[EDITORIALS]Listen to the commandersMore details are coming out about the slaying of eight soldiers Sunday at a guard post at the border with North Korea. It was a planned multiple murder, committed by a person with character problems who had failed to adjust to Army life. It has become known that some of the soldiers died trying to do their duty. Still, there are doubts about the motive of the soldier responsible. The military needs to pick up the pace and conduct a thorough investigation so that no doubt remains.
This tragedy has left us with a very difficult problem: how to balance the special nature of the Army against the liberal attitude of a new generation of soldiers. The military’s first responsibility is to develop sufficient power to overwhelm the enemy. To achive this, it is essential to establish military discipline through training that approximates a real combat situation. But this goal is in conflict with young people who have grown up pampered.
Poor living conditions and an Army culture that emphasizes absolute obedience only exacerbate the problem. The time to sit back and argue has passed. We need to devise an effective way to prevent such tragedies in the future.
Since it has become known that poor living conditions in the Army are a serious problem, the government needs to focus its efforts on improving them. We have to establish living conditions suitable for a nation with our economic power. The problems of antiquated bathrooms and barracks where people sleep cheek-to-cheek have to be solved quickly.
Nevertheless, the focus should not be on tailoring the military to the tastes of the new generation of soldiers. That would leave the development of combat power as a secondary issue, and, in the end, the military’s very reason for existing would get lost.
The military is neither a student body nor a private organization. Strict military discipline and thorough training are what give it life. We have to listen to the complaints of the commanders who point out these things.
The military has received a stern judgment from public opinion. Nevertheless, in coming up with ways to take control of the situation and prevent incidents like Sunday’s from happening again, the military’s independent judgment has to be respected.