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“It`s Natural to Send Forces”

Posted March. 25, 2003 22:29,   


Lee Jae-ki, a 55-year-old retired brigadier general, and Shin Sook-ho, a 50-year-old colonel who graduated from the nurses’ training academy, are very interested in the ongoing war in Iraq, because they were sent to Kuwait during the Persian Gulf War.

Lee was sent to Kuwait as a flight colonel in February, 1991.

“Even after 12 years, I can remember when I got off at the airport in Kuwait,” he recalled.

As the Iraqi forces retreated, they set fire to scores of Kuwaiti oil fields and the sky was thick with black smoke even in the daytime. Moreover, flames from oil fields were shooting up, looking like an ‘inferno.’

“The Iraqi troops set many Kuwaiti aircraft and cars on fire and even fired their guns at the hotels when they withdrew. After that, I came to think that we must not tolerate a dictator who destroyed resources and invaded a neighboring country,” Lee said.

The transportation unit of the air force that General Lee was leading was charged with carrying equipment and soldiers of allied forces to Kuwait in a C130. Officials of allied forces were surprised as the unit had completed the task every day nearly from 9 am to 4 am for two months.

After retiring as a brigadier general in 1997, Lee, who worked for a telecommunication company, is now about to open a language institute. He said that he came to know the ‘world’ through the experience during the war. He stressed, “I understand why some are opposed to war. But we have to consider so many things to live in the international community.”

Colonel Shin worked at a hospital in Saudi Arabia as part of a medical crew from January 30 to April 7 in 1991. She treated soldiers and civilians injured at the border of Kuwait and Iraq. She often had to work with a gas mask due to the ten or more air raid sirens of Iraqi chemical bombs.

On her first day on the front, there were massive casualties. She said that she could not forget the appalling scenes where about 70 injured people carried on stretchers groaning and crying everywhere.

“When I see patients, I don’t have time to think about ideology and justification. I only think about saving them,” the colonel said. Among the patients she treated, there were a considerable number of Iraqis. She did not regard them as the enemy because ‘saving lives’ was the duty of the medical unit. She said that when the decision to send forces to Iraq, it will be better to start medical support as soon as possible.

“When our nation calls, the military must follow orders. It is for the glory of soldiers,” said the two, with regard to sending forces to the Iraqi war.

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