Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Exactly 30 years ago today I wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post titled "We Have Good Reason to Hate the Brits" in a vain attempt to provide a counterweight to American Anglophilia about the Malvinas Islands.
But nothing is as easy as you think. I went through a meeting with intelligence agents, deaf and hostile debates in the media and even threats sotto voce. The best response was that of a cousin. "The nationalist in you came out," she wrote me.
And that's what I believe happened to many Argentines on April 2nd this year. Suddenly they spoke of the "heroes" of 1982. Few remembered that the Argentine armed forces had only been trained to suppress unarmed civilians.
The defeat by one of the NATO powers was only a matter of time. The soldiers sent to the "war" by the Argentine generals who had no experience of war, were cannon fodder, not heroes. Thirty years after the events there has to be a way to lower the emotional volume that the Buenos Aires government is stoking for plainly demagogic reasons.
The Argentine claim to the islands is no more legitimate than the Zionist claim to Palestine. Possession is nine-tenths of the law and the Argentines have not held the islands for nearly 180 years, just as Palestine was not a Jewish State since before Alexander the Great.
And frankly, what can Argentina give the Falkland kelpers?
Yes, as I wrote in 1982, the British took from Argentina (and Ireland, India, Anglophone Africa, etc.) much more than the Falklands. This is why they have earned the instinctive antipathy of most Argentines. But in Argentina and between Argentines there are fundamental problems of higher priority.
Ultimately, the war 30 years ago yielded the only beneficial result Argentina could expect: to get rid of the cowards in uniform who were strangling their country.