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A backup plan that went too far

July 23,2018
The Blue House disclosed additional documents describing the military’s plan to seek a martial decree in case the Constitutional Court reversed the legislative impeachment on President Park Geun-hye. In the 67-page document, the military intelligence unit known as the Defense Security Command (DSC) drafted a martial law banning rallies and anti-state activities, suppressing the legislature and censoring media organizations and reports.

It even recommended raids and arrests of “anti-government” lawmakers to prevent any activities hampering martial law. The military also proposed to send troops and special commandos to popular rally destinations like Gwanghwamun and Yeouido after dark, explained Blue House spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.

The DSC explained the document was drawn up as a contingency outline in case of social disruption and government dysfunction if Park’s impeachment was ruled unconstitutional. But the new revelation suggests the scenario has gone beyond reason. If maintaining public order was the main purpose of the action, the military should not have thought of sending military officers to news organizations to censor their broadcasts and publications.

The idea of arresting opposition lawmakers is also preposterous. The details violate the martial law guidelines and procedure requirements defined by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The special military investigation team must thoroughly probe how such outrageous documents were created and for what they had been intended. We no longer can believe it to be simply a “reference” material as claimed by the authorities. Exactly who had ordered the document and who was aware of its existence must be uncovered.

The fact that the military intelligence unit had thought of bringing back the malicious practices of the military regime and dictatorship must not be taken lightly. A military unit must serve the country, not a certain governing force.

JoongAng Sunday, July 21-22, Page 35