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[Editorial] Conflicts on the Zaitoon Unit Should be Minimized

[Editorial] Conflicts on the Zaitoon Unit Should be Minimized

Posted November. 28, 2004 23:14,   


One month is left until the due date of passing the approval proposal on extending the dispatch period of the Zaitoon unit stationed in Iraq. If the National Assembly does not agree on extending the dispatch of the troops, the Zaitoon unit will have to pack up and come home. However, the situation at the National Assembly is not that simple. The opposition of certain members of the ruling party is about to materialize.

Several members of the ruling party who started an anonymous sign-in last week are planning to publicize their stands against extending the troop dispatch. Since a few members of other opposition parties such as the Democratic Labor Party are going to join this movement, a controversy seems inevitable. Considering the fact that the background behind the government’s decision to send troops to Iraq was “realistic national interests,” this is certainly a matter to be concerned about.

The process of dispatching the Zaitoon unit was a continuation of ups and downs. This February, the National Assembly passed the dispatch approval proposal, five months since the United States requested additional dispatch last September. Afterwards, it took four months to decide on Arvil as the dispatch area. The main force reached the area only three months ago, and the primary goal of the troop dispatch, which is to rebuild the peace, has not even started yet. Under such conditions, how can the Zaitoon unit come back?

Those who speak against extending the period of troop dispatch will probably come up with the previous logic, “We cannot sacrifice our youth in a war without cause,” but if we bring them back in for those reasons, Korea’s national dignity in the international society will obviously fall. It will also deteriorate difficultly mended Korea-US relations, which is going to exert a bad influence on settling the North Korean nuclear problem such as with the six-way talks. In short, this will be worse than not sending the troops at all in the first place.

I hope the assemblymen would repress extreme acts of opposition against the extension of the troop dispatch period. A responsible lawmaker needs to know how to bridge the gap between “ideal” and “reality.” If the assemblymen stand up as if engaged in competition for clearness, social conflict is bound to escalate again. We have already wasted enough public opinion on this matter.