strict discipline and top-down chain of command. It is hard to think that those who lost their senses to the extent of threatening to bring the minister and Army Chief of Staff to hearings will sacrifice themselves in an emergency situation by obeying the orders of higher officers. It is true that it is important to clear corruption scandals and controversies away. But they should avoid shaking the whole military and the country in the process.

As high-ranking officers in the military continue to fight, another controversy over the premature discharge of Lt. Gen. Song Young-geun, commander of the Defense Security Command is brewing. There is also something unclear concerning the abolition of the “main enemy” concept which the National Defense Ministry is proceeding with. There are no signs of change in the North`s military forces, and furthermore, Korea is in a very instable security situation in which the North openly claims to have nuclear weapons. Under the circumstances, there seems to be no reason to relax from Korea’s side. It is the public’s legitimate right to feel uneasy at, and raise questions over, the military taking the lead in the appeasement policy towards the North.

The military should try to show magnanimity and recover its self-restraint. When it makes people feel unstable, the people begin to mistrust it.