[EDITORIALS]Clear up U.S. Army tragedyThe top U.S. military commander in South Korea apologized Thursday for the deaths of two South Korean middle school girls that a U.S. armored vehicle brought about on June 13 in Yangju, Gyeonggi province. General Leon LaPorte said in a statement, "The U.S. Army accepts full responsibility for this tragic accident. We apologize for the grief and sorrow we have inflicted on these two families, which is indescribable." It is belated but fortunate to have an official apology from the top U.S. military commander. We expect it to be a clue in helping to resolve this matter.
When you look at how the accident happened, you think of a tragedy-waiting-to-happen. The road is only one-lane, only 3.3 meters wide. Residents commute on foot along a very narrow edge of the road. Nonetheless, the U.S. amored vehicles and trucks for training kept moving on the road. It's unusual that more accidents didn't happen on the road. Although the provincial government belatedly decided to expand the road, we feel like scolding the government for having neglected that task.
Immature responses from the U.S. Army aggravated the situation by incensing the Korean public. Right after the incident the commander of the U.S 8th Army issued a statement of apology, in which he paid respects to the victims' families and promised a thorough investigation. But the U.S. Army apparently lacked sincerity in handling the case. This could be due to cultural differences between two countries and the U.S. Army's own peculiarities. But we could not agree with the U.S. Army's high-handed attitude toward the victims' families, which included too much emphasizing of principles in dealing with the case.
What's important now is a thorough investigation of the accident and reasonable compensation. The U.S. Army has already indicted the vehicle's driver. The government should ask the U.S. Army to give up its jurisdiction over the case. That should be done because the damage is extraordinarily serious and no reccurrence of the incident is needed, even though it happened while the driver was on duty. Meanwhile, the government has to pursue a revision of the Status of Forces Agreement that onesidedly favors the United States.
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