Cablegate: Media Reaction On Iraq, December 5, 2003

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Editorial in Tegucigalpa-based moderate daily "El
Heraldo" on 12/5 entitled "Soldiers in Iraq and
transparency". "The bloodless attack against the
headquarters of our troops in Najaf, Iraq has reopened the
debate among those who opposed the sending of Honduran
troops to Iraq since the beginning, who are now demanding
their immediate return, and those still think that it is
reasonable to collaborate with the U.S. troops."

"Most of those demanding the return of our soldiers are
those who oppose our participation based on legal or moral
grounds. Also, there are some who initially agreed with our
involvement in the coalition, but are now concerned that a
tragedy will inevitably occur, just like the recent attacks
against the Spaniards and Italians. There are also some
opponents of our presence in Iraq who are motivated by their
ideological background. They are those who are always
against the U.S. and everything the government does."

"However, the main issue here is the lack of transparency
from the Honduran government, because before sending our
troops to Iraq, we were told they would be part of a peace
mission and there were no risks involved. Some governmental
officials even said that the presence of Honduran troops in
that invaded country was in support of a mandate of the
United Nations. "

"Since the sending of Honduran soldiers to Iraq was mainly a
decision of President Ricardo Maduro, later backed by
Congress, the only conclusion we can assume is that our
presence in Iraq is unmistakably based on our full agreement
with the U.S. foreign policy goals and other commitments of
reciprocal support we have acquired with the world's most
powerful country. We believe this issue must be properly
informed to the Honduran people."

"We must acknowledge that the risks our soldiers are facing
in Iraq are common in any war. Those who are using this
excuse seem to forget that our troops were actually trained
to fight, that they're known to be very brave, and if they
return to Honduras shouldn't be because of fear. This
should be a political decision to be taken at the highest
level. Our authorities may have made a mistake by sending
these troops, but now they can't simply back off. We
wouldn't want to appear in front of the whole world as
cowards, or that we are governed by hesitant politicians."


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