Thursday, June 17, 2004

Don't leave our soldiers out to dry

Recently, four military officers were charged for the death of another military serviceman. It is alleged that they had abused their powers in carrying out their duties.

We wasted no time in splashing the photographs of these four officers in Singapore's news media.

When I saw the photographs of these four officers, I felt a sense of shame. Have we become such a merciless and hateful society?

At one time, these officers would have been the elite of our military services. How can we forget the years of good service these men have given to our country?

In our haste to seek retribution, let us not forget the positive contributions of these men.

In holding these officers accountable for their actions, let us not forget that all of us - including the Chief of Army, Chief of Defence Forces, Minister for Defence, Prime Minister and President - have a share of the blame. We left unchecked an unwritten training practice that ended up becoming a part of the culture of our military elite.

I am not defending these officers for what they have done. I am merely suggesting that we should consider their actions in the context of their total military service.

We cannot leave our soldiers out to dry like that. Otherwise, we fail as a nation; we will be no different from the terror groups who send their terrorists out to die.

Dharmendra Yadav

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