[EDITORIALS]Play hardball, not politicsThere is a consensus forming in the political community that an independent counsel ought to try to find the facts surrounding the $200 million sent to North Korea. It is perhaps the only choice available after the prosecution said it would not investigate the allegations. And the allegations are politically-charged with the president right at the center of them, making the special prosecutor the most likely person to get to the facts. We have had independent counsel investigations before in cases in which the prosecution was powerless in the face of the powerful, and the turn of events this time may well have been the right one after all.
But the decision to have an independent counsel does not necessarily guarantee the disclosure of all the facts. There is still a long way to go before the political parties will agree on the details and the investigation can start. What is bound to complicate the process further is that the people who are involved in the allegations likely have a lot to lose by talking. With "national interest" and "threat of war" already being cited by some officials involved, there is a good chance that the people will refuse to cooperate with the investigation. The secretary-general of the Millen-nium Democratic Party, Lee Sang-soo, is already talking about "narrowing the target," clearly indicating the party wants to shield some people.
To have an independent counsel begin work, a law needs to be enacted that specifies the scope and target of the investigation and the length of the counsel's work. The president will then appoint the special prosecutor. There is the likelihood that time will be wasted for arguments about every little detail of the process, and by the time everyone is exhausted the investigation could be nothing more than a polite formality. This must be avoided. It will also be difficult to expect any substantial findings if political interests overshadow the search for facts by swaying the scope and term of the investigation.
The president-elect must remember that a lackluster treatment of the allegations in this case will come back to haunt him throughout his term. Finally, both political parties must work together to make the special investigation accomplish what it is expected to.