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:: Thursday, May 13, 2004 ::

Boston.com / News / World / Spanish troops find return bittersweet: "Last week, Spanish soldiers hastily withdrawn from service in Iraq by the newly elected government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero returned to the sprawling military base here and a welcome-home ceremony. A sign at the base entrance read, 'Todo por la patria,' or 'All for the Country.'
But many of the soldiers said they were having a hard time mustering much pride about their homecoming, and they were anything but triumphant in their return to a country where the vast majority opposed the Iraq war. They certainly don't see themselves as conquerors, and they aren't returning with riches.
'It didn't really feel like that much of a homecoming for us. It felt more like a political celebration for Zapatero and those who never wanted us there in the first place,' said Manuel Garcia, 31, a sergeant in a brigade that was among the entire Spanish contingent of 1,300 troops ordered home.
'We felt like a used car being passed from one owner to the next,' said Felipe Collado, 30, also a sergeant in the Plus Ultra II brigade, which arrived home Wednesday to a ceremony attended by Zapatero, his defense minister, and top brass."

:: Mark 9:05 AM [+] ::
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