A military base on Kinmen, once called the “anti--communist sentry,” was recently attacked — an occurrence that was completely unexpected. A volunteer serviceman surnamed Chang (張) who was upset with a punishment given to him by his superiors reportedly had nine friends and relatives attack the camp. As a result, nine soldiers and officers, including a second lieutenant, were injured.
Those involved have been arrested and the military will investigate the incident, but Kinmen, which in the past has been described as strong as steel, can no longer stop even a few rascals. This raises the question: Could these soldiers resist an attack by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA)?
This incident is just the tip of the iceberg. For more than three years, many serious disciplinary breaches have occurred in the military, sometimes even involving senior officers. One incident involved former general Lo Hsien-che (羅賢哲), who shared secret information about Taiwanese and US military cooperation with China, causing great danger to national security.
If an army becomes undisciplined, it naturally follow that its morale and ability to fight will deteriorate. Why is it, then, that under the “wise” leadership of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), military discipline and power have become so poor?
The answer is simple: Ma, the commander of the navy, army and air force, lacks a central guiding idea and, as a result, the military no longer know what and whom they are fighting for.
In all honesty, Ma from time to time “reminds” the military that China still poses a threat to Taiwan and that it needs to strengthen its capabilities. However, when the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) was in opposition, Ma blocked any arms procurement deal he could, and since he came into office, he has done everything possible to save money on weapons purchases.
However, he has been enthusiastic about working with China on fabricating a so-called “1992 consensus,” promoting the “one China” principle and pushing the idea that Taiwan is part of China. These actions make it hard for the military to know whether China is an enemy or not. Subordinates will follow the lead of their superiors and it is therefore little wonder that some retired generals have had heart-to-heart talks with PLA leaders, saying: “We should no longer make a distinction between the Republic of China [ROC] Armed Forces and the PLA. We are all Chinese troops.” When they see Ma boasting about cross-strait peace and “peace dividends,” wouldn’t the army be acting against the wishes of the supreme commander if they continued to take the Chinese threat seriously?
Ma and other pro-China retired military generals seem to believe Beijing when it says that the more than 1,000 missiles they have aimed at Taiwan and the “Anti-Secession” Law — which is an attempt to find excuses to use military force against Taiwan — are really only aimed at Taiwan’s pro-independence activists and not at them. However, one has to wonder whether the PLA’s missiles and bullets really have eyes. Will they suddenly just turn a corner if they are heading at a pro-unification supporter? Of course not. Just like the men in the recent hoodlum attack on the Kinmen base, they will hit everyone they see, whether officer or private, pro-unification or pro-independence.