[EDITORIALS]The murder, the aftermathHow could this happen? Kim Sun-il, who had been kidnapped by Iraqi extremist terrorists, wound up being cruelly murdered. It is a saddening event. The shock and distress felt by the Korean people, who had been wishing for the safe release of Mr. Kim, is so deep that it is hard to put into words. The Iraqi terrorists who killed Mr. Kim are reportedly insisting they committed the murder because their request for a pullout of Korean troops in Iraq was not accepted. But the kidnapping and murder of an innocent civilian can never be justified under any circumstances. It is an unforgivable anti-humanitarian act. Along with the other peace-loving citizens of the world, we are furious and strongly denounce the action.
After Mr. Kim’s death was reported, several civic groups and politicians are asking the government to consider bringing home our troops in Iraq as well as reconsidering the additional dispatch of Korean forces in order to prevent recurrence of similar incident. But the members of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, which is responsible for Mr. Kim’s death, differ from the other resistance groups in Iraq. The murderers are infamous terrorists that have participated in other attacks, like those of Osama bin Laden who had been dubbed a public enemy for his acts of terrorism against civilization. The terrorist acts they commit are not limited to a specific country or race, but rather against human civilization in general. If we give in to the inhumane threats and actions they commit, it will mean giving up on the liberty and peace that mankind has protected and enhanced over the centuries. Surrendering to terrorism will only lead to larger terror incidents.
As a result of this tragedy, the decision to send our troops to Iraq now is more than just a promise to the international community. Backing down from our decision would mean giving in to terrorism. Korea must proceed accordingly with its plans to dispatch its military in order to construct a liberal, peaceful and stable country that most of the Iraqi people are wishing for.
As President Roh Moo-hyun said in his speech to the nation yesterday, the Korean troops are not heading to Iraq to harm the country and the Arab nations, but to support the recovery and reconstruction of Iraq. The activities of the medical and engineering units already in Iraq support this contention and many of the Iraqi people also sympathize with it. Ties between Korea and Iraq and the rest of the Islamic world are being strengthened.
The experience that Korea went through in its growth in the past can play an important role in building a free Iraq. This will be an opportunity for Korea to pay back its debt to the international community from the last century and enhance its national power at the same time.
The anti-humanitarian acts by the terrorists light a sense of fury within us, but we must work to maintain our composure during these times. We should be cautious so that the emotions we feel toward the terrorist do not spread to emotions against Iraq or the Islamic world, because those who kidnapped Mr. Kim do not represent Iraq. Nor do they symbolize the Islamic society. Islam is a religion that loves peace and has no relation to the barbaric acts that have been committed. The only thing the majority of the Iraqi people want is a peaceful and liberal Iraq and they do not agree with the terror against Mr. Kim. The terrorists are not symbols of anti-American forces heading a jihad. They are only loathsome insurgents that are disgracing the peace-embracing Islamic religion.
A composed and mature attitude, which is hard on terror but maintains normal emotions on Iraq, Arabs and Islam, is required. We extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Kim’s family.