This was a very interesting and candid discussion from President Roh regarding why Korea sent troops to Iraq, the kind of constraints that face any Korean leader, and the realities of the American empire:
Sending Troops to Iraq Was Historical Error: President(The Korea Times): "President Roh Moo-hyun said Sunday that his decision to send Korean troops to Iraq was a historical error, even though he didn't want to history to record him as a leader who made mistakes. ``As president it was an inevitable decision to send troops to Iraq,'' Roh said in an interview with K-TV. ``I realized that this was a time when I couldn't help but make a historical error even though I didn't want to.''"
``Americans could have felt betrayed (if we didn't send troops), which would not have been good thing for us,'' Roh continued. ``Though we reluctantly sent them, I think it was very effective diplomacy.''
Roh gave another example of his reluctant activity done on behalf of the alliance with the United States _ a visit to the Command of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) after he was elected president in December 2002.
At that time, tension between Washington and Pyongyang was escalating due to North Korea's nuclear weapons program and rumors had it that the United States could strike a nuclear complex in the North.
``I needed a gesture to show that there was no problem between Seoul and Washington, so I visited the USFK Command,'' Roh said. ``I was not so happy (with the visit). Was I? Is it a normal state whose president-elect visits the command of foreign troops though South Korea is one of the 13 largest economies in the world'' [emphasis added]
Though it is a sad situation, Korea's commitment to the United States is just a reality Korea should accept, Roh said.
``The first task after I became president was to visit the United States because of the situation on the Korean Peninsula,'' he added. Roh said during the visit he got a promise from Washington that they would not use force to solve the North Korea nuclear issue.