[FOUNTAIN]Why troops in Lebanon?When deciding whether to dispatch troops, two factors are heavily considered: moral justification and practical benefit. Hong Taiji of the Qing Dynasty asked the Joseon Dynasty to dispatch 5,000 troops in 1637. He asked for aid in attacking the Ming Dynasty. Choi Myeong-Gil adamantly asserted that he would not “adhere to the king’s demands even if it meant the destruction of our country.” Enraged, Hong Taiji summoned Choi Myeong-Gil, who stood defiantly before the king. “We’ve maintained good relations with the Ming Dynasty. Therefore, we cannot dispatch troops to conquer the Ming. And we currently do not have the ability to send troops because our own country is in turmoil.” Moved by the words of Choi Myeong-Gil, Hong Taiji refrained from requesting troops.
Prince Gwanghae opted for practical benefits. Losing the war against the Later Jin Dynasty, the Ming Dynasty asked the Joseon Dynasty to dispatch troops. While sending 13,000 reinforcements in 1618, Prince Gwanghae issued a secret order to General Gang Hong-rip. “Appraise the situation and decide upon a course of action. Don’t follow the orders of the Ming Dynasty commanders -- ensure victory for the Joseon army.” When the prospects for victory grew dim the following year, Gang Hong-rip immediately laid down his arms. As a result, he was able to avoid friction with the Later Jin Dynasty and was able to safeguard the country.
The Goryeo Dynasty dispatching of troops to Japan marked an occasional void of moral justification and practical benefits. According to the request of the Yuan Dynasty, the Goryeo Dynasty sent two waves of troops, dispatching 8,000 combat troops, 6,700 reinforcements and 900 battleships during the first campaign. For the second wave seven years later, they poured in 10,000 combat troops, 15,000 reinforcements and 900 battleships. The Goryeo Dynasty had to invest all its manufacturing capacity to sustain the volume of military aid.
On Dec. 15, a National Assembly committee passed a resolution to deploy troops to Lebanon. It is different from the troops deployed in Iraq because they are being sent to a combat zone. Civic groups protest daily that no public hearing was held on the matter. Opportunistic politicians complain that while fence-sitting, Korea has missed the UN deadline for deploying troops. The opportunity to grasp moral justification or practical benefit has passed. Deploying troops means having our young die as martyrs in war zones of distant nations. If not for moral justification or personal gain, in what name are these young people being sacrificed?
*The writer is a deputy business news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Yi Jung-jae
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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