[EDITORIALS]Recriminations over troopsDays before the legislative elections, Korea’s troop deployment to Iraq has surfaced again as a hotly debated political issue. That is undesirable. After the situation in Iraq deteriorated and with the possibility of another war there looming, the Millennium Democratic Party objected to the dispatch. Some civic groups are planning to campaign against candidates who supported the deployment. The Grand National Party and Our Open Party, however, said their support for the dispatch remains unchanged.
The National Assembly approved the troop deployment only two months ago, but legislators are showing signs of a split again. We demand that political parties and civic groups stop politicizing the deployment.
Even if they are demanding the withdrawal of the decision to send troops to Iraq because of concerns over the safety of our soldiers, the demand will further break up our society and may damage Korea’s reputation in the international community.
Sending more troops to Iraq was decided based on the nature of the South Korea-U.S. alliance and Korea’s responsibility as a member of the international community. Getting the bill through the Assembly was not easy, but the lawmakers reached a consensus that the deployment would help our nation’s interests.
The deployment is not only a promise to the United States, but also Korea’s declaration before the world. Keeping a promise between nations is as important as keeping a promise between individuals. Although a situation could arise where a promise has to be broken, it is important to make efforts to keep it for as long as possible. That will mark Korea as a responsible nation and allow us to win other countries’ trust.
Korean troops will be sent to a northern Kurdish region where there is hostility toward Iraq’s Arabs. The place is considered relatively safe. It is not time to debate whether Korea will send troops or not. The government must observe the situation carefully and make decisions on details of the dispatch after consulting closely with the United States.
The government must come up with measures to guarantee the safety of our troops. Political parties and activist groups must wait for the government’s action quietly.