Guest Post – Craig Scotches Some Falklands War Myths

One of my readers, Craig, contributed this piece as a comment in response to some of Ecojon’s comments about the deceased Baroness Thatcher.

I thought it worthy of being a “guest post”.

Thank you Craig – the stage is yours.

———————————————————

@ecojon

“anyone with a crumb of intelligence knows that this could have been dealt with through diplomacy but she needed a ‘good’ war to ensure electoral survival.”

No, anyone with a crumb of intelligence would’ve done their research and know that there was no hope of a diplomatic solution. Argentina wanted nothing less than complete sovereignty. For all our negotiations about “Lease-Back”, the Government still accepted that it had to have the consent of the Islanders. Neither side could compromise these positions, especially once Argentina invaded.

As for this “good war” nonsense – when they invaded the MOD informed Thatcher that it couldn’t be done. An opinion shared by the Americans and Soviets at the time. It was only the intervention of the First Sea Lord who said the Navy could do it and at the very least we had to try. Nobody was under any apprehension that it was going to be a walkover (Admiral Woodward hoped, however, that it would be a walkover in the sporting sense of your opponent failing to turn up). Had it lasted a couple more days, had a few more bombs detonated… It was “a damn close run thing”.

The only way the war saved Thatcher was that if she had NOT stood up in Parliament in the immediate aftermath and announced that a taskforce was being assembled, her government would have fallen. It wasn’t boosting popularity so much as avoiding being kicked out entirely.

“And as to an honest fight – don’t make me laugh – a limping, worn-out Belgrano presenting no immediate dangers torpedoed by a state of the art submarine. And the French colluding with Argentina over the Exocet missiles which wrought havoc on our pathetically under-defended ships – there was nothing honest about the bloody carnage which followed and could have been avoided.”

The requests for permission to sink the Belgrano came from Admiral Woodward and the captain of the submarine who independently came to conclusion that the Belgrano presented a clear danger to the British Task Force. But I don’t know if you’re better qualified to judge than two professional submariners.

The Belgrano may have been WW2 Vintage (a Pearl Harbour survivor no less) but she was more than capable of holding her own against modern ships. Her WW2 guns would’ve made light work of the thinly armoured modern escorts while modern 4.5″ shells would simply bounce off her own armour. She also had two escorts armed with Exocet.

She was sailing just south of the Burdwood Bank, an area of shallow water, easily within dash distance of the British task force. Woodward himself knew from experience as he had once used the same tactics to sneak up and sink a US carrier during an exercise. Worse still, the Belgrano could have crossed the Burdwood Bank at high speed (she certainly was not limping) whereas Conqueror couldn’t without risking detection. Were she to lose track of the Belgrano, the next time she turned up could be attacking our fleet.

Woodward believed that the Belgrano represented the southern arm of a pincer attack with his task force in the middle. Somewhere to the North was the Argentine carrier group but the two submarines tasked to sink her (yes, they already had Rules of Engagement allowing that) couldn’t find her.

The fear was that when the pincer attack was launched, Woodward’s task group would face an air attack from the north while to the south the Belgrano and her escorts closed to gun distance, wrecking havoc amongst the fleet.

Woodward needed to relieve the pressure one way or other as he had a tight schedule of operations to conduct before the impending winter. If he couldn’t remove the Carrier, he had to urgently remove the Belgrano.

He had only two ways of doing that: 1000lb bombs from Sea Harriers or submarine torpedo. The Sea Harriers were too valuable to risk so that left Conqueror.

That is why he directly ordered Conqueror to attack her. He couldn’t actually do that as Conqueror was under control of Northwood and the order was removed but the Commander in Chief Fleet recognised the urgency of the matter. Together with the First Sea Lord and the Chief of the Defence Staff (also a naval officer at the time), he went to the War Cabinet and told them they had to change the Rules of Engagement to allow Conqueror to sink the Belgrano.

Which brings us to Conqueror. She was not “state of the art”. Indeed unlike the Belgrano, which was in fairly decent condition, Conqueror suffered from various equipment issues throughout the conflict, particularly with her communication systems. Another issue is that her modern Tigerfish torpedos were unreliable so her captain opted to use the WW2 torpedoes she also carried. Despite these difficulties, the crew did their duty.

It’s worth considering the Argentine view. They did indeed have a pincer attack planned. Fortunately for us, their carrier was unable to put enough wind over her bow to launch her air group. Thus the attack was postponed until more suitable weather conditions – a matter of hours rather than days. The Belgrano group was simply awaiting the new order to attack.

The French, far from colluding with Argentina, were actually colluding with us. They worked with MI6 to prevent Argentina obtaining more air launched Exocets (the most dangerous but they only had 5 through the conflict). When the Task force was sailing south through the Bay of Biscay, they also provided fighter aircraft, similar to those we would face in the Falklands, to give our Sea Harrier pilots vital Dissimilar Air Combat practice. Next to Casper Weinberger, the French were our most important allies during the Falklands War.

While we’re at it, we might as well bust a few other myths peddled by ill-informed fools like Tam Dalyell:

“She was sailing away”

Totally irrelevant. Ships have something called a rudder and course is temporary. (In any event she was actually sailing for a point INSIDE the exclusion zone when she was sunk). What matters is her position.

“She was outside the “Total Exclusion Zone””

Again totally irrelevant. It had no standing in international law and was more a message to third parties to keep out of the way. We expressly warned Argentina on 23 April that the TEZ was not regarded as a limit of hostilities. The message was understood as the Rear Admiral Allara stated afterwards – “After that message of 23 April, the entire South Atlantic was an operational theatre for both sides. We, as professionals, said it was just too bad that we lost the Belgrano.”

“The sinking torpedo the Peruvian Peace Proposal”

No, it didn’t. The Peruvian proposal, which was really “Haig II in a Poncho” was not affected by the sinking. Indeed peace talks continued right up until the landings at San Carlos began.

Nor did the sinking precipitate hostilities. It occurred on the afternoon of 2 May. By this stage both sides were well aware they were at war. On 1 May Argentina sortied over 40 aircraft to attack the British task force. Few managed to find it but despite this, they claimed that they been successful in shooting down no less than 11 Sea Harriers and damaging several warships, including the carrier Hermes.

“Her log book went missing is proof it was dodgy”

Except it can be read here – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hms-conqueror-op-corporate-report-of-proceedings

There are many valid reasons to criticise Thatcher for without resorting to ill-informed claims, myths and lies. The latter serve only to diminish the importance of genuine grievances.

Posted by Craig

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87 Comments

Filed under Guest Posts, Politics

87 responses to “Guest Post – Craig Scotches Some Falklands War Myths

  1. James C

    timing is everything!

    just posted this on the original piece

    Just picking on one point of this.

    I don’t believe there is any real evidence that the Falklands was in any way desired or encouraged by Thatcher or her cabinet.

    The record shows the opposite, panic and real fear in both government, total confusion as this just thought this was more saber rattling by Argentina. One the invasion had happened the expert view in the MoD was that the distances were just too great and that a Navy that was totally configured to stop Russian submarines getting into the Atlantic could not support the longest amphibious warfare supply chain in any history using only its own air support

    The risks involved were extremely high (UNTIL troops were landed, after that the result was never really in much doubt). A single lucky strike on one of the carriers could have ended it all in 30 mins. 3 ships got hit by modern anti-ship missiles, all sank. (2 Naval, 1 civilian)

    The attack on the Belgrano is not a difficult one if the situation is taken in context Yes, this was a very old ship (was originally American and had been at Pearl Harbour!). Yes it wasnt sailing at the fleet (the most fatuous argument of them all given the size of the south Atlantic!) However, It also armed with quite a lot of very modern Harpoon Missiles (the American version of the famous Exocet) and escorted by several modern British build destroyers also armed with the same missile. The age of the ship is frankly not the point, it was the missiles it carried, these had a range of 80+ miles and once fired found their own target Naval warfare is very nasty and can go wrong very easily and very quickly. No sensible commander would allow such a ship within 1000 miles of their fleet and would attack on sight.

    We were also very much in the unknown, there had been no significant naval engagements since 1945 and that was pre-missile. One really good strike on the fleet and it was game over.

    Also please take into account the separate troop fleet following with tens of thousands of troops in civilian liners which would have been very vulnerable indeed.

    Britain had actually already been very tolerant already with regards to NOT shooting down on sight Argentina military 737′s which were obviously trying to spot the main fleet, this would have been a very justified action but they were initially just warned off.

    One of general problem with conflict is that it is very hard to be clear exactly how much the other side is serious and how much it is just posturing. the cost of underestimating how serious your opponent can be terminal. It is also much harder to judge this with modern weapons where you never actually see the other side anyway.

    Another myth was this was a tory war, just read Michael Foot’s speeches in the commons!!

    The finally finish, I absolutely despised that woman (as my granny referred to her) and her “philosophy” such as it was. My first political memory was of her government and what it did, I can lay a lot at THEIR door (as she was just the front person and not even the originator), but like most wars the Falklands was cock-up not conspiratory. Even if you hate someone, you should not re-write history.

    • So that makes the whole south Atlantic adventure alright then?. To me it’s a total irrelevence, the whole sequence of events once the hostilities commenced. I’m more concerned with the practical relevance & morality attached to the actions of a so called modern democracy sending an Armada into some one else’s back yard. We had no right then or now to park our military hardware on the Malvinas.
      The British military have a tradition of not asking questions, and this is seen as an admiral trait. Why exactly?
      For the record no one seems to have highlighted the disgrace of the post Falklands Victory parade. The maimed, blinded & burned were deemed undesirable at the event. The propaganda that Britain was great again took centre stage.
      Never Great! Ever!

      • david

        Do you mean an admirable trait?
        Or a trait by one of our Admirals?
        It seems you supported an illegal invasion which imprisoned people by a fascist tinpot junta.
        Are you so blinded by your hatred that you cannot distinguish from right and wrong?
        Notice you cannot argue factually against the piece.

        • Illegal Invasions! Are you having a laugh? Britain built it’s considerable, domestic & global economic muscle on Illegal Invasions. I’ll go through them one by one if you like.
          And where exactly did I manipulate fact?
          Admiral was a bit of wordplay ! muppet!
          And while you are accusing me of hatred would you care to outline who I have said I hate?

  2. At least the British and Argentinean forces had the courage to face each other on the battle field , unlike terrorist scum who kill innocent women and kids or their vile , bigoted cheerleaders who support child murder like MONTIT AND VOLUNTEER MICK .

    • JohnBhoy

      @Carson

      Lancet, prestigious medical journal, on number of civilian deaths in Iraq caused by coalition forces:

      “We are quite confident that there’s been somewhere in the neighbourhood of 100,000 deaths, but it could be much higher… Ninety-five percent were due to airstrikes by helicopter gunships, rockets or other types of aerial weaponry. Forty-six percent (56,000) of the violent deaths involving coalition forces were men ages 15 to 60, but 46 percent (46,000) were children younger than 15, and 7 percent were women (7,000), the researchers reported.”

      46,000 children killed by our brave troops and their pals. Now, what was that you were saying about child killers and facing your enemy?

    • mick

      carson your a dafty constant on about past troubles bring yourself in to the present and stop living in the past

    • Monti

      ” But soon I learned that bricks & stones won’t drive the Brits away…..it wasn’t very long before,who did I join, I joined the IRA!!! TIOCFAIDHARLA! OGLACH MONTI & OGLACH MICK……..GOD BLESS OUR LEADER,THE GALLANT BOBBY SANDS……

      • JimBhoy

        @Monti I have to say i do not follow where you go with this mate.. I had a dafty time in the 80’s wi my Irish pals but i am a scotsman wi pals of many and varied cultures and if some keep to some old traditions then it brings us all down mate, can’t you see that…

        Anti-bigots, anti-sectarianism, Anti-fascism, it’s all I believe in.. Anti-shysterism is the new one, pay your way (not you monti) tax at source that keeps the company going, so the exploiters can play away and make their fortunes in the BVI for British companies…. Shut all that down HMRC now and see where we are…Work in a British market pay British taxes fukin simples…!!!!

        • Monti

          I am entitled to my Views Jimbhoy, it’s that simple. My views may not be popular at times, but I will stand by what I say, no matter how or where that is viewed. It’s ok for the Brits to commit murder as long as they are the ones doing it! That is a firm belief of mine.. The Gibraltar 3 were unarmed Jimbhoy, they were murdered, if suspected they should have been arrested long before they reached Gibraltar, no? Shoot to kill was a Brit philosophy…it still is & the same fannies on here like David & Carson go on about child killers, these two were probably celebrating the first night of shock & awe tactics in Iraq….now that was terrorism. P.S. David you said I would run away from a Brit soldier? Really? See where that got John Charles de menezes! No I wouldn’t run I’d laugh at his kinky boots………for fun

          • david

            Intemperate language only adds to your weakness, Liar Bigot boy.
            I have already condemned the last Gulf war, it was illegal.
            You want protection for your IRA bomber buddies but not for their victims.
            Pathetic.
            Charles de Mendezes was shot wrongly and illegally by the Police, not the Army, mistaken for an Islamic terrorist.
            You would run a mile from a British soldier, you are always puffing yourself up on here, calling yourself a volunteer, etc.
            As I said, a liar, a bigot, and a figure of fun, thats you.

      • david

        Pig=Grunt

        Usual crap from Billy Liar, the Bigot boy.
        Would run a mile at the sight of a British soldier.

        • Ed Paisley

          David. I notice you have become more and more abusive. It is unbecoming of you. You are clearly a bright guy – there is no need for it. You can clearly see that carson spends all his time baiting people to make an intemperate statement. Due to low blood sugar, or a low anger threshold, people will sometimes oblige carson and he revels in it. Please don’t play carson’s game.

          • david

            Thank you for the compliment.
            I dont like Carsons baiting either and some of the abuse from that side such as paedophilia and the despicable BJK rubbish is galling.

            However, support for the killing of innocents ( and for me, especially children, I wont go into why ) is beyond the pale and needs to be confronted head-on; and I wouldnt care what side / cause it came from.

            I lost a friend on Mt Tumbledown and I believe he died for something ( unlike almost all the subsequent conflicts ) . I cannot fathom anyone taking the side of Argentina, clearly the aggressors, against their own people.
            My friends pal ( they only met when they both joined up ) was a Celtic fan killed by mortar fire whilst trying to save my friends life. He was awarded a decoration for his bravery .
            I cherish both their memories.

    • JimBhoy

      Leave the fukin UVF out of this Arseon…!! All fukin terrorists should be tried and if totally convicted put away for life or their fukin organs harvested… Scum of the earth on all fronts..!!! Your father, mother, daughter, son could be killed by these fukin eejits… Get a fukin life/job do something good in your community… Wee lass round the corner from me lost her 18 yr old brother in Ireland few years back, she killed herself 4 yrs later, my religion lost…. I take no sides claim no religion just ffs get a grip..!!!!

    • Did Bomber Harris ever face any of the 60000 civilians he had burned to a crisp in Dresden? We all know the answer to that. The “murdering Scum references are the default refuge of those who know their arguments don’t stand up to moral scrutiny.

      • JimBhoy

        FUk sake man what about that Ghengis Khan or those Roman emperors, that Hitler was a feker too.. Did you actually read what I wrote ffs…

      • JimBhoy

        @Mac sad pal but i think it came both ways how can a war justify bombing civilians? That’s the question…?

      • david

        Remind me who started the war again, which airforce did the Blitz, which country / forces tried to exterminate the whole race?

        So blinded by hatred .

        Sow the Wind= Reap the Whirlwind

        Dresden was unnecessary, but easy to say 60 odd years later.

        • For the record d a v i d !! Britain’s part in the 2nd world war was in my opinion justified. I fully supported the Allies uniting in fighting Fascism, in that particular instance there was nowhere else to go or nothing else to be done. Where I depart from that as I would in any conflict is the “deliberate” & savage targeting of civilians. There was no military justification for the carnage of Dresden or Hiroshima, for that matter The suffering at Dresden was every bit as appalling as the nuclear strikes . Do see what I’m getting at?
          When you start acting like a barbarian even in a justified conflict it diminishes any entitlement to the moral high ground you might think you have. So Hitler started it & we were entitled to behave as badly as he did.

          “Sow the Wind = Reap the Whirlwind” was a phrase most recently employed to describe Britains policy in the near & middle East. Arming Sadaam Hussein & The Taliban for instance. How many British soldiers were killed & maimed indirectly trying to clear up the results of that stinking hypocrisy

          Also referring to any criticism of your position as being inspired by hatred is simply an illustration of intellectual laziness.
          Unfortunately I have read your posts. You need a new mantra

          • david

            Sow the Wind, Reap the Whirlwind was a phrase coined by Bomber Harris.
            Never heard it used in connection with anything else.
            Hiroshima brought the war to a speedy conclusion and likely spared countless Allied lives without having to invade Japan and also given the sheer barbarity of our enemy can be justified.
            Considering their treatment of our POWs they can consider themselves fortunate that their soldiers were not shot out of hand upon surrendering.
            ( Scots troops in the far east were notorious in the far east for not taking prisoners, as were the Australians. )

            • I am not questioning the barbarity of the German & Japanese military.
              The means are never justified by the objective. A loss of civilized principles is always a loss. Particularly if you are flying the banner for freedom & democracy!
              There was a book written ( I think by John Pilger, may well be wrong) titled using the Bomber Harris quote & specifically in memory of it. It was used by many at the time of entering the Iraq & Afghan wars as an opening critique of the action of going into wars, which have been proven to inflame the West v Islam situation..

  3. mick

    shes a war criminal thanks for finalizing doubt on this Craig that was a well structured post and well worthy of debate on the topic hope you continue to keep the facts flowing

    • richboy

      Mick, did you read Craigs’ post? Far from “finalizing doubt” he showed the war as it was, unavoidable and clumsily led. Just because you hate someone does mean that everything they did is wrong. take the blinkers off.

      Carson, haven’t read all of your posts but would like to hear your thoughts on the murdering scum that are the UDF, UVF etc. BTW good to see you have stopped using child abuse as part of your argument, only rabid scum would ever do that.

      • mick

        he gave a alternative view politely for that reason a was nice and polite back a did read the post and thought mi5 worker lol

    • Bill

      You didn,t read it did you ?

  4. david

    Excellent point confirming all the posts I have been making for days.
    Veritas Vincit.

    • Monti

      If only you were chocolate eh? Wiki man…..where would you be without google?

    • JimBhoy

      @David. All posts?…did u cover mine on debt paying to face painters. Raawooooal? ????? The truth cures/conquers FFS…It truly does to some… Pretty much why this site is open for business,,

  5. liftedinmoscow

    I can still remeber as a young boy an ITN news report commenting on the removal of a patrol boat from the Falklands to save money and how it would encourage the Argentine Government to believe the UK was no longer interested in the islands. This was a few months before the invasion. If ITN came to that conclusion then it is beyond belief that the Thatcher Government would not have been aware of the potential invasion and how they could be tacitily encouraging it. I don’t for a second believe they were surprised or unprepared.

    • david

      A distinguished politician resigned over the failure of intelligence. ( Carrington ) . Wouldnt get that now.
      They were unprepared.

    • david

      HMS Endurance was a converted icebreaker with minimum armament.
      Her removal was stupid but wrongly interpreted as weakness by the Junta.
      One nuclear submarine stationed there could have stopped the invasion in its tracks.
      However, there is no doubt the country was caught on the hop, even minimal preparations could have prevented it. Most of the politicians at the time had no idea where the Falklands were. Its usefulness as a coaling station had passed, and it was withering on the vine; its potential resources were not recognised at the time.
      Maybe Vegitius was correct ” Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum ”
      That should have been the motto in 1936.

      Once British blood has been shed , however, there is no possibility of any compromise which might have been available prior to the invasion.
      So Mrs Kirchner can bleat till doomsday.
      The disparity in capability, large then, is huge now.
      However the conflict was fought at extreme range , a logistical nightmare, and possibly only the United States and Russia could have equalled the feat ( The US would have done it easily with their carrier strength )
      The loss of the Atlantic Conveyor meant the loss of all the heavy transport helicopters save one.
      However, The Marines and Paras simply ” yomped ” to their objectives.
      Once the troops were ashore the outcome was never in doubt, save for logistical issues and the vulnerability of the fleet- 16 Harriers against an airforce of 246 which was within its own ranges.
      A close run thing due to these factors.

  6. Monti

    Bloody Sunday 1972….Brit paratroopers shoot dead people on a civil rights march….Oglach Farrell, Oglach McCann & Oglach savage….murdered by the SAS on the streets of Gibraltar, those 3 young guys were unarmed & the car they travelled in carried no explosives or weapons….this act by the Brit forces was condemned the world over……and you dare to call me a terrorist!

    • mick

      the Brits murdered without evidence or facts look at mendes the young Brazilian shoot at stockwell s London the butchers apronhas seen more blood than the whole worlds slaughter houses trigger happy butchers

    • Brother Louis

      Just to stir the pot a bit …. but what exactly were they doing in Gibraltar ? “Oglach” means what ? Tourist ? They were on an operation, they got sussed and taken out. They were playing the game and knew the rules of the game.

    • david

      I condemned Bloody Sunday.
      But obviously the 3 in Gibraltar were there to see the Rock and feed the Barbary Apes, poor wee souls.
      Usual bleating from cowards who like to dish it out to unarmed people but cry like babies when confronted.

    • iain

      I have a picture of myself standing beside that bullet scarred petrol pump in Gibraltar.
      Would you like to see it Monti?

  7. Thank you for the post – it fixed many of the blurry points I had about the war. All this idle chatter about Thatcher as a warmonger entirely misses the fact that Argentina attacked the UK. It really doesn’t get any more complicated than that. Her foreign policy in other areas was a mess, and on occasion totally disgraceful; but this war was not one of those occasions.

  8. HoudiniBhoy

    Come on Monti, The Gibraltar shootings by the SAS were on people who were scouting for an attack. Had the South Armagh Brigade caught three SAS doing the same thing on their patch the SAS would have met the same fate as the Provisionals did in Gibraltar. If this happened tomorrow not one country would condemn it, such are the times we live in, right or worng it’s the plain truth. You can’t call it a war when it suits and then murder when it suits, not when it’s combatants on active service.

    • Monti

      I don’t agree my man, Savage, McCann & Farrell could have been arrested & questioned, also their car was allowed through into Spain oh I mean Gibraltar, why? They were murdered Brit style,shoot to kill!

    • Monti

      So what’s your opinion on the events of Derry bloody Sunday? Is it ok to shoot at the marchers,were they fair game? If the Brits didn’t invade Ireland & wreck young catholic families lives, there wouldn’t have been an IRA campaign…….

      • HoudiniBhoy

        You’ll note that I said combatants on active service, somehow Bloody Sunday does not even come close to what happened in Gibraltar and neither instances should be compared in any way shape or form. Like I said, I’m sure the Brigade would not have arrested three SAS members in South Armagh had the roles been reversed. I am not condoning any actions I am merely pointing out that you seek rules of engagement from one side yet not the other. Savage McCann and Farrell were there on a operation, not a holiday in Spain, nor were they on a march for peace. How do you feel about three off-duty soldiers being lured to the outskirts of Belfast then executed, which effectively sparked off internment?

        Which invasion are you referring to, 1969? When the British Army were sent to Ireland to restore order and protect nationalist areas (which they didn’t) and were warmly welcomed, initially? Don’t confuse this with support for the British Army, far from it. I am just not convinced with the word “invasion”. Perhaps in 72 after the IRA set off something like 25 carbombs in the space of an hour, which resulted in the BA sending in thousands of troops to take IRA controlled areas in Free Derry and Belfast?

        • JimBhoy

          @HBhoy I get ya, i think you represent both sides and the futility of both, me too, just want to put a life out there for mine that doesn’t involve any form of terrorism. My 3 will not be in this country long though, going from bad to worse., that’s for sure..!!!!

  9. Monti

    Why the call for a state funeral for Thatcher?….surely it should be privatized…..Hope it’s burning down there Thatcher! P.S. Agent Whyte you are making this a very content week! HH!

  10. Rich753

    Fine post Craig, thanks.And to James C.too.

    I’d suggest that it is also a myth that Thatcher needed a ‘good war’ electorally since the Labour party at that time was doing it’s level best to make itself unelectable.

  11. mick

    thatcher was evil and hated all over the world

    • richboy

      Absolute tosh Mick. She was held in very high regard in the USA (read Obama and Nancy Regans comments) and in Germany and Eastern Europe for her stoicism during the Glasnost period and the fall of the Berlin wall.

      She was also very popular in many parts of the UK, hence her absolute trouncing of Labour in “83 where she won a 144 seat majority.

      As I said before, take the blinkers off son.

    • Brother Louis

      Simply not true at all. I live and work in Africa and can assure you that while many disliked her stance re the ANC they recognise that she was instrumental in securing a peaceful transition in Zimbabwe and was privately very hard on the De Klerk government – I urge you to look at former SA Foreign Minister Pik Botha’s (now, interestingly an ANC member) comments on her death and on her relationship with SA and her role in ending apartheid – you can find them easily on the net . If you are prepared to open your eyes and avoid the cheap slogans and lazy rhetoric you might get a surprise. Maggie was a hard and often cruel woman – but she was not always wicked and to demonise her as some fairy tale witch is just childish baloney.

    • david

      Actually, no.
      Not that I liked her.
      She is revered in America and many other places, and respected elsewhere.

  12. mick

    well thats sevco on death watch now the evidence need to prove the phoenix is here lol a wonder what BDO are making of it all and lord hodge

    • Brother Louis

      Yes – it can’t be long now. I said right from the beginning that Charles Green and his cohorts were like Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder in the Producers – cooking up a scam that required failure for it to be successful. Sadly for the poor Berrzzz they just couldn’t see it coming. Altogether now ‘Springtime for Hitler and Germany. Winter for Poland and France ….’

  13. arb urns

    two interesting posts craig and jamesc. eco is fairly shipping in the exocets today.

    MT served a purpose initially but pretty close to all that irks today was sown on her watch. A QPR PM at the end of the day in football terms. She also deprived the country of probably the ‘best pm it never had’ by ‘premiering’ well past her ‘best before date’……. Rust In Peace Iron Lady.

  14. mick

    hail hail liar liar pants on fire

  15. Raymilland

    Any planned back door exit by Green has been thwarted by a disgruntled ex employee of TRFC.

    The BBC refutes any involvement in the production of the above montage.

  16. alexander

    The truth is,a sledgehammer was used to crack a nut! unemployment had risen to well over a million and a half,Thatcher and her cronies were a certainty to be turfed out of government,,the Argentine conflict arose at just the right time for her,during the early negotiations when the Whole British Navy was deployed to the South Atlantic,there was NO WAY she wanted a settlement over the table,she declared her intentions early,much to the delight of the flag wavers. Thatcher Gave orders for a NUCLEAR powered submarine to sink the “Mighty Belgrano” with the loss of over 350 lives in one strike, more than half of all the Argentine casualty,s, About 250 British lives were also lost during the two and a half month conflict,all about a few wee islands with more sheep than people,Was it worth it? NO! but it was, to Thatcher and her Tory cheerleaders,as was proved, when she had a landsllde victory at the next election! That was an UNDECLARED WAR that was Unnecessary!

    • HoudiniBhoy

      Alexander, so are you suggesting Galtieri was prepared to sit round a table and discuss finer politics with Britain? The man who led a military junta responsible for rounding up children, torturing and killing them, amongst many other things?

      Whilst I would never celebrate the sinking of the Belgrano it was necessary and saved more British lives and stopped the Argentinian fleet from sailing again. It saved British lives, it saved Argentinian lives and it decimated the already low morale amongst the invading Argentinian force.

      You say that it wasn’t worth it. Have you been there? Have you witnessed the sentiments of the Falkland Islanders? There are more sheep in parts of Scotland than there are people would it lessen the need for it to be defended should a nation decide to invade it? I could not say with any conviction that the Falklands didn’t help the Conservative government but it was necessary and it effectively highlighted the Navy’s need to change how they built ships and how they trained their men, which has saved lives. The tragic loss of life from both navies was exacerbated by poor life saving equipment and training and the fact the ships wiring was coated in toxic rubber when it was alight.

      • ecojon

        @david

        We keep missing each other but I wonder if you have sourced the facts that you used regarding the banning figures for Celtic and Rangers?

  17. JimBhoy

    OK posted above thought it was worth re-stating as a lot i have read today is them and us sh!t, some good debate but tiresome politics, as most know i like the fitba and chico funny stuff so apologies if what i say offends, it was a reply to carson who i am not gonna describe in my words, each to their own opinion i guess and i respect him for that… Sorry for the the wee profanities me and my masonic pal shared a couple of Guinness tonight..Albeit he had a vodka too the light weight..

    JimBhoys rant !
    All fukin terrorists should be tried and if ultimately (unequivocally) convicted put away for life or their fukin organs harvested… Scum of the earth on all fronts..!!! Your father, mother, daughter, son could be killed by these fukin eejits… Get a fukin life/job do something good in your community… Wee lass round the corner from me lost her 18 yr old brother in Ireland few years back, she killed herself 4 yrs later, MY religion lost…. I take no sides, claim no religion just ffs let’s all get a grip..!!!!

    Some old dear died today, i think i am a christian I respect that… No reason for anyone not to think back the bad they envisage she did or the good, but that could have been done last week, last year, still remains an old lass just died tonight..

    @ Maggie (not Thatcher) I had something to reply to you earlier forgot catchya tomorrow, wee sick kid tonight so tad busy amongst rants, gotta be selective rants 🙂

  18. Excellent post Craig. Always a pleasure to be educated, and you pointed out a few things I was unaware of.
    As it was your intention to dispel a few myths, I would say you were successful.

  19. Budweiser

    Thanks craig – a good read.

  20. JimBhoy

    OK on subject, my history teacher way back God rest his soul, I say that cos he was really old (looking) when i was at school mentioned to me…. His Phrase… ‘A little victorious war’, anyone care to suggest what that was in reference to and one other clue they got fukd…????

    My point was i saw then how a war can unite, talk to Michael Moore how a war can benefit, ammunitions, catering etc for the troops often thru companies that key politicians and backers are major shareholders in…

    Most politicians making sure their siblings do not join the war..

    What a fukd, skewed world we live in…

    Politicians make the war and benefit, good honest men die…. Not first time I have said that..

  21. JimBhoy

    Chico racist, pants on fire:::: “Everything i have said has been contradicted, but nothing has been confirmed and nothing proven!”
    Where do you start…!

  22. Black Jack

    If factually correct, it’s an excellent post Craig. I’m no Thatcherite but I have always recognised that for all her sins, she had no choice but to act as she did regarding the Falklands. You hear a lot of daft lefty nonsense sometimes…it was about oil…it was about electoral gain…it was about strategic vantage. To quote the old witch herself; No, No. No. The Falklands war was about the defence of democracy.

  23. Fisiani

    Some posters here and elsewhere are so blinded by their visceral hatred of Baroness Thatcher that they respond to the label rather than to the reality. This post contains useful information that has changed my viewpoint regarding the reasons and the wisdom of sinking the Belgrano.
    People forget how low Britain had sunk by 1979. It was widely known as the sick man of Europe.
    Thatcher won three general elections. She was therefore the preferred choice of the majority of British voters. None of her reforms were reversed. Her policies produced New Labour which continued her policies. History will show her to be the most influential PM of the 20th Century. Whether her reforms saved Great Britain or merely delayed the impact with the economic iceberg will be known in the next decade. In my opinion Great Britain will continue to decline and that is why I left 25 years ago.

  24. SairFecht

    Britain had the opportunity to invest in a new airfield some two or three years leading up to the Falklands conflict, and until the sabre-rattling of the Junta had been quite prepared to leave the Falkland Islanders to their likely fate – absorption by Argentina – I remember reading this in an article in a German magazine when I lived there in 1981 – which I don’t now have to hand – but remember the atricle generally as being about the plight of the lost and forgotten islanders. Guess they hadn’t covered the angle of the oil reserves in the South Atlantic. What I’ll never forget was Thatcher’s revelling in that war and showing not a hint of humanity for thise who fell – and having the distinct impression of her glorying in it – to the happy jingoistic triumphant cheers of the Murdoch press – a vile, despicable human being, I can’t find it in me to celebrate her passing – but this is certainly a human being I’ll remember with very little other than contempt, for the handling of the Falklands and for what she did to the town I left in 1979 – where people used to (and possibly still do) joke that she did more damage than the bombing raids of the Luftwaffe in 1941. I wonder if cardboard city exists where she is now? Or if she’s already privatising our Father’s many mansions?

  25. ecojon

    @Craig

    Nice piece of deflection! My post which was used by Paul as a Guest Post had only one relevant reference to the Falklands War which was: ‘As to the Falklands – anyone with a crumb of intelligence knows that this could have been dealt with through diplomacy but she needed a ‘good’ war to ensure electoral survival. Many brave soldiers, from both sides, lost their lives far from home in a war that should never have happened’.

    There was another reference in an answering post I made to a poster responding to my Guest Post which stated: “And as to an honest fight – don’t make me laugh – a limping, worn-out Belgrano presenting no immediate dangers torpedoed by a state of the art submarine. And the French colluding with Argentina over the Exocet missiles which wrought havoc on our pathetically under-defended ships – there was nothing honest about the bloody carnage which followed and could have been avoided.”

    There is nothing in any of these statements that I would wish to retract and I have no intention of going through Craig’s point by point defence of the sinking of the Belgrano as my Guest Post was aimed mainly at the effect Thatcher’s warped economic vision had inflicted on UK mining communities.

    I will, however, make some general comments in a broader context of the Falklands War although I am all too well aware of the skilled dissembling that the MOD is capable of in keeping its secrets and the myths that were hurriedly spun by them and senior politicians over the Belgrano which – and I clearly stated this – ‘presented no immediate dangers’ to British forces. No matter Craig’s defence of the UK myths that was the actual position at the time the almost 50 year old cruiser was sunk.

    Approx a year prior to the Argentinian invasion Thatcher sent a signal to the world that she didn’t intend to defend the Falklands by removing the ‘guard’ ship HMS Endurance. There was also the “John Nott’s Navy Cuts” of the early 80s which reinforced the feeling Britain wouldn’t or couldn’t defend the Falklands. That was an irresistible lure for a vicious dictator facing internal pressures and is as old as time – deflect from dissent at home with a successful foreign war/adventure. Indeed Mrs Thatcher also employed it in the Falklands.

    She reacted to the Falklands Invasion primarily because it was an affront to Britain’s world standing in the world and her personal dignity as the only female at the international top table. I truly believe that Thatcher didn’t give a fig about the Falkland Islanders and their wishes but they were handy backdrops for her jingoism and desperate need not to be seen to back down which would IMO spelt electoral disaster.

    I often wonder if we had bitten the bullet back then and accepted that our world role truly was diminished and cut our military cloth to suit how many lives we would have saved in Iraq and Afghanistan and other military adventures. If all that spending had been put into building the economy rather than serving as little more than a US poodle for a one-way ‘special relationship’.

    With the current Cameron cuts and possible end of our nuclear deterrent we seem to be have turned the clock back to the 1980s in a sense and our role I anticipate will decline no matter who is in power despite Thatcher’s famous statement following the sinking: “We have ceased to be a nation in retreat.” In reality we didn’t and have been carrying out a slow retreat ever since on most battle fronts especially in the most important one of the economy.

    But we mustn’t forget that the official UK Franks Report into the Falklands published the year after the Argentinian invasion concluded that it “could not have been foreseen”. Well since it’s official it must be right! WRONG!

    And how do we know it was WRONG – through previously secret documents released to the National Archives – in December 2011.

    In May 1981 Admiral Leach – The First Sea Lord – sent the prime minister a forthright note regretting that she was too busy to see him and begging that she spend “two minutes” reading his letter. In it he stated: “The [defence cuts programme] has been devised ad hoc in two months , , , It has neither been validated nor studied in depth. No alternative options have been considered.

    “It has all been done in a rush. Such unbalanced devastation of our overall defence capability is unprecedented; it must cause serious doubts concerning US reactions in the context of your own conventional assurance and successful negotiation of the Trident project so important to our country.

    “We are on the brink of a historic decision. War seldom takes the expected form and a strong maritime capability provides flexibility for the unforeseen. If you erode it to the extent envisaged I believe you will undesirably foreclose your future options and prejudice our national security.”

    His note was copied to the defence secretary, John Nott, who also received warnings from Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington about the risks of withdrawing the icebreaker HMS Endurance.

    Carrington said the vessel “plays a vital role in both political and defence terms in the Falkland Islands, [its] dependencies and Antarctica … Any reductions would be interpreted by both the islanders and the Argentines as a reduction in our commitment to the islands and in our willingness to defend them.”

    Nott sent the prime minister a “secret and personal” note on 17 June 1981 before a meeting on defence cuts which stated: “The package which cabinet will consider is the absolute limit that the party will stand and I still have to persuade the Americans this weekend that our naval reductions should not be vigorously opposed … or Trident called into question.” Amazing all the things going on behind the scenes in secret and how much was riding on the Americans and their provision of Trident and how involved they were in British internal economic affairs.

    In the aftermath of the Argentinian invasion, both Nott and Carrington offered their resignations. Carrington’s was accepted. Nott stayed on but left office in 1983. So Thtacher had a good war but not so Nott and Carrington.

    Part of the dispatch, marked “secret”, is still so sensitive that one paragraph is redacted “under a 40 years freedom of information exemption”. I wonder what myth that is still shielding? And I really do wonder Craig how many of the so-called myths you claim to have debunked are hot-air generated by the Government propaganda machine to feed cake to a hungry populace drunk on the power of being Great once again. Pity about all the Argentinian and British lives that were an essential part of the ingredients for the Thatcher jingoism and steely determination that she would have her war after personally actually creating the conditions for it.

    Craig states that there was no hope of a diplomatic solution and that can be the case where such a solution isn’t desired by the participants and that certainly applied IMO to Thatcher and probably to Galtieri as well.

    But for perspective it is often useful to step outside our own navel-gazing and look to another external and if possible more independent view. In that regard it’s worth looking at the comments of US Secretary of State Alexander Haig who worked tirelessly to achieve a diplomatic settlement
    and stated: “The mixture of history, passion, miscalculation, national pride, and personal egotism that produced a ‘little’ war that everyone knew was senseless and avoidable also contains the ingredients for a much larger conflict.”

    Now Craig had a cheap shot at me when he questioned whether I was: ‘better qualified to judge than two professional submariners’. I would answer the point by stating that many professional submariners and other well-qualified combatants make absolutely shockingly bad decisions in combat situations for a variety of factors ranging from stress to the ‘fog of war’. So to return the cheap shot I wonder if Craig thinks he is better qualified on the diplomatic front than Haig.

    I trust Craig and others will excuse me for not basing my response on the planning and plotting going on in the control room of the Conqueror or Norwood – these were irrelevant IMO because Thatcher had spoken, knew what she wanted and that was war. I truly wonder what other ‘secrets’ will surface over the years which might give us a much fuller picture of what this squalid and sordid adventure was all about.

    For those who want to look at the myths from an Argentinian and others viewpoint I would recommend: http://belgranoinquiry.com/article-archive/seven-lies

    I give the health warning that it is from another perspective as was the minority House of Commons report and should be viewed in that light. But white hair has taught me that very few things in life are all wrong or all write. They are usually a mixture and the nearer they are to the centre of power and Government then the harder it is to separate truth and myth.

  26. iain

    Total and complete reaming of Eco by our newest hero Craig.

    Brilliant stuff.

    • ecojon

      @iain

      Triumphalism will always get you into trouble.

      At least Craig has the ability to present a case – it might be one I don’t agree with and has little to do with my original post but worthy of response.

      You on the other hand are incapable of saying anything of any worth that merits a response so I will leave you to your delusions.

  27. George COllins

    Of course, governments of the world. and their military apologists, don’t have “records” showing these truths, do they. Nor do they have spinmeisters talking pish and counterpish.

    When Israel attacks Palestine unprovoked, to such an extent that people have to take notice, you’ll see Obam saying “We’re in dialogue with our ally to ascertain what happened; we condone any excess of violence.”

    Camera then shows spokesperson for Obama saying “The President is worried by events in region.”

    Then cut back to the studio where correspondent says “Obama is said to be incandescent with rage at the Israeli’s breaking of the ceasefire, but doesn’t want toupset their major ally in the region.”

    • George COllins

      The truth?

      The US and Israel are 100% in step with each other; killing’s their business and business is good.

      Argentina received quite a package after the war – by coincidence of course.

  28. SairFecht

    Let’s not forget Thatcher’s cosying up to a murdering dictator in the shape of Pinochet to use Chilean air space and facilities for the Falklands campaign – she would later praise him and lobby against his political trial – the man responsible for the disappearance and murder of political opponets – who used the National Stadium in Santiago as a mass torture and death camp – a real bosom buddy for the late Mrs T.

  29. Monti

    “There is no such thing as society”- Margaret Thatcher 1988

    “There is no such thing as Margaret Thatcher”- society 2013!

  30. the belgrano: obviously the real answer is that thatcher was protecting something else in the area, either of our own or belonging to our friends.

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