[EDITORIALS]U.S. Attacks Against Afghanistan

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[EDITORIALS]U.S. Attacks Against Afghanistan

The United States, allied with British forces, finally launched attacks against Afghanistan.

Since the terrorist attacks against the United States on Sept. 11 that claimed some 6,000 lives, it had only been a matter of time before Washington attacked Afghanistan.

Since the attacks, U.S. President George W. Bush has worked to assemble coalitions of support outside the United States and to prepare to defend against further attacks inside the country.

Washington made serious efforts to assemble its justification for the retaliation. It sent an ultimatum to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, who allegedly have protected the prime suspect, Osama bin Laden and his Qaida militants, and also presented evidence to its allies that Mr. bin Laden was involved in the terrorist attacks against New York and Washington.

It is regrettable that the beginning of the 21st century was marked by a war against terror, a "grey war" without battlefronts or easily-identifiable enemies, but we believe that war was an unavoidable choice for the United States. The attacks by the United States against Afghanistan are justifiable in that terror is an intolerable savagery which cannot be justified by any theories or causes.

As President Bush said in a speech right after the attacks in Afghanistan began, the target of this war is not Afghan civilians but the Taliban regime and its terrorist network. We believe the United States should minimize damages on innocent civilians by pinpointing its attacks. The United States should also exercise philanthropic consideration for the tragic aftermath of the war. It is very commendable that the United States air-dropped food and medicine to Afghans with the launch of the attacks. We hope the United States continues to provide humanitarian relief for refugees, who will surely increase in number.

History has taught us that there is no such thing as "perfectly righteous war." If prolonged, any war becomes decorated with euphemistic justification and ugly. The United States must avoid the temptation to expand the war to Iraq, and must wrap up the war in as short a period as possible by effective attacks. Members of civilized society all share a responsibility to support the United States in shortening the war. The United States should be careful not to let the war expand to the rest of the Islamic countries and become a "clash of civilizations."

The United States should use this opportunity to review its Middle East policies so it can step up its efforts to embrace all Islamic countries.

Korea surely will not be allowed to stand aloof. The United States has not yet formally asked Korea to dispatch troops, but if it does, we suggest Seoul support Washington by providing noncombatant troops after winning approval from the National Assembly as the Korean government stated it would do. As Mr. bin Laden pledged a jihad against countries that support the United States, the government must be watchful on security measures in Korea. The government should also come up with a thorough security plan in preparation for the 2002 World Cup soccer tournament.

The Korean economy will be influenced by the aspect of the war. Each ministry must launch task force teams and to discuss with the private sector over measures to minimize possible damages. If the flame of war spreads out to the Middle East area, it will cause a serious ploblem in Korea's energy imports. Korea needs contingency plans for energy, too. Only a thorough and wise preparation will help Korea ride out the first war of the 21st Century.
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