[EDITORIALS]A death and an ensuing warThe conflict between the Presidential Truth Commission on Suspicious Deaths and the Ministry of National Defense is running at a danger level. The two government offices have been engaged in a fight over the cause of Private Huh Won-geun’s death. He died in 1984 while on duty. For the past couple of years, the ministry claimed that it was a suicide and the commission said it was murder. Now they have come to the stage of exchanging a war of words over whether an investigator of the defense ministry threatened an investigator of the commission by firing a gunshot. Moreover, the superior offices of the government are watching with folded arms while the two are engaged in deplorable fights.
Over the issue of clarifying the real cause of Private Huh’s death, we admit that there is an aspect where the conflict between the two is inevitable. While one side tries to dig out the truth, the other side does its best to defend itself. But it is a reflection of the lax discipline of government agencies that the situation has developed to the stage of claiming that it was a gunshot by one side, and that it was a gas pistol by the other. As the government agencies announce conflicting claims on their own, it is confusing to find who is right. Even at the outbreak of such an incident, the Blue House and the prime minister’s office kept silence. This shows clearly as that the function of coordination among government offices is paralyzed.
People are sick and tired of seeing various conflicts multiply. Now, even government offices are in disarray over the cause of a soldier’s death. The two agencies must each move one step back and restore coolheadedness. It is self-righteous and arrogant to claim that I am right, but you are wrong. It is meaningful that the commission investigates the causes of suspicious deaths in the past. But it should not give an impression that “the military is under slander.” We are also curious to know the reason why the gunshot threats took place in February is disclosed now. The military should cooperate in investigations than busy defending itself.
What is most urgent is the restoration of the coordinating function of superior organizations. They must first clarify the truth related to the gunshot threat incident. The investigation should be thorough enough to find out which side is lying and make those related accountable. Only then will the cause of Private Huh’s death be clarified.