Thu, Dec 01, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Letter: PFP insults armed forces

By Zhu Jin-long

Your newspaper reported that the People First Party (PFP) legislative caucus claimed that pro-independence soldiers have been granted leave to vote in Saturday's local government elections, while the pro-unification ones have not ("Soldiers' leave on Saturday has become politicized: PFP," Nov. 29, page 3).

I think this allegation is unfair, and insults the armed forces.

Earlier last month, the Ministry of National Defense ordered that military personnel may not get involved in political activities, in order to maintain neutrality.

The accusation that the ministry is trying to manipulate the election by giving leave to conscripts who support the pan-green camp, and is even transporting them by bus to Taipei County to vote on Saturday, is completely groundless.

Second, the military has never proposed any change in leave policy for officers and enlisted personnel for election day. Military personnel will follow normal weekend schedules which determine whether they have leave this Saturday, because soldiers' leave is normally planned one month in advance, and the leave schedule is made public.

Last but not the least, Taiwan's modern society is free and democratic. Soldiers are of course influenced by democratic politics and decide for themselves which candidate to support. There is no use requesting any military personnel to support specific candidates. Anyone efforts to use improper methods to manipulate the election will be futile.

As the director-general of Political Warfare Bureau General Hu Zhenpu (胡鎮埔) said, the election is temporary, but ensuring national security is a permanent mission. Hopefully, parties won't drag in the armed forces into their political battles. The armed forces belong to no single individual or political party, and no political party can influence the armed forces.

Taiwan was once a place where people were simple, decent and magnanimous. However, with the recent scandals disclosed by the media, Taiwan is now buffeted by an "expose culture." Such a culture is even more out of control at election time.

Politicians "expose" scandals whether or not they have any basis for doing so. Consequently, the general public's dislike of politicians increases while Taiwan sinks farther into the bog of attack politics.

Zhu Jin-long

Taichung

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