[EDITORIALS]Time to be clear on troops

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[EDITORIALS]Time to be clear on troops

The controversy over the troop dispatch to Iraq is getting more complicated. The delegation that visited Washington to deliver Korea’s plan returned home only after confirming differences of opinion between the two governments. Judging from the fact that they returned home early, cutting short their scheduled stay there, the differences are not a small matter. The high-profile delegation erred in neglecting working-level coordination and contacts, although President Roh Moo-hyun decided to dispatch troops quite some time ago. Exposing differences of opinion with our ally because of inadequate preparations only hurt the spirit with which we honor the strategic importance of the alliance with the United States.
The plan the delegation conveyed to Washington seems not to have gone through discussions among related ministries, because they still speak with different voices. It even conveys the impression that the National Security Council competes with other ministries, giving up its role as coordinator.
We understand the situation in which the burden of troop deployment grows bigger, with the situation in Iraq becoming more confused and Turkey reversing its decision to send troops. But the decision-making process of the government should not confuse the people. In retrospect, we decided to deploy troops at the request of our ally, the United States, which protected our national security and helped our economic development. We have to consider what our ally wants when we decide on the type and size of the troop deployment. Considering the demand of our ally as we decide what is in our interest is natural.
If we send troops according to our convenience without considering Washington’s request, should we expect a thank you? Rampant words on combat troops or non-combatants, three thousand soldiers or five thousand, only deepens the confusion.
If the government is seen reluctant, it will lose public support and the cooperation of the United States, and our national credibility will be hurt. It must stop delaying a decision, fanning confusion among the people.
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