[EDITORIALS]Roh, a president of the peopleWe just saw an inspiring glimpse of our leader, something we haven’t seen in a long time: President Roh Moo-hyun’s visit to the South Korean Zayituun unit in Iraq.
The secret trip was truly shocking in a good sense. The people were starving to see a leader who really looked like one and felt like one. The visit provided the public with the image of a confident commander in chief.
The scene where the president burst into laughter embracing a soldier with open arms showed us a glimpse of a president who is close to the people. The president shed tears in the car that was returning him to a military transport plane. At that particular moment, he seemed to represent the feeling of the parents of those young soldiers. The president who is laughing and crying with the people is the leader that the people wanted to see.
President Roh seems to have learned a couple of things on his visit to Iraq. He told the soldiers that he won’t embarrass them as the leader of the country. He further said repeatedly that he will try his best not to do anything against his conscience as the leader of South Korea. Let’s hope that he keeps his personal vows as the leader of the nation and not as the top man of a political faction.
The president added that the sweat and effort put in by the soldiers would strengthen Korea’s position. His remark that the soldiers’ sweat boosts our diplomatic power seems to mention the strengthening of the Korea-U.S. alliance by the troops dispatch.
If that was his intent, he should refrain from speeches or remarks that could nullify the efforts by the soldiers. It’s important to lead the South Korea-U.S. alliance in a direction that can make the soldiers’ accomplishments shine even more.
Despite some opposition, the National Assembly granted a one-year extension to South Korean troops’ mission in Iraq. This is a good example of how the National Assembly and the Roh administration should cooperate to address defense and diplomatic issues.
Let’s hope that the president’s message touches the hearts and minds of a seriously divided public. Let’s hope that it also reaches people who find it harder each day to make a living.
We hope that the president can become a leader who can laugh and shed tears with the public on other national issues as well. He has to realize that this is the essence of the power that propels a nation forward.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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