[EDITORIALS]Ruining the body politic

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[EDITORIALS]Ruining the body politic

"The vessels of our public service are clotted up by liaisons of blood, region, and school," the outgoing chairman of the Civil Service Commission, Kim Kwang-woong, said in his farewell address. "Our government will never be healthy when blood clots of people remain in public posts that they receive for their contributions in the presidential election."

Mr. Kim's fervent chastisement before stepping down was enough to draw sympathy and lamentations. Mr. Kim's words underscored allegations that the Blue House, the prosecutors, the National Intelligence Service and just about every power-holder in the government was involved in influence peddling. These "liaisons" that Mr. Kim mentioned have even entangled the president's son, who has been indicted.

Since public posts are being considered war trophies of the presidential victor, privatization of public power has become a serious problem. That any government work got done at all is a miracle, considering that officials, including those in the Blue House, were apparently so bent on putting unqualified and unskilled people in government jobs.

With practically everyone tied to one another in the government, there were no checks and balances to keep corruption from silently tightening its grip on rights and interests. With the thieves already in the house, the alarm never went off. The object of the few warnings was not for the sake of catching the thieves but to warn them to flee.

Mr. Kim, regretfully, could only wrap up his three years in office with statements of apology. "I could use only 50 percent of my abilities because I was bound to the government organization," Mr. Kim said. "I tried to change things in my own right but the only thing I have left is great disappointment."

Mr. Kim did not seem to have had much support from either above or below. Mr. Kim admitted he had once seriously thought about quitting altogether when a government agreement was changed due to the interference of an administrative officer in the Blue House.

We wish Mr. Kim had said all these things while he was in office, but his speech conveyed the helplessness he must have felt going alone against the corruption. Mr. Kim's words should not go unheeded as we await the next administration; things must be set right immediately.
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