Military deserves our respectThere is disturbing news from Imsil County in North Jeolla. A group of residents have installed a loudspeaker in front of an army division that moved into the neighborhood, to harass soldiers. Marching and funeral tunes are played around the clock to force the soldiers to leave. When the local government built a noise-protection barricade, the demonstrators raised the height of their loudspeaker. It’s a shocking example of a not-in-my-backyard protest motivated by pure selfishness.
Residents sometimes have to leave their homes to make room for new military occupants. When this happens, they should be compensated. But the Imsil residents have gone too far. The move was made after compensation and a mutual agreement. But some residents protested that they were not satisfied with an environmental evaluation and they took their protest to court. A new environmental evaluation was done and the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the military. It is wrong for the residents to call the soldiers invaders.
The military holds a special place in South Korean society because of its standoff with the North. More than 1 million soldiers are stationed on both sides of the border. North Koreans habitually threaten to turn the South into a sea of fire. Strong military and security capabilities have been heightened against our nuclear-armed neighbor. But it’s foolish for us to call for impeccable protection against the North while the discrediting soldiers who are accountable for our safety.
The protesters must be sensible. Their mean words deserve no sympathy. The government should not consider the matter simply as a regional issue. If society does not respect the military, national security could be at risk.