The Salvadoran troops in Iraq

The Miami Herald ran a lengthy story this weekend about the Salvadoran troops in Iraq. El Salvador has been sending troops on 6 months rotations to the war-torn country since 2003 as a part of the US coalition. Here is an excerpt from the article:
''We maintain a contingent of soldiers in Iraq . . . as support against terrorism, believing that this will help improve the world, and besides, believing that when you begin a job, you must finish it,'' said Saca, a member of the right-of-center ARENA party.

Thomas Shannon, Washington's top Latin America diplomat, said the U.S. government is grateful for the Salvadoran deployments.''It's an important show of political support in the Americas . . . especially from a country with whom we've had a long-term partnership,'' he told The Miami Herald. ``The Salvadorans are doing important work in Iraq in terms of reconstruction and in some basic security.''

The Salvadoran soldiers receive extra pay during the six-month rotations, and more than 3,000 have been deployed in nine groups since 2003. But it has not been an easy campaign.

At least five Salvadoran soldiers have been killed, and some polls show that as much as 70 percent of the population disapproves of the troops' presence in Iraq and wants them out.

Some analysts suggest that the overriding reason for the opposition to the involvement in Iraq is that El Salvador is still recovering from its own conflict.

''The marks of the war are still fresh. . . . The legacies remain alive,'' said Napoleón Campos, a political analyst and international relations professor. ``We are talking about a legacy of violence and polarization, a war-torn society that has not yet been fully structured as a democracy.''

''We aren't prepared to go to peacemaking operations, especially as difficult as Iraq,'' Campos added. ``That is a country with which we have no cultural or political ties.''...

But defenders of the deployments say the fight in Iraq is much like the fight that the Salvadoran armed forces waged against the guerrillas of the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front in the 1980s.

The online version of the article also features an 11 minute video showing US troops in El Salvador training the next contingent of Salvadoran soldiers before they head to Iraq. In addition the Miami Herald also ran a first person testimony from one of the Salvadoran soldiers.

For a one hour documentary on the Salvadoran troops in Iraq, check out Guerra Ajena (Foreign War), which aired on Discovery Channel Spanish edition and is posted on YouTube.


Anonymous said…
Regresen todos los soldados estadounidenses y Salvadoreños a hogar ahora. Alto la guerra y ocupación de Irak. Basta ya con el imperialismo Yanki. Porque los Salvadoreños deben morir en Irak para proteger los interés políticos y económicos de los gringos? Ningún mas dólar y ningún mas muerto para la guerra en Irak.
Anonymous said…
This is price paid to let Salvadorans work in the USA and send money back to ES. Too bad Saca and ARENA don't have a made in El Salvador solution for the current economic problems.
But then Saca is not interested in solving the economic problems in ES.
War is big business and a few are getting very rich while the US slides down to ruin with the costs. No money for health care, children, reconstruction of highways, public transportation, housing or education as all the money is being sucked into Iraq.
This is not about fighting terrorism.
Anonymous said…
exactly! how hypocritical to go and enforce peace in iraq when people can't even walk the streets of san salvador safely and in peace. it's not even a matter of the whole iraq invasion deal being a corporate oil biz war, but more like campos said, we have no ties whatsoever with iraq; that being said, let's first make peace in el salvador by depolarizing the political, economic and cultural scene as well as solving the gang infestation problem. cheers!
Anonymous said…
3K soldiers who would be better used in ES to combat crime rather than fight the gringo's war.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous wrote:
"Basta ya con el imperialismo Yanki...Porque los Salvadoreños deben morir en Irak para proteger los interés políticos y económicos de los gringos?"

Here's one gringo who agrees! But I'm not quite sure who's interests are being protected. Certainly not mine.
Anonymous said…
don is right, and we can't be bitching about what the american army is doing overthere because it does not concern us, we should rather show solidarity with the american, yankee people who have been thrown into that stupid, meaningless and costly war by dick chenney and the big oil businesses.
Anonymous said…
people keep saying that the war on terror is not supported by the people, yet elections keep occurring and the war keeps getting funded

Therefore those who keep saying the war on terror is unpopular must be out of touch with reality
Anonymous said…
It's too bad that Salvadoran troops have to die in this latest Crusade, brought on by evangleical christian who believe they can force the hand of God to bring about armageddon. Bush relied on their support to get elected and needed to pay the bill! Well, it's not his family who is spilling blood, is it now. Just because something is popular does not make it just.