&#91EDITORIALS&#93Shape up!

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[EDITORIALS]Shape up!

Where did governmental discipline go? No sense of responsibility can be heard in what ministers and senior Blue House officials say about important state affairs. After one official says something dubious, others get flustered trying to cope with the confusion that follows. Senior officials are making things go awry instead of uniting national strength. How can people trust the government?
Several happenings in recent days are enough to trigger skepticism about whether the government is able to deal with the problems this nation confronts. A senior political advisor at the Blue House recently told a reporter of his opposition to sending combat troops to Iraq. After reporters printed the comment, he made some weak excuses, including “I was dead drunk when I told you that,” and “That’s just a personal opinion.” What adds to the seriousness is that the incident happened right after President Roh Moo-hyun said he would give particularly careful study to the question. We are not saying that a Blue House official cannot have personal opinions, but he was imprudent about the timing and occasion of his comments.
Another example is the issue of Kim Doo-gwan, the minister of government administration and home affairs. The National Assembly said it wanted him out, but Mr. Roh said, “Resign after dealing with the aftermath of the typhoon,” even though the minister wanted out. In the end, they struck an odd bargain in which the minister will stay on even after his successor is named. That makes him a perfect lame duck administrator.
After the minister of commerce, industry and energy announced a plan to build a vacation home for the president, the Blue House spokesman instantly denied the existence of such a plan. Did the minister not talk with the Blue House before announcing it?
And what was the head of the economic cabinet team doing when the typhoon struck? He was golfing at Jeju. Taking pride in a non-authoritarian administration doesn’t excuse this state of affairs. It would not be too much, we think, to ask that government officials be more careful in their words and behavior.
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