But the restored President faces a new political battle, this time with his own supporters. Roh is allied with the Uri Party, which won a majority in the National Assembly in last month's general elections. The party's sizeable left wing opposes Roh's decision to send 3,000 troops to Iraq by the end of June. Last week Uri Party floor leader Chun Jung Bae suggested that Korea might want to send money instead of men. "The influence of the antitroop dispatch, anti-Iraq war faction is growing," frets opposition lawmaker Won Hee Ryong, who fears a failure to send troops will erode Korea's security alliance with the U.S: "This is going to be the hottest issue as soon as the assembly opens."
Roh's closest allies in the party are already launching a counterattack. Two weeks after the election, influential solon Kim Bu Gyeom sat down with a group of party firebrands to tell them Roh can't waste time on ideological infighting when the real priority should be reviving the drooping economy. Still, Seoul hasn't confirmed that it will meet the June deadline for dispatching troops, and a spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff said last Friday: "We don't know when they're going." In his weekend speech, Roh promised to hit the ground running. "I'll tie up my shoes again," he said, "and run really hard." His soldiers are still waiting for orders to lace up their boots.