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the falklands war - 20 years on


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In the Falklands war, 255 British soldiers were killed in action; 264 who fought have since committed suicide.

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PPU coffin arrested at an anti-Falklands demonstration in London May 23 1982. Amongst the dead the three Falklands women killed are rarely mentioned. Even rarer is it noted that they were killed by British troops - friendly fire presumablyI


Some participants in the Falklands war were recently asked if they thought it was 'worth it'. Some of the replies reveal conflicts of other kinds, conscious and otherwise.

'No war is ever worth it...Retrospectively the answer to whether it was worth it has to be yes.' (UK Defence Secretary)

'It was worth it for Mrs Thatcher and the arms trade. It certainly wasn't for the 250 soldiers who've committed suicide since they returned. As for me, the experience has made me a lifelong opponent of war.' (able seaman)

'It was a vital time to confront would-be bullies and dictators. It was the lesser of two evils. There are some people who unfortunately try to influence others by being physically violent to them; the only answer, on many occasions, is physical violence in return.' (Task Force psychiatrist)

'I was proud to do my duty, which was to ensure that no wounded soldier, sailor or airman (both British and Argentinian) died of his wounds.' (Marines senior medical officer)

'Now we're a vibrant society, and modern in a way that we weren't before the conflict. The support we were given afterwards to develop conservation areas has generated money and the development of tourism. The conflict was worth it.' (Falklands resident)

'I lost 90 men, but a great deal of good came from this conflict. It overthrew an unpleasant regime who had killed several thousand people who disagreed with them. And it made the Soviets sit up.' (Commando brigadier)

'We were devastated by my brother's death. He was so young and had so much to live for. I think the war was worth it. It did a good thing for British morale. I think my brother would have thought it worth it, too. He was a soldier through and through - it was his life.' (brother of Royal Engineers corporal killed in action)

'It was very sad we had to go to war. This conflict should have been solved by the politicians through negotiation. The military had been warning them for years that it shouldn't have to become a military operation. In the end it was worth it because we were preserving freedom for British people. A British sailor doesn't fight well unless he believes in the cause.' (Captain of HMS Coventry)

'It was very distressing to see all the Argentinian conscripts in such a downtrodden state, shambling past with no boots on and pushing wheelbarrows containing wounded comrades. It was a tragedy for them. But there's no question about whether the war was worth it - you can't take other people's property, that's all there is to it.' (Falklands resident)

'We were very excited to go, with people cheering us as if we were going to the World Cup. Was it worth it? I can only say, it depends. What are your values? How much is a human life worth? That little piece of rock isn't worth a drop of blood from anyone. I wish that the world was a different place.' (Argentinian infantryman)




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