[EDITORIALS]Who’s in charge here?

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[EDITORIALS]Who’s in charge here?

The confusion over the government’s position on the second deployment of troops to Iraq keeps growing. Prime Minister Goh Kun told foreign business leaders this week that the troops would take charge of a given region; then he took the remark back after the National Security Council demanded him to withdraw it. Despite the president’s gag order, a National Security Council official spoke publicly about the scale of the contingent. We wonder how this administration’s national security function is being run, and it makes us worried.
And just what makes the prime minister change his statement at the drop of a hat by a National Security Council official? Can a prime minister who takes a step back when a mere advisory official demands it execute his constitutional mandate to oversee the cabinet? If the error was his, the problem is even more serious. There is something gravely wrong if a prime minister talks about a serious issue, in front of foreign business leaders, without a clear grasp of it. The prime minister, by mandate, stands ready to assume the National Security Council chairmanship. A national security issue is inherently an urgent matter, and whatever the council is reviewing ought to be reported to the prime minister in a timely fashion.
This does not solely concern the prime minister. Defense Minister Cho Young-kil has said that the proposed relocation of troops out of Seoul will cause serious security problems, only to retract the statement a few days later. The foreign and defense ministers, key members of the National Security Council, clearly favor the deployment in Iraq, but the administration has not stopped wavering. We hear the influence of the National Security Council officials when there is wavering.
The Council also includes the director of the National Intelligence Service and, at the president’s request, the defense minister. It is ludicrous that the council is influenced by officials in a secretarial position, whose role should be exactly that. The Blue House should not let a few aides take control of an important policy and leave the prime minister and other ministers looking like dummies.

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