[EDITORIALS]Military abuse still a problemDiscipline-related fatalities in the military, such as suicide, are occurring one after another. Last year, 66 soldiers took their own lives while serving in the military; an average of 5.5 deaths per month. This year, some nine servicemen had committed suicide as of mid-February. The percentage of suicides among total casualties in the military has risen. Put yourself in the shoes of a soldier’s parent. If your son returns as a corpse because he was unable to withstand the abuse in the armed forces, who could trust the armed forces to take care of their son?
Analysis of the deaths points to complex causes. The most significant problem is the abuse that still exists within the ranks. In a recent case in which an enlisted soldier hanged himself, the cause was revealed to be physical abuse from a higher-ranking soldier. Many preventive measures were adapted after the incident in which trainees were forced to eat human excrement, but they have failed to eliminate inhumane acts in the barracks.
Another factor is the different values that soldiers possess these days. According to some, many soldiers cannot even endure verbal abuse, something that wasn’t a problem just a short time ago. It has gotten to the point that many enlisted soldiers in a forward-based unit were sent to boot camp for using vulgar language to lower-ranking servicemen.
Fierce training and discipline within the ranks are essential to the military. The problem is that these characteristics might collide with the values of today’s recruits, who were pampered and allowed to behave according to their wills while growing up. A good example of this is the soldier who fled his unit during a cold-weather training exercise and was found crouching in a civilian house, claiming the weather was too cold to withstand.
Because of the severity of the problems, temporary solutions are no longer appropriate. A drastic upheaval of the military culture is needed. An atmosphere in which men are properly trained while their basic rights are respected needs to be widely adapted.
The military must provide motivation for soldiers to voluntarily take part in its lifestyle. We must make them realize that the time spent in the armed forces is not wasted. Barracks must be brought up to date so that they’re similar to the environments soldiers were used to in their civilian lives. Don’t think of such investments as a waste of money.
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