28 March 2007

You say "Falklands" and I say "Malvinas"/ Let's call the whole thing off

Twenty-five years ago this coming Monday, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands. Over the next couple of months, three things were firmly established:
  1. The Falklands are British possessions.
  2. Margaret Thatcher is a bad person to underestimate.
  3. Argentina should stick to soccer.


infolibre said...

I'm argentinian and i dont think that the Malvinas island are british. Are you informed about the conflict? about the history of the islands? Do you know that Malvinas are in the continental plataform of argentina and that Margaret Thatcher is a criminal of war? why?...Because the Belgrano was destroyed when the nave was going to argentina and not to the conflict area.
Atte Georgina Lloyd

Colin Samuels said...

I appreciate the comment. I don't think that the brief war changed any minds in either Britain or Argentina as to the proper possession of the islands; if memory serves, the restoration of diplomatic relations between the countries side-stepped the islands' sovereignty and it is still not a settled issue under international law.

As to the sinking of the General Belgrano, subsequent interviews and analysis of that event (as with many others during the war) have tended to support the British position at the time. In interviews conducted by historian Martin Middlebrook, the captain of the Belgrano confirmed what had been suspected before -- that the vessel was not withdrawing from the conflict entirely (as your comment implies) but was just withdrawing from its previous combat position until wind and other conditions made the resumption of its combat operations more tenable. Wikipedia quotes Captain Hector Bonzo from Middlebrook's research: "We were heading towards the mainland but not going to the mainland; we were going to a position to await further orders."

Regardless one's beliefs as to the status of the Belgrano at the moment it was attacked and sunk by the HMS Conqueror, it is indisputable that the ship was a legitimate target. It was a military vessel operating in support of military efforts during wartime. To suggest that it was not a proper target because it was facing away from the Falklands at the moment it was torpedoed is somewhat naive; if the ship had been in port, as much of the Argentine Navy was during the war, it could still have been legitimately attacked and destroyed as a military target.