[EDITORIALS]Let Mr. Yoon goPresident Roh Moo-hyun is unlikely to accept the resignation of Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung. Kim Wan-key, the Blue House senior adviser for personnel affairs, said that “this is the stage where military reform has just begun,” and added, “To whom shall we entrust military reform and when will we be able to see satisfactory results?” Mr. Kim appeared to say that Mr. Yoon must stay in his post because he is the only one to do the job. Is that so?
The tragic shooting incident at a guard post near the border was truly shocking and lamentable. The public still feels very upset, repeatedly asking, “How was it possible for eight soldiers be killed at the guard post during the shooting spree?”
Mr. Yoon offered to resign to express his intention to take political responsibility to calm the public’s anger as well as to take responsibility for his failed leadership. And yet the Blue House is reluctant to accept the resignation, underestimating the shock that the people have experienced.
The Blue House’s excuse for keeping Mr. Yoon, that he is the man to lead military reform, is also embarrassing to hear. President Roh probably believes in Mr. Yoon’s abilities to carry out reform, including a plan to open up the Defense Ministry to non-military officials. But it is hard to believe that Mr. Yoon is the only person in this country who is capable of doing the job. There is also no consensus on why Mr. Yoon is fit for the job.
Around the time of the shooting incident, the inter-Korean border had been repeatedly penetrated, and that was more than enough to urge the military to be on alert. That is why the public is asking the defense minister to be responsible for the recent series of military failures.
Under such circumstances, how can the Blue House justify its reluctance to let him go? That will only stir up unnecessary speculations that Mr. Yoon was keeping the post because he shares a high school alma mater with the president.
Mr. Yoon may feel that he does not deserve this condition. But discipline cannot be enforced when no one takes responsibility. A system of asking for and assuming responsibility must be put to work in order for an organization to function properly. The Blue House must stop thinking that the incident will be forgotten as time goes on. It is time for the president to accept Mr. Yoon’s resignation.