Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Reflections on the Falklands War

Queasiness seems to be the order of the day. Was I the only one who felt a little queasy listening to Maggie Thatcher's broadcast about the Falklands War? It was indeed a broadcast in the old fashioned way. The picture of her sitting down at an old-fashioned table in front of two large microphones reminded me of Edward VIII's abdication speech photograph.

No Humphries or Paxman, or even a tailor's dummy, you notice. Understandably so, at her grand age. She just read a statement. Fair enough.

I do think that the emphasis on the "struggle against evil" can go a little over the top. I completely supported the UK persecution of the Falklands War and, indeed, personally congratulated Mrs Thatcher leading it, while shaking her hand, shortly afterwards (long story). But I do think it is somewhat simplistic to summarise the situation as a battle between good and evil. The moment anyone thinks they are battling for good against evil is the moment to start asking some very searching questions.

Paula Dear of BBC News has written an excellent article on What do UK troops do there now? The answer, as well as protecting the islands and their economy, and sitting in some "exceptionally comfortable armchairs", is training.

The field firing on the islands is the "best training" they have, (Major Lane) says. They can also take advantage of working with the four Tornado F3s on the base, a Hercules C130, Sea King helicopters and navy vessels, he says.

"Opportunity wise, it's fantastic. People have really made the effort down here to look after the blokes. A lot of them have asked to stay."

"To do all this in the UK, it would be difficult to get it all together. We have a lot of places to play here. And that's important, because they will do it for real in Afghanistan."

"This was our opportunity to come to this part of the world. Eight of my blokes will get to go on HMS Endurance and travel to Antarctica, who gets that?"


In my view, by far the most fitting tribute to those who died, or who were maimed in the Falklands War, was the documentary called Sea of Fire on BBC2 a few days ago. This was the captain and crew of HMS Coventry telling their story of the Falklands War. It made my hairs stand up on end.

No comments:

Post a Comment