Whether from government regulators or the neighbor next door, the scrap industry is perpetually under fire

Apr 02, 2010 | 04:38 AM | Michael Marley

This time they won't have scrap dealers to blame if the United Kingdom and Argentina start flinging bullets, bombs and Exocet missiles at each other again.

For those who have forgotten or are too young to recall, war broke out between the two countries in March 1982. The precipitating incident was a group of Argentine scrap dealers raising their nation's flag on one of the Falkland Islands. They came to aid one of their industry members arrested for allegedly stealing metals, but before leaving home they were encouraged to assert their country's claim to the islands.

It was one of those rare occasions when government appeared to be allied with the industry. In truth, those scrap dealers were pawns in a larger dispute about sovereignty over the islands. It was resolved—at least temporarily—by a 74-day conflict that took the lives of 255 British and 649 Argentine soldiers, sailors and airmen and three civilian Falklanders. The islands remain an overseas territory of the United Kingdom.

Disputes between Britain and Argentina over the islands have a long history. It has nothing to do scrap metal. Yet it was a scrap dealer who would be seen as the offender that provoked the war. His minor role in the drama earned the industry the ridicule from TV talking heads and news commentators.....

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