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Friday, October 3, 2014

The Final Cut (Album Analysis) And An Attempt To understand The Falklands War




I have to say this - The Final Cut is a jewel,an invaluable jewel of all the treasures Pink Floyd has given us.To people like us,who love Social Sciences,are associated intimately with an ideology and love for Rock Music - The Final Cut has to be incredible.I remember the time I had first listened to The Final Cut (song) and The Gunner's Dream, and went through the lyrics of a few other songs,I knew I had fallen for the album.The Falklands War appealed for criticism and what I love about the album is there is no shame of a speck of diplomacy anywhere.The lyrics are clear,bold and wildly criticising at some places.I am listening to 'Southampton Dock' right now and I can't express in words how beautiful the song is.There has been a lot of music within dramas till date but drama within music is a totally new,innovative and very,very well thought and well performed concept.I am really impressed with the album and I do not want to give scores while reviewing again since in almost every song,the concept,the philosophy and the political perspective that undermines everything else.Moreover,if I will have to give scores,I will be giving a full score to every song in the album.
The songs I am especially in love with right now are - 'Southampton Dock','The Hero's Return' and 'Your Possible Pasts'.The lyrics are beautiful,brave and bold.The tune at some point turns like an approaching evening across a horizon - the lyrics and the melody creates such a feeling that the imagery can be imagined nicely.The hard and symphonic genres are sung extremely well by Roger Waters.Though I am not typically a fan of his voice,he has sung the songs well enough.I am simply in realm of the album and dazed by how fabulous it is! Every Rock Fan out there,you have to listen to this.I will review every song of the album individually in the blog soon.But before we venture into the more serious part of the post,I want everyone of you to listen to a beautiful song from the album -  'Southampton Dock' ,which you can listen to here (If you want to download the song,right click on the embedded track and choose 'Save Video As'.You will get it downloaded as a song,not a video).

The Final Cut Album Cover

I would have known the drudgery of The Conservative Party and Margaret Thatcher but would not have read about The Falklands War issue if I had not listened to this album.Coming to the war,we will first see why it started,read and go through the explanation of the economic impact of the casualties that took place and what was 'Maggie's' role in the war.

WHY DID THE WAR START?

In the period leading up to the war – and, in particular, following the transfer of power between the military dictators General Jorge Rafael Videla and General Roberto Eduardo Viola late in March 1981 – Argentina had been in the midst of a devastating economic stagnation and large-scale civil unrest against the military junta that had been governing the country since 1976. In December 1981 there was a further change in the Argentine military regime bringing to office a new junta headed by General Leopoldo Galtieri (acting president), Brigadier Basilio Lami Dozo and Admiral Jorge Anaya. Anaya was the main architect and supporter of a military solution for the long-standing claim over the islands,calculating that the United Kingdom would never respond militarily.Britain was initially taken by surprise by the Argentine attack on the South Atlantic islands, despite repeated warnings by Royal Navy captain Nicholas Barker and others. Barker believed that Defence Secretary John Nott's 1981 review (in which Nott described plans to withdraw the Endurance, Britain's only naval presence in the South Atlantic) sent a signal to the Argentines that Britain was unwilling, and would soon be unable, to defend its territories and subjects in the Falklands.


The British Recapturing Of The Islands

THE INITIAL REACTIONS

On 2 April 1982, Argentine forces mounted amphibious landings of the Falkland Islands, following the civilian occupation of South Georgia on 19 March, before the Falklands War began. The invasion met a nominal defence organised by the Falkland Islands' Governor Sir Rex Hunt, giving command to Major Mike Norman of the Royal Marines. Events included the landing of Lieutenant Commander Guillermo Sanchez-Sabarots' Amphibious Commandos Group, the attack on Moody Brook barracks, the engagement between the troops of Hugo Santillan and Bill Trollope at Stanley, and the final engagement and surrender at Government House.
Word of the invasion first reached Britain from Argentine sources.A Ministry of Defence operative in London had a short telex conversation with Governor Hunt's telex operator, who confirmed that Argentines were on the island and in control. Later that day, BBC journalist Laurie Margolis was able to speak with an islander at Goose Green via amateur radio, who confirmed the presence of a large Argentine fleet and that Argentine forces had taken control of the island.Operation Corporate was the codename given to the British military operations in the Falklands War. The commander of task force operations was Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse. Operations lasted from 1 April 1982 to 20 June 1982. The British undertook a series of military operations as a means of recapturing the Falklands from Argentine occupation. The British government had taken action prior to the 2 April invasion. In response to events on South Georgia the submarines HMS Splendid and HMS Spartan were ordered to sail south on 29 March, whilst the stores ship Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Fort Austin was dispatched from the Western Mediterranean to support HMS Endurance.Lord Carrington had wished to send a third submarine but the decision was deferred due to concerns about the impact on operational commitments.Coincidentally on 26 March, the submarine HMS Superb left Gibraltar and it was assumed in the press it was heading south. There has since been speculation that the effect of those reports was to panic the Argentine junta into invading the Falklands before nuclear submarines could be deployed.

The following day, during a crisis meeting headed by the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sir Henry Leach, advised them that "Britain could and should send a task force if the islands are invaded". On 1 April Leach sent orders to a Royal Navy force carrying out exercises in the Mediterranean to be prepared to sail south. Following the invasion on 2 April, after an emergency meeting of the cabinet, approval was given for the formation of a task force to retake the islands. This was backed in an emergency session of the House of Commons the next day.

The EEC (European Economic Community) provided economic support by imposing economic sanctions on Argentina. Argentina itself was politically backed by a majority of countries in Latin America and some members of the Non-Aligned Movement.I kind of understand the case with the European Economic Community,must have they been frustrated with the evil domination of England every now and then,even into matters where nobody incites them to take part in.But,majority of the left-wing opposed this view,including the majority of Latin America and the Non-Aligned Movement.The United States was concerned by the prospect of Argentina turning to the Soviet Union for support,and initially tried to mediate an end to the conflict. However, when Argentina refused the US peace overtures, US Secretary of State Alexander Haig announced that the United States would prohibit arms sales to Argentina and provide material support for British operations. Both Houses of the US Congress passed resolutions supporting the US action siding with the United Kingdom. (That is what you have to expect from United States of America.)




The Logic Indeed!

Let us have a look at the Casualties and Losses of both the sides here.

Casualties and losses of England       
258 killed
775 wounded
115 PoWs
2 destroyers
2 frigates
1 LSL ship
1 LCU craft
1 container ship
24 helicopters
10 fighters
1 bomber (interned)

Casualties and losses of Argentina
649 killed
1,657 wounded
11,313 PoWs
1 cruiser
1 submarine
4 cargo vessels
2 patrol boats
1 spy trawler
25 helicopters
35 fighters
2 bombers
4 cargo aircraft
25 COIN aircraft
9 armed trainers
3 civilians accidentally killed by British shelling


The British government had no contingency plan for an invasion of the islands, and the task force was rapidly put together from whatever vessels were available.The nuclear submarine Conqueror set sail from France on 4 April, whilst the two aircraft carriers Invincible and Hermes, in the company of escort vessels, left Portsmouth only a day later. Upon its return to Southampton from a world cruise on 7 April, the ocean liner SS Canberra was requisitioned and set sail two days later with 3 Commando Brigade aboard. The ocean liner Queen Elizabeth 2 was also requisitioned and left Southampton on 12 May with 5th Infantry Brigade on board. The whole task force eventually comprised 127 ships: 43 Royal Navy vessels, 22 Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships and 62 merchant ships.

The retaking of the Falkland Islands was considered extremely difficult: the main constraint being the disparity in deployable air cover. The British had a total of 42 aircraft (28 Sea Harriers and 14 Harrier GR.3s) available for air combat operations, against approximately 122 serviceable jet fighters, of which about 50 were employed as air superiority fighters and the remainder as strike aircraft, in Argentina's air forces during the war. The US Navy considered a successful counter-invasion by the British to be 'a military impossibility'.

By mid-April, the Royal Air Force had set up the airbase of RAF Ascension Island, co-located with Wideawake Airfield (USA) on the mid-Atlantic British overseas territory of Ascension Island, including a sizeable force of Avro Vulcan B Mk 2 bombers, Handley Page Victor K Mk 2 refuelling aircraft, and McDonnell Douglas Phantom FGR Mk 2 fighters to protect them. Meanwhile the main British naval task force arrived at Ascension to prepare for active service. A small force had already been sent south to recapture South Georgia.

Encounters began in April; the British Task Force was shadowed by Boeing 707 aircraft of the Argentine Air Force during their travel to the south.Several of these flights were intercepted by Sea Harriers outside the British-imposed exclusion zone; the unarmed 707s were not attacked because diplomatic moves were still in progress and the UK had not yet decided to commit itself to armed force. On 23 April a Brazilian commercial Douglas DC-10 from VARIG Airlines en route to South Africa was intercepted by British Harriers who visually identified the civilian plane.

Recapture of South Georgia and the attack on Santa Fe
The South Georgia force, Operation Paraquet, under the command of Major Guy Sheridan RM, consisted of Marines from 42 Commando, a troop of the Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS) troops who were intended to land as reconnaissance forces for an invasion by the Royal Marines. All were embarked on RFA Tidespring. First to arrive was the Churchill-class submarine HMS Conqueror on 19 April, and the island was over-flown by a radar-mapping Handley Page Victor on 20 April.

The first landings of SAS troops took place on 21 April, but—with the southern hemisphere autumn setting in—the weather was so bad that their landings and others made the next day were all withdrawn after two helicopters crashed in fog on Fortuna Glacier. On 23 April, a submarine alert was sounded and operations were halted, with Tidespring being withdrawn to deeper water to avoid interception. On 24 April, the British forces regrouped and headed in to attack.

On 25 April, after resupplying the Argentine garrison in South Georgia, the submarine ARA Santa Fe was spotted on the surface by a Westland Wessex HAS Mk 3 helicopter from HMS Antrim, which attacked the Argentine submarine with depth charges. HMS Plymouth launched a Westland Wasp HAS.Mk.1 helicopter, and HMS Brilliant launched a Westland Lynx HAS Mk 2. The Lynx launched a torpedo, and strafed the submarine with its pintle-mounted general purpose machine gun; the Wessex also fired on Santa Fe with its GPMG. The Wasp from HMS Plymouth as well as two other Wasps launched from HMS Endurance fired AS-12 ASM antiship missiles at the submarine, scoring hits. Santa Fe was damaged badly enough to prevent her from diving. The crew abandoned the submarine at the jetty at King Edward Point on South Georgia.

With Tidespring now far out to sea and the Argentine forces augmented by the submarine's crew, Major Sheridan decided to gather the 76 men he had and make a direct assault that day. After a short forced march by the British troops and a naval bombardment demonstration by two Royal Navy vessels (Antrim and Plymouth), the Argentine forces surrendered without resistance. The message sent from the naval force at South Georgia to London was, "Be pleased to inform Her Majesty that the White Ensign flies alongside the Union Jack in South Georgia. God Save the Queen." The Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, broke the news to the media, telling them to "Just rejoice at that news, and congratulate our forces and the Marines!"

On 20 June the British retook the South Sandwich Islands, (which involved accepting the surrender of the Southern Thule Garrison at the Corbeta Uruguay base) and declared hostilities to be over. Argentina had established Corbeta Uruguay in 1976, but prior to 1982 the United Kingdom had contested the existence of the Argentine base only through diplomatic channels.





The Argentine War Prisoners


The Argentine Graves On East Falklands

Maggie,you did show us your power! People are foolish enough to call you 'The Iron Lady',they should perhaps call you 'The Diamond Lady'.I can totally understand why Waters avoided diplomacy in the lyrics of every song in The Final Cut.All the British soldiers did not even want to menace with the Argentine.They often had no say at all in whatever was happening.I wonder if Margaret Thatcher could ever feel what she had done or how much bloodshed the war had caused.That when the British soldiers went to fight in the Second World War,they went with a dream of a peaceful England - an England that was not so diplomat in approach and action.Their souls must have never attained peace and this concept is well explained in 'The Post War Dreams'.The war could have never been a success,any war,except that for class struggle in a few,particular cases when the economic disparity/discrimination cannot be eliminated anymore can never be a success.And to me,the Conservative Party leader,the famous diplomat,wealthy,popular prime minister was herself as big a failure as possible.
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