[Marxism] First things first [Re: British Government Refuses To Discuss Sovereignty of Mal
Jscotlive at aol.com
Jscotlive at aol.com
Tue Mar 31 01:10:25 MDT 2009
A few things worth remembering about the war over the Malvinas in 1982 are
i) The skill and courage of the Argentinean fighter pilots, who despite
suffering high casualties continued to fly in low to attack British ships
anchored in the bay. Their courage was attested to by the British. Ironically, I
seem to recall that the Argentinean pilots may have been British trained.
ii) The sinking of the Belgrano by a British submarine as it was heading
away from the 200 mile exclusion zone which the British had placed around the
island. I think 2-250 sailors drowned in the sinking and the disgusting
triumphalist headline of 'Gotcha' which appeared in Murdoch's Sun newspaper the next
day in the UK summed up the jingoism and nationalism which had been whipped
up by the Thatcher government at the time.
iii) The vulnerability of British ships to the Exocet ship to ship missiles
used by the Argentineans. These were French made and they were responsible
for sinking 2 or 3 British destroyers and escorts.
iv) Rumours of American mercenaries fighting for the Argentineans,
subsequently captured during the Battle of Goose Green by British paras and executed
due to the scandal such an incident would have created if it got out. I
researched this rumour a few years ago, looking to perhaps do a story on it, but
all I could find were a few random claims by British soldiers who'd served in
the war but did not themselves see or come across any Americans. Their
statements consisted of rumours among the troops, citing that certain telescopic
rifles only available to US military personnel at the time were found after the
battle and the skill of the Argentinean snipers, which they attributed to
the possibility that they were in fact American. Then again, perhaps this is
another example of the congenital racism of all imperialist armies, which
refuse to acknowledge that non Europeans can fight as well as they can.
v) Most important was the ability of Thatcher to use the triumphalism and
patriotism of the British victory to go on and press ahead with her attacks on
the British working class at home as she implemented the free market
structural adjustment of the UK economy. I don't know how strong the antiwar movement
against the war was in the UK at the time, but the victory of the British
was a disaster for the working class, the lessons of which should never be
forgotten. This is why it's sad to see the British troops leaving Iraq this week
in some semblance of order, enabling the govt to claim the mission a success.
The only way Marxists and anti-imperialists should wish to see their
nation's troops leaving an occupied country is the way the Americans left Saigon
back in 1975, hanging off helicopters as they flee for their lives.
Finally, any honest accounting of the war would admit that the Argentineans
lost the war more than the British won it. A military junta more concerned
with maintaining itself in power failed to prosecute the war beyond a certain
point, keeping Argentina's best troops back in case needed against their own
people, etc. I think they miscalculated the willingness of Thatcher to assemble
and despatch a military task force 18,000 miles in order to fight over a few
hundred islanders and sheep. Of course the fact is that in the South
Atlantic there are significant oil and gas deposits.
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