Justice for the deceased

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Justice for the deceased

The photographs of the stern section of the Cheonan were shocking and heart-wrenching. All Koreans must have felt deep grief at the footage taken after the ship began being pulled up to the surface by two rows of thick chains.

Families of the missing crew members must have been especially devastated when it was submerged again due to the rough waves and wind. We pray the salvaging efforts will be over quickly to alleviate their stinging pain. Meanwhile, the joint military and civilian team should do their best to recover all the remains of the missing sailors.

After seeing the shape of the stern of the Cheonan, the argument that the ship was split in two not by an implosion or an impact with an underwater rock but due to a military attack, such as by a torpedo, becomes more persuasive. As a result, the earlier hypothesis that the attack came from North Korea is gaining momentum.

However, rash judgments should be avoided while the joint investigation team - comprising civilian, military and multinational experts - are still analyzing the wreck and trying to figure out the exact cause of the explosion. The most important job at this moment is to collect solid and irrefutable evidence.

So far, we have seen fierce debate raging through the country over the cause of the sinking and the possibility of North Korean involvement in the tragedy. Now it’s time to step back, put all our divisions behind us and think about what to do next.

President Lee Myung-bak repeatedly stressed the importance of resolute countermeasures. If the culprit, whoever it may be, becomes clear, we should make them take full responsibility for what they did. Of course, it may not be easy.

But it is high time the entire nation set its teeth in firm determination to get over whatever difficulties may lie down the road.

We believe both the government and the military should remember that people’s trust in them was irrevocably damaged due to their unprofessional response to the disaster in the early stages. But now, a full-fledged effort to attain closure and determine our reaction begins. In the process, the government should provide whatever compensation it can to the deceased, missing and surviving soldiers.

Most of all, it should strive to present the public with flawless results from the investigation.

Finally, it should prepare the most effective countermeasures possible to make the offenders understand the consequences of their actions. The fate of our nation depends on how well the government performs this task.

It should never forget that.
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