Are the Falklands Worth It?
This time 30 years ago I along with thousands of others were ordered to “Travel South” as it was put to us at the time to recover the Falkland Islands from some cheeky scrap merchants who had landed on St Georgia.
It was only because Shackleton is one of my heroes that I had any idea where St Georgia was it being the place he landed after sailing across thousands of miles of some of the roughest seas in the world in an open boat to get help.
The media and the public with only a small number of detractors wished us well without I’m sure, just like those of us from all of the services knowing fully the extent of the difficulty and dangers that taking back the islands would bring.
History shows that the operation which lasted only 74 days was a success and the rights of the Falkland Islanders to the self-determination have been upheld.
The latest posturing by Argentina’s president Fernandez is simply that because since the defeat in 1982 Argentina has almost entirely demilitarised and would be unable to mount a new invasion which is perhaps just as well because we couldn’t mount a task force on the scale we did to retake the islands.
It remains commendable that all political parties support the Falklands rights to self-determination and the maintenance of a permanent military presence around the Falklands to deter any thoughts of an invasion.
It is also right at this time to remember those who died during the conflict, but we should also remember those who lost friends and have lived with their experiences for the past 30 years and whose lives it changed, many unfortunately for the worst.
The problem associated with going into a full-scale conflict were not as well documented in 1982 as now but many of us had served in Northern Island and so had some experience of the psychological needs of entering a conflict area.
The problems associated with post conflict issues suffered by young men and women who currently serve on the front line are now well documented but they are still not supported as well as they should be when the time for them to leave and return to a “normal civilian” life arrives.
Records show that a large number of those “Falklands Heroes” have suffered in the past 30 years and continue to suffer as they get older.
So was the Falklands worth it?
I can’t and wouldn’t pretend to speak for everyone who as we say “went south”, but of course it was worth it.
It was worth it if we really believe in freedom both of the individual and the people’s right to decide how they want to be governed.
It is just a shame that to deliver such freedoms young people have to take up arms on both sides because Governments can’t agree a way forward to resolve disputes.
Which is why whilst remembering those who from the UK died and survived we should also remember those Argentinian servicemen who also died and suffered as a result of the conflict.