[EDITORIALS]More turmoil over Iraq troopsThe operating location for South Korean troops in Iraq has almost been determined to be Irbil in northern Iraq. As President Roh Moo-hyun has said on numerous occasions, the government considers the deployment of troops as an established fact. But despite this government policy, some members of the ruling Uri Party are leading the opposition to the deployment, a confusing situation. Does the ruling party truly want the deployment or not? At a time when the public is sharply divided on the issue, the Blue House and the ruling party must clarify their position on this matter.
About fifty legislators from Uri Party put their signatures on a proposal to review the troop deployment. A few lawmakers from the Grand National Party also signed up. We don’t know how many more will participate in this movement, but if the trend persists, it is only a matter of time before the dispatch issue becomes a political hot potato again. To bring up this issue, which has already been dealt with by the last National Assembly, for another exhausting debate would only revive the division of public opinion and cause concern.
It is true that the United States has met with mounting criticism from the world following reports of prison abuse by U.S. soldiers, and because no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq. Even so, for the ruling party, not the opposition, to systematically oppose the dispatch and for the leaders of the party to ignore that opposition would no doubt cause misunderstandings. The solution to this problem is in President Roh’s speech on Memorial Day last Sunday. He said, “Our troops have the ability to strengthen our friendship with the United States, our longtime ally, and also be welcomed by Iraq and the rest of the Arab world.” The debate on the dispatch of Korean troops must be channeled into a productive dialogue that meets our national interest and the rational for the dispatch.