[EDITORIALS]Stay the courseIt is shocking that terror attacks on Korean workers were launched by the resistance forces of Iraq after we decided to send additional troops there. The act of indiscriminate terror against civilians is a barbaric crime that can never be justified or tolerated. We pray for the dead and a fast recovery of the wounded, but we do not want the terrorism to affect Korea’s plan to participate in the projects for the rehabilitation and stabilization of Iraq.
The incident has shown clearly that Korea is no exception to terror attacks that have threatened the world since Sept. 11, 2001. This is ruthless terror aimed at civilians who have been working for the reconstruction of Iraq, not against the military, intelligence agents or public institutions. Our government now will face difficulties because public sentiment against the deployment will rise. But we have to renew our determination to fight terrorism. If the government wavers because of the incident, it will be pressed by problems from both inside and outside the country.
It was appropriate that the government convened the National Security Council and concluded that it would not link the terror incident with the troop dispatch and said it would make a judgement on the situation more calmly later. In the future, too, the government must grasp the logic of international trends correctly, before emotional views are expressed on the troop deployment, so that the government can prevent confusion from being created in people’s minds.
It must first work out plans that will secure safety of Korean troops already there and support their construction and stabilization work. It must also prepare plans to secure the safety of the additional troops to be sent there. As is seen from this recent incident, we cannot expect that there will be any exemption of noncombat troops from attack from the resistance forces of Iraq. It should be considered of the foremost importance that the safety of our troops must be guaranteed by our troops themselves when we decide on the composition of our additional deployment.
The incident also showed clearly that the Korean mission in Iraq must build a system that will provide information on the moves of Korean businesses and provide them with the necessary safety measures. We know that Iraq is in an emergency situation and that the competition for participation in rehabilitation projects in Iraq is fierce. Although Omu Electric Co., whose engineers were the victims, did not make the proper reports to the Korean mission in Iraq, the reaction that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade had shown in the early stages after the incident were disappointing.
The ministry must collect the necessary information on Korean businesses’ participation in rehabilitation projects in Iraq and build up a system of cooperation where the businesses also report their activities to the embassy in preparation for emergencies.
International society hopes to achieve stability in Iraq. The need for an additional deployment of Korean troops comes from the necessity to stabilize Iraq. The voices against deployment will rise temporarily because of the death of our engineers.
But we have to consider such grave issues as the North Korean nuclear problem, the South Korea-U.S. alliance and our national interests in the new international order after the Sept. 11 terror attacks when we decide on a deployment. We expect that the government will hold to its rejection of terrorism and demonstrate its alliance with the United States.