[EDITORIALS]Root out Army corruptionThe military prosecution has launched an investigation into the Army department in charge of personnel management and key persons involved in the promotion scandal. The investigation is aimed at digging up the truth on suspicions of irregularities involving the promotion of Army generals that took place last month.
The current situation is one that should never have occurred inside the Army. In light of the planned reduction of U.S. military forces stationed on the peninsula and talk of abolishing the National Security Law, public anxiety is increasing. A scandal inside the military at this moment can further damage the people’s trust.
Because the investigation is still in progress, the details are not fully known. But it is pathetic to see search warrants issued to officers. The Army leadership has been stressing the fairness of promotions after it introduced a multifaceted evaluation system. Despite such efforts, promotions to general ranks have fallen again under scrutiny. One must ask how deep the corruption inside the military is; every promotion cycle, there is some noise.
First, the scope of the corruption has to be identified. There should be no doubts. Those who wrote the anonymous documents that sparked the investigation should be identified as well and should be dealt with properly. Documents written to harm other people are the source of crumbling military discipline.
The incident has damaged the current government, which has been publicly saying that there is no special treatment regarding promotions under the participatory government. President Roh Moo-hyun has vowed to doom those who ask for favors in promotions. Nevertheless, it is pitiful that a corruption incident has occurred inside the Army, the cornerstone of national security. We have to look back on the chain of command and see what is wrong.
Most investigations surrounding promotions to the rank of general have ended up as just smoke; we must reflect on whether this has increased corruption inside the Army. The military leadership should stop paying lip service to fairness and transparency inside the military and find specific measures to root out the problems that exist there. This time the military needs to reform the promotion process. It also has to get rid of the suspicion that promotions are based on regions or the schools that officers attended.