[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 
as follows:
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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