[EDITORIALS]Details on troops neededIn the wake of the intensifying debate over whether the country should send troops to Iraq, the government’s stance is quite disappointing. We have already experienced severe emotional confrontation among people when we decided to send the first batch of troops there. But it seems that the government has not learned much from it, because it gives an impression of virtually standing by without taking a firm stand again.
President Roh Moo-hyun said, “The most important criterion for making a judgment is the understanding of the people.” If the government plans to respect public opinion it should provide the basic information that can induce healthy debate. Only when this is done can an objective debate take place and a unified national sentiment be formed. Nevertheless, the government only acknowledged the request for additional forces after the information had been leaked to the media. Even after that, the government tried to hide the exact details of the request.
Of course, disclosing all the details of a diplomatic request is not good for the country. Nevertheless, it should not be the case that the opposition leader finds out the details after he has met with an American official. Consequently, both sides make unilateral claims not based on facts. Instead of unifying national opinion, the ongoing debates are more likely to produce further complications.
The government still fails to explain the gains, losses and effects of a further deployment of troops. It fails to provide information on what the additional cost of sending troops would be, what the circumstances in Iraq are, and what losses could be expected. In order to obtain such essential information, the government is sending a team only by next week.
The government must explain, within the framework of not hurting diplomatic relations, what the positive and negative aspects of a troop deployment would be. After that, it has to consider public opinion, international circumstances and the national interest, and make its final decision based on all these factors. In order for the president to get a clear picture of the people’s sentiment, information must be fully available to the public.