Post Number: 1
|Posted on Friday, April 14, 2006 - 5:02 pm: |
Argentina stresses claim to Falklands
Islanders show little sign of wanting to change flag
Argentine President Eduardo Duhalde has marked the 20th anniversary of the start of the war for the Falkland Islands by declaring Argentina will win them back.
But he said the islands will be won from Britain by using patience and perseverance rather than force.
At Tuesday's memorial ceremony in Argentina's far south, President Duhalde told a gathering of war veterans that the islands are undeniably Argentine.
The Malvinas are ours and we'll get them back
President Eduardo Duhalde
Meanwhile most Falkland islanders refrained from officially commemorating the event, preferring to mark the anniversary privately.
Few have good memories of 2 April 1982 - when hundreds of Argentine commandos arrived in the island's main town of Stanley, at the start of the 10-week war with Britain.
'Not in vain'
"The Malvinas are Argentina's" went the song that floated across the gathering of 1,200 war veterans in Ushuaia, on the southern tip of Argentina.
The patriotic song, referring to the Falkland Islands by their Spanish name of Las Malvinas, concluded Tuesday's ceremony.
It was held exactly 20 years after the first Argentine troops arrived in Ushuaia - when the town was used as a staging post for the original invasion.
Duhalde: Insists the islands should belong to Argentina
The BBC's correspondent Peter Greste says the veterans came with medals, flags and war mementos - not just to remember their comrades who died but to assert that while the invasion strategy may have been fatally flawed, their cause was still just.
President Eduardo Duhalde told his audience that their fight would not be in vain.
"The Malvinas are ours and we'll get them back," he said. "Not with wars but in the manner Argentines use to recover their things - with faith, patience and perseverance."
In the Falkland Islands, though, the atmosphere was very different.
"It's a moment for reflection, certainly not celebration, that's for sure," said former teacher Phyl Rendell.
"It's hard to believe these 20 years have gone by. It has been 20 years of trying to make the sacrifice of those who died worth it."
Britain and Argentina have long disputed sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, which are situated 350 miles (550 kilometres) from Argentina, but are populated almost entirely by people of British descent.
Twenty years on, the island's residents have not changed their views.
The sinking of the Belgrano symbolised the loss of Argentine pride
"The attitude to Argentina is if they drop their claim then they are welcome - but until they understand that these islands won't belong to them, they won't get anywhere," said shopkeeper Paul Howe.
The Governor of the Falklands, Donald Lamont, said it will take time for people to be relaxed about Argentina.
"The breach of trust was pretty definitive. It's ingrained," he said.
He added that Britain remained "committed to the right of self determination for the islanders, and has made it clear that sovereignty is not for negotiation".
Despite the continuing debate, there was little bitterness towards Britain during the Argentine celebrations, our correspondent says.
Most of the anger was reserved for Argentina's military government who originally ordered the catastrophic invasion.
Post Number: 393
|Posted on Friday, April 14, 2006 - 5:28 pm: |
I was 18/19 at the time... and in the military. This topic stirs controversy, however, there is no doubt that the islands have grown to be more british than argentine for a long, long time. Argentina first needs to be able to control (and enforce) the surrounding maritime zones where foreign ships create havoc decimating maritime life almost like pirates. If authorities can barely do that how will they ever, convincingly, claim ownership of anything?
Post Number: 2
|Posted on Friday, April 14, 2006 - 7:00 pm: |
I read a good book on the Falklands war. The Argentine high command knew their air force pilots would suffer crushing losses so they devised a trick for maintaining high pilot morale. The Argentine strike force would take off from their main base but for the return trip the flights would be split up with pilots being ordered to land at a dozen smaller airfields. I guess the official explanation was aircraft dispersal in case of retaliatory British raids on Argentine airbases. Since the pilots returned in small groups of 2 or 3 aircraft they had no way of knowing what happened to their comrades from the squadron so they tended to assume they survived. Thus the pilots were kept in ignorance of the actual casualties.
The Falklands war was a major setback for various British-designed weapons, with all kinds of weapons failing to perform as advertised. However, the American AIM-9 missile worked perfectly wreaking havoc on Argentine Mirages, Etendards and Skyhawks.
Post Number: 394
|Posted on Friday, April 14, 2006 - 7:14 pm: |
Argentines had more guts than technology, fighting the doped-induced-warriors gurkas on the ground, and the US-aided british fleet that relied on american satellite spyware. The Pucara pilots performance was nothing but admirable crossing a curtain of lethal ammo thrown at them from the carriers, only to drop 500 Lbs bombs that would not explode. The bombs would do more harm by penetrating the hulls than by exploding. I don't feel sorry for them, just pride.
Argentine pilots were the bravest! THE BRAVEST!
(Message edited by admin on April 14, 2006)
Post Number: 3
|Posted on Friday, April 14, 2006 - 8:22 pm: |
Having been there whilst in the Royal Air Force I can say that most of the Argentinian troops were conscripts with very little training but their Air force was very brave. If they had been serious about holding the island they should have won (they had time to dig in on the high ground and ample time to resupply and outnumbered us at least 2:1) at Goose Green 500 paras forced the surrender of 1200 Argentinians.
I can't see the point of their claim on the islands apart from the fact that they are off the coast of Argentina and that they went there once (if thats all thats needed we Brits can claim France as ours we ruled a lot of it once and Spain can claim Argentina for the same reason )
At the end of the day the Falklands are British the people are British and should be able to determine their own future
Post Number: 395
|Posted on Friday, April 14, 2006 - 10:09 pm: |
> most of the Argentinian troops were conscripts.
This is correct. And some were my own 18 year old friends who never expected to be taken to war. And as you pointed out, weren't prepared. So they were slaughtered in the middle of the night during one critical battle 2 days before the end.
No, there is no way you can win a war against a country who has centuries, if not a millenary history of fighting wars (and winning). And perhaps this is the reason why the argentine militaries just couldn't be serious about it. Even if they had outnumbered their oponent 10 to 1. A war can't be won by relying only in a small group of selected gutsy pilots.
We may have read different history books. It is my understanding that spanish colonists landed in the islands way before any british did and that they had also established the first settlements there while looking for a pass to the Indies, a commercial route for spice trade. I don't know enough about British/France history to make any allegation but Spain cannot make any claims over Argentina since all their so-called *rights* vanished after the battles for independence. It is like comparing apples to oranges.
I may go back to some of my history books to find out when and how the first 'criollo/spanish' settlers were kicked out from the islands or won over after an *independence war*. This much I do not know, except that any conflict over the southern territories seems completely idiotic.
(Message edited by admin on April 14, 2006)
Post Number: 4
|Posted on Friday, April 14, 2006 - 11:01 pm: |
The Argentine Mirage, Skyhawk and Puccara plots were very brave men...The RAF and RN Harrier pilots were equally brave, but far more skilled.