[EDITORIALS]Army probe leads to quagmireWe are worried that the current probe into irregularities in recent Army promotions is turning into a war between Army headquarters and the military prosecution.
The military prosecution leaks its views that officers tampered with documents to speed promotions for some officers and that high-ranking generals exercised pressure over Army headquarters.
The high command counters with the litany that the military prosecution does not know the essence of Army promotion and is conducting an investigation. Having little or no evidence to begin with, this war of words has been going on for three weeks. How did the Army end up in this mess?
If there are irregularities in the promotion process, the matter needs to be cleaned up. This means that the current probe should be conducted in such a way that no doubt is left.
The problem is that if the investigation does not consider the special circumstances of the Army, the probe could backfire. The military is an organization that has to conduct security missions. In order to do so, high morale and a rock-solid command structure are essential. However, due to the recent probe, officers who have been promoted and the Army’s top leadership are now being viewed with suspicion. This could affect the command structure negatively.
On the other hand, for a proper investigation to take place, the honor and high command of the Army should not be considered untouchable.
But the attitude of both sides ― that this matter is now a life or death struggle ― helps nobody.
First, the military prosecution needs to reconsider the way it has conducted its probe. Despite issuing warrants, it has come up with no hard evidence in three weeks. It has only managed to arrest two officers on charges of tampering with official documents, and those officers are claiming innocence through their defense lawyers. The military prosecutors should announce their findings only after gathering hard evidence.
Meanwhile, Army headquarters needs to stop countering every claim made by the military prosecution.
The Defense Minister also needs to change his current attitude, which is that the whole affair does not much matter to him. Investigating irregularities is important, but as the head of the armed forces, his mission is also to protect the morale and honor of the Army.