The majority of their work has been humanitarian like building roads, health clinics, and schools. In Iraq, even humanitarian duties are deadly; five Salvadoran soldiers have been killed and 20 wounded. From an Army once linked to death squads during the disastrous civil war, it is now one of the most respected institutions in El Salvador.
President Tony Saca said Iraqi President Jalal Talibani wrote him a letter requesting that Salvadoran troops remain. However, Iraq never followed-up on the request, so his troops will leave at the end of the UN mandate. Saca said, "We haven’t received, in recent days, any request from the Iraqi parliament or Iraqi authorities... If we had received something recently, my decision would have been to keep the troops in Iraq."
In the five years that Salvadoran soldiers have been in Iraq, they have completed 350 health, education and infrastructure projects that benefited an estimated 7 million Iraqis.El Salvador and Salvadorans should be proud of the service they've rendered and the world should be grateful that this tiny nation with so many problems of their own stepped up to help others half way around the world. Despite the 81% war disapproval, Salvadorans will eventually be happy they came to the aid of others.
"As president of this country and as the commanding officer of its armed forces, we should be happy with our participation in Iraq," Saca said. "We have helped rebuild a large part of the Iraqi area."
The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.