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  • "We felt used and let down by the politicians.

    I'm doing a "Geeky Nerd". No frills news article.

    We let our allies down, say Spanish troops back from Iraq
    By Isambard Wilkinson in Badajoz

    In the old military city of Badajoz the sound of drums and trumpets that welcomed Spanish troops home from Iraq had given way yesterday to a discontented silence among men who feel they have let down their allies.

    Senior army officers are guarded in their response to the decision of the socialist prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, to withdraw soldiers from Iraq.

    But as a small contingent of Spanish troops prepares to remove the last vestiges of the country's 1,300-strong presence, there are whisperings of discontent from those now returned.

    The previous prime minister, José María Aznar, contrary to 90 per cent of Spanish public opinion, committed the force in support of US policy.

    Yet soldiers now regret leaving Iraq so hastily following Mr Zapatero's election victory on March 11, three days after the terrorist train bombs in Madrid that killed 190 people and wounded 1,900. They also expressed disappointment over a lack of official recognition on their return and the public's seeming willingness to forget them and their mission.

    Cpl José Francisco García Casteñeda, who previously completed three tours in Bosnia, said: "We left our coalition colleagues behind and abandoned the local people, who are living in wretched conditions."

    Sitting at the same cafe table, Sgt Manuel García, 31, went further in his criticism of the withdrawal. "We felt used and let down by the politicians. Zapatero made the move purely for his own popularity," he said.

    Two weeks ago a beaming Mr Zapatero went to the Botoa base, 15 miles outside Badajoz, for the ceremony to disband the Plus Ultra II brigade after its return.

    Extremadura, the region around Badajoz, provided 80 per cent of the troops in the brigade, stationed mainly in Diwaniya and Najaf.

    Mr Zapatero arrived after fulfilling his election pledge to withdraw troops if the military mission in Iraq was not put under United Nations command by June 30.

    "It was just a photocall. He did not address us and the king did not come. No thanks were given. There was no encouragement for the job we did," said Sgt García. "It was a celebration for Mr Zapatero."

    Some soldiers disagreed with Spanish involvement from the outset but felt that it was wrong to pull out.

    Sgt Sergio Sanesteban Peña, 29, said: "There are two aspects to it. As westerners, we entered an Arab country not on a humanitarian mission as we were told but an imperial mission in a very hostile environment. The result is as we see it today. On the other hand, speaking from a military point of view, we should have finished our job to help the Iraqi people."

    He echoed a commonly held opinion that the Spanish mission was undermined by the American decision last month to arrest Muqtada al-Sadr's number two, increasing violence in the Shia region where Spanish troops operated. On patrol in Diwaniya in February, Sgt Sanesteban was wounded in an arm and leg in a grenade attack. He will have more surgery next week.

    But he feels that his sacrifice has been in vain. "We had the ceremony and now our work is forgotten. But for us it will not be easy to forget.

    "I would not want to exaggerate but it is a little like the American troops returning from Vietnam. There were no thanks. You came back and you could feel the indifference."
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk

    Anyone know if this is a decent UK news source? Or a rag? :quest:
    Only Tearful, Animal Man Through the Nature of his Being is Destined to
    a Life of Warfare...

  • #2
    Re: "We felt used and let down by the politicians.

    Originally posted by Scout Out
    Anyone know if this is a decent UK news source? Or a rag? :quest:
    Coming from someone who does not read Newspapers, the Telegraph is actually quite a respected publication - one of the "quality" broadsheets.

    It has the nickname of "the Torygraph" - as in the "Tory" Party, which is itself a nickname for the modern-day Conservative Party. I.E. it veers towards the right.

    Dr. S.
    Imagine a ball of iron, the size of the sun. And once a year a tiny sparrow brushes its surface with the tip of its wing. And when that ball of iron, the size of the sun, is worn away to nothing, your punishment will barely have begun.

    www.sinisterincorporated.co.uk

    www.tabletown.co.uk

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    • #3
      Re: "We felt used and let down by the politicians.

      Originally posted by Scout Out
      I'm doing a "Geeky Nerd". No frills news article.



      http://www.telegraph.co.uk

      Anyone know if this is a decent UK news source? Or a rag? :quest:
      Well, this is quite gratifying. We've heard similar sentiments before, though not nearly so strong, its great to see that it was a lack of backbone and leadership at the top, not something something running all the way through Spanish society. Maybe if the current PM is killed in the next al-Qaeda action in Spain, their will get a leader with some backbone, some integrity back into the office. :thumb: to the Spanish Armed Forces
      Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
      (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

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      • #4
        Once again this is another story that does not get air time here in the states. I fear we only see a small portion of a very large picture over there...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jguritza
          Once again this is another story that does not get air time here in the states. I fear we only see a small portion of a very large picture over there...
          Yeah, we see what the generally leftist news editors and anchors feel is fit for our consumption.
          Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
          (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jguritza
            Once again this is another story that does not get air time here in the states. I fear we only see a small portion of a very large picture over there...
            I hope you're not surprised
            There has been a lot said over here about the "huge embarrassment of the Spanish armed forces for the actions of their government."
            It's clear that the actions of the government do not represent those of many in their armed forces.
            JS
            Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
            Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


            "Never pet a burning dog."

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Janos
              I hope you're not surprised
              There has been a lot said over here about the "huge embarrassment of the Spanish armed forces for the actions of their government."
              It's clear that the actions of the government do not represent those of many in their armed forces.
              JS
              What do you expect of a pack of Socialists (the ruling bloc in Spain). I consider and hope that this will be a one-term government (or less) in Spain.
              Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
              (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

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