[EDITORIALS]Bad judgment on defenseThe bill calling for the resignation of Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung was rejected in the National Assembly. The Uri Party had the cooperation of the Democratic Labor Party, but this is a result of “power politics” by President Roh Moo-hyun and the plurality of parliamentary seats held by the governing Uri Party. At first, even within the governing party, the majority voice was for the resignation of Minister Yoon. The call for his dismissal can thus be an expression of public sentiment. Therefore, the performance of the governing party obviously shows the obstinacy of the president with no concern for public opinion and the old-fashioned authoritarian behavior that blindly follows the president’s will. We’d like to ask to where the identity of the political will, which has cried out for “post-authoritarian politics” and “politics based on public opinion,” has vanished.
The bill to dismiss Minister Yoon has been rejected, but it seems to have complicated consequences. Above all, the responsibility of the guard post tragedy is now attributed to only the commanders of the military units in the field. The minister, who has to shoulder the final command and political responsibility, remains in office, while his subordinates are being censured. Of course, related commanders must bear responsibility, but this tragedy was not a kind that could be settled in that way. The shocked public called for political responsibility.
This is why we asked for Minister Yoon’s resignation. However, President Roh rejected this, under the veil of military reform. This can be only accepted as nothing but an announcement that a president will do whatever he wants without concern for public opinion.
Minister Yoon said, “I strongly feel responsible and by turning over a new leaf, I’ll make efforts to improve Army life and pursue national defense reform.” With the rejection of the dismissal bill, we can only hope that Minister Yoon’s comment will be properly realized. But we’re worried. The minister has suffered a great wound. Policy will also suffer when he tries to lead the military solely with the “favor” of the president. True leadership does not come from a man of power but from legitimacy. It is a plain truth that Mr. Yoon will care only about the wishes of the president and not national defense.