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[Editorial] Yoon Jang-ho, Our Casualty of War

Posted March. 01, 2007 08:00,   


Sergeant Yoon Jang-ho of the Dasan Division who was assigned to the Korean army’s construction and engineer unit deployed in Afghanistan was killed in a suicide bombing by an Islamic insurgent two days ago. This is very regrettable. What makes his death more heart wrenching is the fact that he was just four months away from finishing his mandatory military service. In order to serve his country, the late sergeant voluntarily joined the army in the middle of a course of overseas study in the U.S. We express our deepest condolences to his bereaved family left behind.

Sergeant Yoon’s sacrifice is a reminder of the cost of world peace and security. The world is now exposed to risks of conflicts and terrorism. In particular, since terrorism does not discriminate between national borders, Korea cannot consider the war on terror just the business of others. As was seen in the September 11 terrorist attack on the U.S., which claimed the lives of 2,973 people, terrorism always takes aim at many and unspecified persons. Korea can be on the receiving end of terrorism any time.

As a member country of the United Nations, Korea has the obligation to defend world peace from terrorism and conflict. That is why the country is deploying about 2,500 Korean soldiers to eight regions around the world as parts of U.S.-led multinational coalitions and UN peacekeeping forces. An additional 350 soldiers will be sent to Lebanon this upcoming June and July. Although their primary mission is to provide humanitarian assistance and help the reconstruction of conflict-ravaged regions, all of their activities are, after all, parts of their peacekeeping mission.

The Korean people owe a huge debt to the United Nations, which protected this country by shedding so much blood during the Korean War. At that time, along with 36,940 U.S. soldiers, 40,670 soldiers from 16 countries lost their lives and 104,280 were injured. Without their sacrifice, Korea would have never been able to achieve freedom, democracy and economic growth.

In this regard, the precious sacrifice of the late sergeant Yoon should never be used as grounds for anti-war activities, opposition of the overseas deployment of Korean soldiers, and a withdrawal of Korean military personnel from overseas. It is regrettable that already such voices are coming from some civic groups and political parties. It is almost unbelievable that a presidential hopeful, Chung Dong-young, a former chairman of the Uri Party, said, “Now is the time to set a date for a Korean military withdrawal in foreign countries in consultation with the military.” Such argument is no different than bowing to the threat of terrorism and insulting the death of a young soldier, who was deployed on behalf of his country.