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Should Baroness Thatcher be tried as a war criminal?

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Showing 1-25 of 183 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Dec 2009 22:37:17 GMT
Liammons says:
Having read Mr Hendersons posting where he criticised the sinking of the Belgrano during the Falklands War, i am just wondering is it now a concensus that this was not a justified battle in a war to protect the lives of British subjects?

Posted on 10 Dec 2009 23:12:20 GMT
Liammons says:
Also, i thought it gave a more interesting spin to a debate on the Falklands War than a 'was the war a good idea title', because a negative respone to that question almost necessitates a trial for the Iron Lady.

Posted on 10 Dec 2009 23:27:46 GMT
Forget Baroness Thatcher, I think we should put Tony Blair and associates on public trial.

Put all this reasons for going into war against Iraq and Afghanistan to public debate and let us (the public) decide what is punishment should be.

Doing this will teach future leaders not to take the public for a ride.

Posted on 11 Dec 2009 00:01:16 GMT
Oh please, tell us more. This is such pertient, informed analysis. It really strikes a chord with me, all of your stuff does. You know what, I'm going out on a limb here, but maybe you guys should get together start a party and publish a manifesto. That would be great. God knows 'the people' need better leadership right? Maybe they even need to be told they need better leadership, maybe even told what to think. Why not start a newspaper, or launch a campaign of spin on the amazon forums, agenda setting that sort of thing? Because thats what politics is about. Its easy...

You guys are really boring.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Dec 2009 00:13:20 GMT
Liammons says:
I quite agree, the Falklands had one major component both Iraq and Afganistan lacked..... a foreign agressor.

what a wonderful post. Its very easy to be a nay sayer. try coming up with a few ideas and opinions of your own before you knock everyone elses.

Posted on 11 Dec 2009 01:10:39 GMT
Great is entitled to his opinion, but what a boring opinion indeed. Coming up with ideas takes allot of work, research, understanding, debate, analysis which I'm afraid some people just do not have.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Dec 2009 02:51:42 GMT
Last edited by the author on 11 Dec 2009 02:53:17 GMT
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Posted on 11 Dec 2009 06:03:26 GMT
ezpz says:
I dont understand that if two nations are at war, and one nation has a battleship in the vicinity but is heading away from the battle, why it isnt a target.

If said ship was nowhere near the battle, then it is not a target, but this was wartime, and the ship was a credible threat.

Posted on 11 Dec 2009 07:04:37 GMT
Withnail says:
Ok - If you want to discuss the Afghan and Iraqi invasions, don't complain about a discussion about the Falklands, start a new thread.

Now... The ARA General Belgrano. Britain set a 200 mile exclusion zone around the Falklands. They said that any ship inside the exclusion zone would be targetted. The Belgrano was outside the zone, and actually sailing away. Why was it sailing away? There is evidence to suggest that there was a Peru lead plan for a peaceful solution to the stand off, although Britain says they didn't see the offer until the day after the sinking.

The British changed the rules of engagement without telling anyone in order to allow HMS Conqueror to sink the ship.

Once the Belgrano had been sunk the Jaw Jaw was over, the only solution was War War.

Galtieri was no angel (to put it lightly), and any reading of Thatcher and Britain in general would have indicated to him that the invasion of Falklands would have lead to a military response. However, my personal opinion is that the Falklands were of no strategic importance, there were plenty of other places of strategic importance that Britain didn't defend. The main differences between The Falklands and say Kenya, Belize and Fiji is that firstly the Falkland Islanders weren't Johnny Foreigners they were people of British descent, and secondly there was the Thatcher factor.

The Iron Lady was forged in this engagement. It was her war, and therefore she should share reponsibility with Galtieri. It was not Britain's finest hour - it was a useless waste of life.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Dec 2009 09:18:47 GMT
Galtieri invaded
Would this have been a green light to other such leaders...possibly triggering a response from the UN (laugh).
That someone can equate facist foreign policy to the British Government defending people of British decent means we truly live in a democratic state.
There are no finest hours' involved with aggression and death.
The Falklands war was a blunder brought about by arrogance and ommission.
Our present conflicts are here by commission. Big difference.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Dec 2009 20:49:58 GMT
Liammons says:
Mr Henderson,
I fully agree that there were a great many places Britian should have defended proir to the Falklands that were of much more value, but that doesn't make it wrong to finally make a stand.

This Peru led plan, why not enlighten the world as to what it was. I don't think it ended with Argentina gone and the population of the Falklands back to normal now did it? For once might was right, if you send your troops near a battle zone, exclusion zone or no, i think its a rather aggressive action. Or are you going to try to argue they were lost??

Posted on 11 Dec 2009 20:57:01 GMT
Excalibur says:
No; she should be congratulated on her willingness to destroy Britain's enemy. The sinking of the Belgrano was the right thing to do. Britain and Argentina were at war, the Belgrano was an Argentine warship. Therefore it was right to sink her from a British perspective since it undoubtedly represented a threat to the British armed forces. Exclusion zones are neither here nor there, Britain was free at any time to rescind any exclusion zone it had imposed on itself.

"The British changed the rules of engagement without telling anyone in order to allow HMS Conqueror to sink the ship."

Complete and utter rubbish. On 23 April the British government told the Argentine government through the Swiss that though there was an exclusion zone it did not hinder the British government's right to attack Argentine ships anywhere.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Dec 2009 21:03:48 GMT
ElZed says:
Margaret Thatcher as a war criminal no way. Tony Blair now thats a different matter.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Dec 2009 22:35:25 GMT
Withnail says:

This was the Peruvian proposal - note the right of the Falkland Islanders for self determination.

Posted on 12 Dec 2009 05:02:36 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Dec 2009 05:16:19 GMT
maxi says:
Never read such a preposterous nor outrageous proposition in my life. Where do these people get their ideas from ?
Margaret Thatcher and her government warned Argentina to pull out in ever stronger tones internationally whilst the Task Force was being prepared. The Argentinians believed brinkmanship would allow them to maintain the Falklands. The two countries were at war. As always, as is the case with any commander, one of their prime responsibilities is to protect the lives of her own troops commensurate with achieving success of the mission. All that was considered necessary to protect British troops was carried out resulting in a short,sharp war with a clear victory and minimal loss of British lives.Game,set and match.That's war and the result was clear and decisive.
If other wars followed this format, this and other countries wouldn't be locked in interminable vacillating and politicised wars that cost thousands of lives,billions of pounds,which go on for years and produce dubious results.
In my mind her leadership was excellent. Measured,proportionate and efficient.
Go peddle your dissenting voice elsewhere.

Posted on 12 Dec 2009 09:43:16 GMT
Darren says:
I find some of the defences of Thatcher simplistic, uninformed babblings of right wingers.

The real issue is that Thatcher ignored all the information provided to her in the year prior to the Falklands war by the military inteligence in the area, and then went on to actively engineer the war by pulling out Bristish forces from the area as an open invite to the Argentinians to invade, having been advised and warned in advance that if she did that the Falklands would certainly be invaded. Make no mistake, the war could have been avoided, and she did the opposite and suceeded in making it happen. That's what makes her a war criminal.

Was it a tragedy - of course it was. But Thatcher is the person responsible for that, as she engineeded the war in order to boost her flagging popularity and try to win an election at home. She did not care about loss of life on either side of the war, or even about the Falkland Islanders - all she wanted was good PR for the "Iron Lady", so she wanted a small war she was sure she could win. She probably smiled as british tropps were injured or died, imagining the jingoistic headlines it would generate in the tabloid press.

I think British troops deserved better than to made to fight in an engineered war in order to help an evil, selfish person like Thatcher try to cling onto power.

Posted on 13 Dec 2009 02:59:48 GMT
Last edited by the author on 15 Dec 2009 22:48:15 GMT
P says:
The actions of the Thatcher government most probably precipitated the war, but that was, I think, incompetence, not conspiracy, with a touch of meddling.

The Foreign Office had wanted to get rid of the Falklands for years - they were an unproductive embarrassment. The Thatcher government was cutting public expenditure left, right and centre, and the few light vessels stationed off the Falklands looked like an easy target. I believe that the Cabinet was warned that withdrawing them might seem like giving a green light for an Argentine invasion, but Thatcher and Co were hot on the path of every bit of saving they could find, and so they refused to believe "doom mongers" from the Admiralty or the Intelligence services.

So they did something stupid and counter-productive in pursuit of their own agenda. Governments have been doing that since before the words, "You are worrying unnecessarily," were first penned. Naturally the cost of a war considerably outweighed the "savings" made, but that's the way with bad decisions.

So the Argentine invaded and then Thatcher decided to take us to war (though the government called it, "the Falklands Conflict" at the time - it only became a war once we had won it), but the crucial point is that Argentina did send troops to the islands and declared that they now had control of the islands. Even if there had been some Machiavellian trap, it was the decision of the government of Argentina to send an invasion force. Nobody forced them. Even if they thought that Britain had finally lost all interest in the islands, it was still a willed act of aggression by a sovereign power.

The Argentine government was a bunch of nasty-minded military men - all of whom outranked Thatcher in the evil and selfish mode. Ask the Argentinian people if you don't believe me. What they were NOT is bunch of simple-minded children manipulated by the superior cunning of the British government. They were fully in control of their own actions, and wanted a quick propaganda victory to shore up their increasingly precarious position at home.

They were also being egged on by Jeanne Kirkpatrick, the US ambassador to the UN, who had a major hate against Britain. Someone more sober (Gen Haig, I think) was sent by the US government to Argentina to try to cool everything down a bit. He said later that he had warned the Junta, "Invade and Britain will fight. And when Britain fights, she will win." They replied that Britain was now a toothless has-been, and no longer had the courage to fight, and that if they did, well, Argentina was a match for Britain, especially at that distance. Haig, it turns out was a better judge than they were.

There is absolutely no case to answer there in legal or, IMO, moral grounds. The only crime by the Thatcher government on this issue was stupidity and it is lucky for most of us that an act of stupidity is not in itself criminal.

Then there is the matter of the Exclusion Zone. The purpose of an exclusion zone in time of war is to warn *non-combatant* nations and civilians to keep out - it says, "Any ship, repeat ANY ship, or aircraft, found within that exclusion zone may be regarded as a threat, and be treated as a legitimate target without further warning." Any ship of a *neutral or friendly* power found outside that zone can expect either to be ignored or at the worst asked to leave the area.

It makes absolutely no guarantee that warships belonging the enemy power will be safe so long as they hover just outside the Exclusion Zone. The Belgrano, wherever it was and wherever it was going, was a legitimate target whilst we were at war. It has been judged in other armed conflicts that the bombing of enemy cities and civilian targets is a legitimate tactic in time of war and there were no civilians involved in this instance.

The morality of firing at someone who does not present an immediate threat, indeed the morality of making war at all, is another issue entirely. There are some who say that if plausible peace initiatives are under way, then you should confine your military efforts to a purely defensive role. I do not think very many military people would agree that you should let the enemy take a major weapon back home so that it can be mended, re-fuelled and made ready to transport another lot of men back to the front, when you can take that weapon out so that it poses no more danger to you.

The grounds for a real trial for war crimes are things like the murder of civilians, the mistreatment of prisoners of war, wanton destruction of enemy towns and cities, the use of enemy civilians as slave labour, torture, rape and, of course, genocide.

It is possible to say that Thatcher could have, and therefore should have, prevented that war. Failing to stop your enemy doing something stupid, is in NO WAY a war crime.

Posted on 13 Dec 2009 17:17:54 GMT
P V Sutton you are correct. It makes me sick to read some of the pathetic left leaning rubbish that people like Darren and Henderson are spouting. It has nothing to do with the validity of the Falklands war and everything to do with hatred for Margaret Thatcher. The situation in the Falklands was simple, Argentina invaded British Sovereign teritory and the residents of the Falklands wanted the Argentinian invaders gone. Britains only option was to remove the invaders and that is exactly what Thatcher did. The only people responsible for the war were the Argentinian junta and thats it, no one else. While war is never a good thing, it can sometimes be just if it is the only option available, the Falklands was an entirely just war when compared to what our country has been dragged into by the war criminal Blair in Iraq. As for the Belgrano, Sutton you are right again, when you are at war with another country you can and should attack them in any location you like. The objective is to defeat them as quickly as possible with as little loss of life on your own side as possible. The Belgrano had the firepower to present a threat to the British Fleet, what would idiots like Darren and Henderson be saying now if Thatcher had let the Belgrano go and a few days later the ship had managed to launch an attack and sink a British Aircraft carrier with her exocets? We had a chance to sink that ship, we took it, right decision end of.

Posted on 13 Dec 2009 17:47:44 GMT
P. Higgins says:
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Posted on 13 Dec 2009 22:14:29 GMT
I think you will find that Scargill is the traitor, after all he is the one who met with Colonel Gaddaffi to ask for funding so he could start a communist revolution in Britain.

Posted on 13 Dec 2009 22:21:57 GMT
M. Dowden says:
How can Baroness Thatcher be described as a war criminal? The Falkland Islands and those others that surround it belong to us. We have sovereignty over them, and so it was our bounden duty to protect the Queen's subjects. And unlike the war in the Middle East, this war did affect our fellow man, it was not something that ultimately came down to who owns the oil. I know there are lots of issues people have had with Margaret Thatcher over the years, but this definitely isn't one of them.

Posted on 14 Dec 2009 02:48:42 GMT
D. Huntley says:
she should be tried (and found guilty) of being a war criminal.
the damage this lunatic visited on the poor of the UK is still very much on display today. and should be considered for all intents and purposes as a 'war'. utterly one sided with insidious tactics that have since become institutionalised.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Dec 2009 03:13:30 GMT
D. Huntley says:
instead we had a neo lib/con far right revolution that has cost the country the very shirt off of its back. bravo.
Scargill was attempting to maintain some voice for the working people (the vast majority by the way) of the UK in the face of this revolution. The fact that he needed to go offshore in an attempt for it be funded shows how utterly myopic (and so easily lead) the British have become.
All the best for the season. i hope that the coming massive cutbacks in public spending do not hit you and yours too hard. that's not sarcasm by the way.

Posted on 14 Dec 2009 03:20:48 GMT
D. Huntley says:
and please don't try and give me the 'Brown overspent' observation. 'New' Labour are no more 'left' than Ronny 'the cowboy' Reagan or George 'the dunce' Bush.
the whole concept of greed having some magic power to balance society and its resources was gut churningly contrary to decent people 30 years ago, now it's idiocy to even contemplate by all but the weakest minds money can buy.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Dec 2009 03:39:37 GMT
P. Higgins says:
And what a pity he didn't. It couldn't be any worse than the closet Tories currently screwing ordinary folk. What I can never understand is why so many working people, and I make the assumption most of are such, can possibly support plutocracy and the politics of the wealthy. It certainly can't be just rich landowners voting Tory- there aren't enough of them.
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Initial post:  10 Dec 2009
Latest post:  7 May 2013

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