[EDITORIALS]Playing games with troops

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[EDITORIALS]Playing games with troops

The way our government is handling the matter of sending more troops to Iraq is very confusing. The president said that nothing concrete has been set and has ordered total silence from government offices. Nevertheless, an official from the National Security Council said Monday that the size of the force would be around 2,000 to 3,000, drawing denials from government agencies. Seoul seems to be fueling the friction rather than soothing it.
A senior government official said, “The character of the force, composition and time of deployment will be determined later, considering public opinion.”
But the Ministry of Defense complained that 3,000 troops would be inadequate, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has said that it had never consulted with the council. Could this be a ploy by the council to get its way with what it considers the public would accept, a force of 3,000?
Determining the size of our force is a matter that should be decided after considering the military situation. That is why we are sending teams to survey the local situation and reviewing the combat capability of our troops to be dispatched. On the basis of the review and analysis, the council, in which experts from the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs and Trade take part, should draw a conclusion. Nevertheless, to predetermine the size of our force is puzzling.
Why is the security council set on the number 3,000? The most important thing is to devise a plan that would ensure the safety of our forces while they are providing security to the Iraqi people. President Roh should not call Lim Jong-suk, a lawmaker on a hunger strike to protest the deployment. Instead, he should try to boost the morale of our troops.
With the decision to send more forces to Iraq having been made, we have to support our troops so that they can do their job properly. Determining the makeup of the force should not be used to soothe those who oppose the deployment. Doing so will only obfuscate the true meaning of sending these forces, and that poses an additional danger our troops would have to face.
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