[Viewpoint] Justified war on terrorismDuring the Roh Moo-hyun administration, the ruling Democratic Party supported sending troops to Iraq. The same party is against the dispatch of forces to Afghanistan now it is in opposition.
The Democratic Party argues that the dispatch lacks justification or substantial interest and poses a danger not only to the troops but to the safety of Korean citizens abroad.
Since the Dongui and Dasan units have already been to Afghanistan, the DP also claims that Korea has done its part and that most countries that have sent troops have already withdrawn them. But these arguments are not true and do not stand the scrutiny of the past.
The war in Afghanistan is justified, especially for Koreans. It is a war to defend the world from the evils of terrorism. If the Taliban seizes power in Afghanistan, adjacent Pakistan would become threatened.
The Taliban operation in Pakistan might possibly start a civil war, aided by the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan. Then the world will have to wage the “Pakistan War.”
Ever since the United States placed troops in Afghanistan in 2001, the United Nations has assisted the Afghan War with nine resolutions.
Currently, 43 countries are participating in the war, and that number is expected to increase to 46, if Korea and two more countries join.
The Afghan War is not a war of the United States alone but a war for humankind.
Preventing the Taliban from seizing power again is a work of cultural reconstruction.
Like many other Islamic countries, women’s rights in Afghanistan are severely restricted. Some of these issues came to light recently when Khaled Hosseini, who was born in Kabul in 1965, published “A Thousand Splendid Suns.”
Women around the world read the novel, shocked to read about the countless numbers of Afghan women suffering from savage polygamy, Islamic oppression of women, poverty and war.
The Taliban is characterized by Islamic fundamentalism and is especially harsh on women. The Taliban guarded the evil Al Qaeda and oppressed innocent women.
By dispatching troops to Afghanistan, Korea is giving something back to the rest of the world. We must remember that 16 countries sent troops based on a UN resolution when North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950. Tens and hundreds of soldiers from countries like Colombia, Ethiopia, the Philippines and Taiwan sacrificed their lives in Korea.
The opponents of sending out troops ask why young Koreans have to sacrifice their lives for some unknown country. Yet young soldiers from 16 countries came to this unknown land sixty years ago and were killed.
Today, Korea is one of the 15 largest economies in the world and a member of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. If Korea does not act now, Korea is being ungrateful to the world.
And unlike other countries, Korea needs to take the Korea-U.S. alliance into consideration. After all, a friend in need is a friend indeed. The United States is waging a difficult war. Anyone can sit back and say it might turn into another Vietnam. But that’s not the attitude of a friend. Friends need to come forward and think about the solution together.
As for danger, it is an insult to the younger generation to say that they would not go because of the security threat.
For four years, the competition to join the Zaytun Division in Iraq was 7.7 to 1. The competition for the Dongui and Dasan units was 6 to 1.
Some argue that their missions were safe and they were offered a bonus of 12 million won ($10,296) for six months of service. However, I still believe that many soldiers from the Special Forces to the Women’s Army Corps will volunteer to go to more dangerous places.
We should remember that other countries have put its young people in harm’s way - Prince Harry of Britain served on the front line in the Afghan War.
If the Taliban strikes, the Korean forces must retaliate, paying off for the kidnapping of the Korean missionaries.
It is shameful to say the Dongui and Dasan units have already served in Afghanistan. Korea should not have withdrawn the forces after the hostages were released. What would the world think if Korea gave in after the hostage incident?
Minister of Defense Kim Tae-young said it was a shame when Korea withdrew its forces from Afghanistan.
It is my pick for comment of year 2009.
*The writer is an editorial writer for the JoongAng Ilbo.
by Kim Jin
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