Sun, Nov 19, 2006 - Page 8 News List

Letter: Amendment helps democracy

By Dai Kai-feng

I would like to take the US as an example to support the Ministry of National Defense's draft amendment that would prohibit military personnel or employees from involvement in political activities, including political discussions or posting commentaries on the Internet ("New rule would bar MND personnel from politics," Nov. 10, page 2).

The US is generally regarded as enjoying the most freedom in the world. However, the US prohibits active servicemen or military members from being involved in specific political activities. Military personnel cannot severely criticize the government and the military, let alone pose an "obvious and instant danger" to national interest and security.

For example, during the Korean War, US General Douglas MacArthur advocated bombarding northeast China and crossing the Yalu River.

Even though his opinion differed from that then US president Harry Truman, MacArthur continued making public comments to the media.

As a result, Truman relieved MacArthur of his command. MacArthur followed the order without any resistance.

This case was afterwards investigated by the US Senate, which supported the president's decision, stating that soldiers must be loyal to the nation and obey the president.

The civilian control and political neutrality of the armed services are generally regarded as the most significant indexes for verifying a nation's movement toward democracy. Taiwan measures up well in this regard, as most people accept that military personnel should fulfill their duty as regulated by the Constitution and under civilian leadership.

The amendment will not only upgrade the role of the nation's soldiers, but also conform to the trend of the most democratic countries in the world.

Dai Kai-feng

Taichung

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