- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Yesterday, coalition forces found the body of Kim Sun-il. His beheading, and the response of his government, further demonstrate the price of freedom and the cost of failure in the war on terrorism.

Mr. Kim, an evangelical Christian, was slain after his government refused to grant the demand of suspected al Qaeda terrorists that the government cancel its planned deployment of 3,000 troops to help rebuild Iraq. Despite Mr. Kim’s televised heart-rending pleading for his life, the butchers proceeded with the monstrous crime. South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun was resolute in his response.

Mr. Roh refused to bow to the demands before Mr. Kim’s slaying, and he remains committed to the fight. Shortly after Mr. Kim’s death was confirmed, Mr. Roh declared, “We strongly condemn terror and we will sternly combat it in cooperation with the international community. We should never tolerate terror as a means to an end.”

As is typical for free governments engaged in Iraq, Mr. Roh is under domestic pressure to change course. Demonstrations were held against the deployment, which is opposed by about 56 percent of the population. Still, the South Koreans, who lost hundreds of thousands of citizens and almost lost their freedom and their country in a bloody war with their brothers in the north, understand what is at stake in this war. They were aided by the United States in the Korean conflict. Now they are returning the gift for a similar cause.

In the war on terror, each free nation in the coalition will have its measure taken. Many, such as the United Kingdom, Japan, Italy, and now, South Korea, have shown their mettle. Others, such as Spain, have faltered. But the beheading of Mr. Sun proves for the second time in recent days that negotiation with such savages is pointless. It underlines the nature of the threat — terrorists who do not hesitate to kill one person with a knife will have no compunction about murdering millions with weapons of mass destruction.

Our ties of blood and common purpose in freedom have been renewed with the death of Mr. Sun. Mr. Roh’s refusal to be intimidated and South Korea’s acceptance of the burden of the fight show the spirit and action that will be required for victory.

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