Its about hearts and minds


by Kulvinder
28th February, 2008 at 7:21 pm    

One of the myths the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have put to rest was the vague and hazy belief that the British Army was ‘better’ at peace making. The specifics seemed to reference Northern Ireland or the wearing of flat caps as opposed to helmets. The Americans were the ones without empathy for the local populations. British soldiers were diplomats to the man.

The reality of southern Iraq isn’t promising.

I’m unsure what to say about the bizarre applauding of Prince Harry. He does after all have the army protecting him, as well as a gun to shoot back with. Whats far more interesting is what the responce of Afghans and Muslims will be. My own opinion is this was an unwarranted aggravation of a sensitive situation. The shadows of empire still linger in that part of the world and having a high profile member of royalty kill your people just as his predecessors did won’t encourage the affection of the local people; let alone the wider Islamic world.

By all means those who wish to be bombastic about this can be so. But if public opinion in Afghanistan turns against Britain I hope they understand why. After all the reaction of the IRA to a member of the Royal family serving and killing in Northern Ireland during the troubles would have been predictable. I fear the reaction in this instance will be similarly obvious.

Debates and comments about the sensitivity of the armed forces are utterly pointless if the British Army cannot understand why images of Harry shooting Afghans and Muslims would inflame and alienate those they wish to placate.


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  1. davecole.org » blog » Blog Archive » E pur si muove, Widow-Six-Seven

    [...] It is remarkable that the secret was contained for as long as it was and indicates that the royal machine is still pretty effective; I find it somewhat worrying. It is, without a doubt, a publicity coup for the royals – brave Prince Harry wanting to go and fight alongside his men and not wanting any special treatment. I am not denigrating is desires or his efforts (Mr Eugenides points out that it’s very easy to comment from behind a keyboard), but the fact that members of the press were there with cameras shows that this was always being used as a PR opportunity; indeed, it would appear that an awful lot of work was done to make this a PR victory. It would be, as it would be in anyone’s case, a tragedy for Harry to be killed in the course of action; the implications of his death, injury or capture are fairly obvious in domestic, PR terms. I wonder, though, how the fact that a member of the ruling house is part of the British contingent in Afghanistan plays with the people of that beknighted country. It may be, of course, that people are delighted that Britain shows that level of commitment. I suspect the most common reactions would be ‘who’ and ’so what’; however, a mistake could easily become a useful recruiting tool for the Taliban. Kulvinder talks about this at Pickled Politics. [...]




  1. jimjay — on 28th February, 2008 at 7:54 pm  

    I think this is a really useful point that needs repeating – all the media attention is universally from our end of the gun barrell.

  2. technomist — on 28th February, 2008 at 8:32 pm  

    I agree with you about how the images look. I would however go a bit further, as I do not think that the very clever people who manage these kinds of news photo events will have entirely been incapable of having thought of some of this.

    I am a bit cynical altogether about the purposes of these posed images being put out now: firstly, I suspect he didn’t go to Iraq less for safety reasons than to ensure a Royal was not associated with the bleak tail-end of a failed mission (the jury is still out on Afghanistan). The timing of the release of these pictures in the States have allowed a lot of UK spin to be put into their and our media to deflect from the discourse about back-sliding European allies which sections of the current US administration had been pushing. A few royal pictures and a bit of patriotic ‘support our boys’ fluffery at home is also not going to harm a Government which is looking pretty thin on social and political capital at the moment.

  3. Leon — on 28th February, 2008 at 8:58 pm  

    Very thoughtful piece, really liked it…

  4. Tom — on 28th February, 2008 at 10:02 pm  

    The comparison with Ireland is slightly iffy – if Prince X had served there he’d have been seen by both sides as implicitly in the Unionist camp by dint of being, well, part of the United Kingdom’s ruling family, flag and all.

    The degree to which this would be the case in Afghanistan depends on whether things are far enough down the drain that the population overwhelmingly thinks the UK presence there is an old-style colonial expedition under the Union Jack and sanctioned by the Head of State.

    Mind you, the degree to which Harry’s brief visit (I’m assuming he’s either behind heavy security or out of there by now) has been comprehensively spun and stage managed is breathtaking even for an old cynic like me. All it needed was one news organization to have the balls to say ‘sod off’, but none of them did. The risk is that a dangerous mindset has got strong positive feedback – the British press will do what you tell them in return for some pictures of a prince with a gun.

  5. dmatr — on 28th February, 2008 at 11:16 pm  

    …having a high profile member of royalty kill your people just as his predecessors did won’t encourage the affection of the local people…

    BUT support for the Taleban in Afghanistan is low, and support for the presence of US & NATO forces is high[1].

    So I’d suggest most Afghans would not characterise the presence of Prince Harry as “killing our people”, as you appear to (?!), but instead see him as fighting for their people. They may even be impressed that a member of the British royal family is prepared to fight and risk his life for them.

    [1] Afghans ‘still hopeful on future’, BBC News, 03/12/2007

  6. Kulvinder — on 29th February, 2008 at 2:44 am  

    The degree to which this would be the case in Afghanistan depends on whether things are far enough down the drain that the population overwhelmingly thinks the UK presence there is an old-style colonial expedition under the Union Jack and sanctioned by the Head of State.

    I wasn’t suggesting the comparison with Northern Ireland was about nationalistic identity; rather it was about the further alienation of people you want build a relationship with. Noone even thinks the Iraq war was conducted ‘under the union jack and sanctioned by the head of state’

    BUT support for the Taleban in Afghanistan is low, and support for the presence of US & NATO forces is high[1].

    I notice you didn’t qualify with support for NATO is lower.

    I never said the Afghans support the taliban. Likewise the Iraqis don’t support those that blow themselves up in their midst; that doesn’t mean they think much of coalition forces. One of the most striking aspects about the last seven years has been the tendency to develop a mindset that creates a dichotomy between ‘them and us’.

    If the Iraqis reject ‘al-qaeda’ they’ll support us.
    If the Afghans reject the taliban they’ll support us etc

    The reality seems to be they come to reject both sides as neither seem able to improve their lives. Still im sure Harry will have helped the situation in Afghanistan.

  7. Kesara — on 29th February, 2008 at 11:43 am  

    Oh God, the media here are revelling in their saintliness “Oh look we kept Harry safe from prying eyes! We should get medals! Nasty drudge report – NASTY!”

    The hypocrisy is overwhelming.

    As for this article – interesting points but I don’t think having a Royal on the frontlines makes much difference. If some folks think that it’s an added insult to percieved oppression then they’re sadly mistaken. They should all be forced to install Windows Vista and see what oppression really is (after 3 system failures – everything else will seem like a distant nightmare).

    If the Iraqis reject ‘al-qaeda’ they’ll support us.
    If the Afghans reject the taliban they’ll support us etc

    Well they’re going have to chose between the lesser of two evils…the rest of the world seems to do it – if they can’t , they’re screwed (until they revert to XP anyway)!

  8. Bert Preast — on 29th February, 2008 at 12:10 pm  

    “Debates and comments about the sensitivity of the armed forces are utterly pointless if the British Army cannot understand why images of Harry shooting Afghans and Muslims would inflame and alienate those they wish to placate”

    Hmmm. You think the army were the ones wanting such images published then? What the bloody hell makes you think that?

  9. sonia — on 29th February, 2008 at 12:40 pm  

    yeah good point bert, the army clearly wouldn’t want such things, draws way too much attention and increases the threat, obviously. may as well give up on the fields and get careers in media if that’s what they wanted! It is very strange that anyone would think the Army is responsible for the leaks, instead of some media outlet.

    good point about Vista Kesara!

  10. Kulvinder — on 29th February, 2008 at 1:01 pm  

    Hmmm. You think the army were the ones wanting such images published then? What the bloody hell makes you think that?

    This depends on the semantics of the word ‘wanted’

    The army made an agreement that they would send him to Afghanistan and grant close access to the various broadcasters as long as those broadcasters didn’t report on his deployment.

    You’re using the word ‘wanted’ to imply they ultimately had little or no control over those images; im saying it was part of an agreement they negotiated when they sent him to Afghanistan. The deployment was their choice. If they didn’t want those images broadcast they could have either avoided sending him there or sent him for a shorter period of time without the media (until his presence was reported).

    I’m sure contract disputes would be alot more fun if the various parties argued

    ‘i didn’t really want that, i just initiated and negotiated the agreement because i felt like it’

  11. Kulvinder — on 29th February, 2008 at 1:26 pm  

    If some folks think that it’s an added insult to percieved oppression then they’re sadly mistaken.

    Mistaken in what sense? If they’re the ones offended, you’re the one who is mistaken. Although you didn’t say this i think i should just clear up that i don’t think his presence objectively increased ‘the oppression’ or ‘the freedom’ of Afghans anymore than any other British soldier of his rank.

    I’m not trying to paint this as some sort of neo-crusade.

    Nevertheless it would be idiotic to ignore the symbolism of his presence, and of his actions. If we were in the 70s and he’d just finished a tour of NI i wouldn’t argue that his presence there had increased the ‘oppression’ or the ‘freedom’ above other soldiers of his rank. I would argue that his deployement was an unnecessary and frankly unneeded aggravation.

    He is not an ordinary member of the public. If he wishes to be he can do the equivalent of abdicating and renounce his position. He would then be as ordinary as he likes.

    He doesn’t want that though. He wants to have a bit of a play whilst still staying a prince. The entire exercise was to massage his ego.

    That is fine. If that is what the army, the media, the public and ultimately he wants then i’ll accept it.

    But, those same people have to have the intellectual honesty to accept that not everyone will be cheering him on and his actions could be used as a rallying call.

  12. Rumbold — on 29th February, 2008 at 1:41 pm  

    Kulvinder:

    “He doesn’t want that though. He wants to have a bit of a play whilst still staying a prince. The entire exercise was to massage his ego.”

    I’m not sure why going out to fight in Afghanistan is considered ‘a bit of a play’. If he wanted to be in the army just for the publicity, then the MOD would have happily assigned him to some ceremonial post at home. But he didn’t.

  13. Kulvinder — on 29th February, 2008 at 3:12 pm  

    Because he is playing at being a soldier. If he wants to be an ordinary soldier he can renounce his position and become part of the hoi polloi. He can survive solely off the salary he is paid as a soldier, he can struggle with the cost of living, he can try and raise a family whilst living in barracks. He can experience all the other aspects of army life that pass him by.

    But he doesn’t want to be ordinary. Not really. Not deep down. He just wants to experience certain aspects of it. For a thrill.

    To paraphrase Jarvis Cocker; he’ll never live like ordinary people, he’ll never do what ordinary people do, he’ll never fail like ordinary people.

    Now we can pretend. If thats what people want. If his colleagues are happy with it; but its rather like those tv programmes where millionaires live for a fortnight amongst the working class. Ultimately everyone knows that when the programme is over they can go back to their other lives. We may admire them for putting themselves at risk for a period of time, but it isn’t real.

    I don’t question the fact he put himself at risk in Afghanistan. I do question any assertion that he was more ordinary or normal by being there, and if we put that to one side all we’re left with is an ego trip. Its a matter of opinion whether jeopardising our attempts to build a relationship with those that fight us is worth that ego trip. Personally i think not. If i were in his position i would have accepted the ceremonial post; because only children think sacrifice is about putting yourself in harms way. When you grow up you realise that more often than not its about letting go of your own ambitions for a greater goal.

  14. sonia — on 29th February, 2008 at 3:19 pm  

    umm, yeah maybe he wants some liberty to be an ordinary person before the bonds that bind him drag him down too much. is that hard for people to understand?

  15. Kulvinder — on 29th February, 2008 at 3:46 pm  

    I don’t think you’ve quite understood my point.

  16. Bert Preast — on 29th February, 2008 at 3:56 pm  

    Kulvinder’s gone completely off his head here. The forces are the only place a prince can go to stop being a prince for a few years. If you read the article you’ll see the blokes serving alongside him referred to him as ‘the bullet magnet’, not ‘his royal highness’. I’ll bet he gets more stick about his ginger mop than his family connections. His soldiers will call him ‘boss’, and other officers will call him ‘Harry’ or ‘Lt Wales’, depending on if he’s in the shit or not.

    You say he joined for a thrill – had you directed that comment at his uncle Eddie I might agree, but not at Harry. One of the main ideas of making military training harsh and repetitive is to weed out the thrillseekers, and as he got through the training he’s there because he very much wants to be a part of it.

    As for him serving in the ranks, the army wouldn’t be happy with that. Why waste good officer material? The army wants it’s people in the roles where they are making best use of their capabilities. And were he to try living on his army wages, he’d starve to death. You see, in the Household Cavalry a lieutenant’s wages aren’t enough to cover the mess bills.

    Harry’s there doing his duty. You may not have noticed, but it’s a bit of a family tradition. He’s also there to be part of the other blokes in his job – how would you feel watching all your mates going off and doing the job, listening to them discussing it all the time, while you yourself were stuck perpetually in training?

    As for the press, this story is not news. It’s celebrity gossip. The army allows the press to come out to Afghanistan to see how it works and what it does firsthand. The press thanks the army for this by threatening to breach groundrules on personal security by identifying individuals serving on deployments, and ‘negotiates’ their ‘rights’ to follow soldiers about while they’re working. If I were Harry I’d have shot ‘em.

    :froth:

  17. Rumbold — on 29th February, 2008 at 3:58 pm  

    Kulvinder:

    “I don’t think you’ve quite understood my point.”

    I don’t either.

    “Because he is playing at being a soldier. If he wants to be an ordinary soldier he can renounce his position and become part of the hoi polloi. He can survive solely off the salary he is paid as a soldier, he can struggle with the cost of living, he can try and raise a family whilst living in barracks. He can experience all the other aspects of army life that pass him by.”

    So even if you or your family has savings, you are not allowed to use them, otherwise your experience of life is not ‘real’ enough?

    “But he doesn’t want to be ordinary. Not really. Not deep down. He just wants to experience certain aspects of it. For a thrill.”

    I still fail to see the contradiction here. I doubt that anybody in the army loves every single minute of it, and if some of them had more money, then they would use it too. I think that you are confusing your republican views (which are fair enough), with a rational analysis of Prince Harry’s right to be in the army. I fail to see why he should give up the majority of his life just to be like some of the others. If he wants to, then fine.

    Your original point about whether Harry fighting in Afghanistan helps or hinders us is an interesting one. I think that it helps, but I also understand your side.

  18. funkg — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:06 pm  

    Mixed feelings for me on this one I 100% support my niece who recently served in Afghanistan and my mate who will do soon as well as most of ‘our boys and girls’ but being the traditional ‘lefty’ I don’t always see eye to eye with this war. Hmm.

  19. Kulvinder — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:33 pm  

    So even if you or your family has savings, you are not allowed to use them, otherwise your experience of life is not ‘real’ enough?

    Not ordinary enough. Any person who joins the army with a vast personal wealth (indeed as a millionaire) but who claims they want an ordinary existence within that organisation is deluding themselves.

    I’m not questioning his right to serve in the military; rather im questioning whether his experience in the military is useful in the way its being portrayed (connecting with the masses, being ordinary). If it isn’t useful in that sense then is it worth him possibly aggravating the situation just for the experience?

    Lets say i decide to work with the illegal migrants who potter away in the darker corners of Britain. I may work with them, and i may live with them for a period of time, but i cannot ever get a clear appreciation of what their life is like. I cannot be ordinary in their sense. I will never have a cloud of failure hanging over me. I will never appreciate the angst that they feel because i will never have to worry about issues – like deportation – as they do. If there was a hypothetical global political issue attached to those migrants would it be worth my while pretending to be ordinary like them even if it aggravated a complicated issue?

  20. dmatr — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:36 pm  

    I notice you didn’t qualify with support for NATO is lower.

    Yes 4% difference, 67% support for Nato, 71% for US forces. Maybe Prince Harry serving in Afghanistan will help bridge this yawning chasm.

    Roughly 2/3′s support US & NATO forces, compared with 4% support for the Taliban, 14% support for foreign jihadis. Methinks you’re grasping at straws; the polling evidence does not support the hackneyed “colonialist” narrative you are attempting to impose on the situation.

  21. Kulvinder — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:37 pm  

    nb completely tangential but i actually like certain benefits the monarchy brings. The fact we’ve got an uncodified constitution is actually closer to anarchism than republicanism. Now im not saying its all good, just that i wouldn’t describe myself as a republican in the traditional sense.

  22. Kulvinder — on 29th February, 2008 at 4:39 pm  

    Yes 4% difference, 67% support for Nato, 71% for US forces. Maybe Prince Harry serving in Afghanistan will help bridge this yawning chasm.

    Apologies, i meant the support for NATO is lower than a year ago.

  23. Rumbold — on 29th February, 2008 at 7:43 pm  

    Kulvinder:

    “Not ordinary enough. Any person who joins the army with a vast personal wealth (indeed as a millionaire) but who claims they want an ordinary existence within that organisation is deluding themselves.

    I’m not questioning his right to serve in the military; rather im questioning whether his experience in the military is useful in the way its being portrayed (connecting with the masses, being ordinary). If it isn’t useful in that sense then is it worth him possibly aggravating the situation just for the experience?”

    But I don’t think that he is in the army for an experience. He is in it because he wants to be in it. If he entered it only to get a taster of army life, then his time would need to be ‘ordinary’. But he presumably sees it as a viable career, so it does not matter how much money he has or what is background is.

    “Lets say i decide to work with the illegal migrants who potter away in the darker corners of Britain. I may work with them, and i may live with them for a period of time, but i cannot ever get a clear appreciation of what their life is like. I cannot be ordinary in their sense.”

    That is a bit different, as Harry is still exposed to the same dangers as other soldiers, while you wouldn’t be. But even taking your example, then why does it matter if you don’t have the same experience as the people around you?

    “Nb completely tangential but i actually like certain benefits the monarchy brings. The fact we’ve got an uncodified constitution is actually closer to anarchism than republicanism. Now im not saying its all good, just that i wouldn’t describe myself as a republican in the traditional sense.”

    Interesting stance. Good for you.

  24. Boyo — on 1st March, 2008 at 9:35 am  

    “I never said the Afghans support the taliban. Likewise the Iraqis don’t support those that blow themselves up in their midst; that doesn’t mean they think much of coalition forces.”

    Kulvinder, Afghanistan is neither Iraq or Northern Ireland, so your comparisons are spurious. Your post and comments are thick with opinion, not fact. You write about “public opinion in Afghanistan” as if they watched GMTV and read the Sun. Your perspective is hopelessly Western-centric. My guess is an ordinary Afghan is as likely to be impressed by a real prince from a tradition he can identify with than any politician, or armchair activist. Get real.

  25. Kulvinder — on 1st March, 2008 at 10:12 am  

    But I don’t think that he is in the army for an experience.

    …That is a bit different, as Harry is still exposed to the same dangers as other soldiers, while you wouldn’t be. But even taking your example, then why does it matter if you don’t have the same experience as the people around you?

    We have a completely divergent point of view of why he is there, which is fine but it makes further comment difficult. My analogy was meant to demonstrate why his time in the army wasn’t representative, you’re focussing on the danger aspect – which to me is besides the point.

  26. Rumbold — on 1st March, 2008 at 11:06 am  

    Kulvinder:

    “We have a completely divergent point of view of why he is there, which is fine but it makes further comment difficult. My analogy was meant to demonstrate why his time in the army wasn’t representative, you’re focussing on the danger aspect – which to me is besides the point.”

    Okay, we shall have to agree to differ. For now…

  27. marvin — on 1st March, 2008 at 11:12 am  

    My guess is an ordinary Afghan is as likely to be impressed by a real prince from a tradition he can identify with than any politician, or armchair activist. Get real.

    I would agree. If I were an ordinary Afghan, stuggling to make a normal existence despite the fanatical Taliban trying to enforce their nightmarish rulings, I’d be dead impresseed that the Prince of the UK had came to my country to fight the bastard Taliban.

  28. Rumbold — on 1st March, 2008 at 11:19 am  

    Some Muslims in this country might not be impressed with the prince fighting, but as others have said, the Afghans certainly will.

    Brett over at Harry’s Place has a good piece on why the media blackout should not have been broken:

    http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/archives/2008/02/29/we_dont_need_to_be_knowitalls.php

  29. El Cid — on 1st March, 2008 at 6:30 pm  

    i’m surprised a libertarian, nay an anarchist, in most other matters would want to repress an individual’s wishes. lol

  30. Kulvinder — on 1st March, 2008 at 7:01 pm  

    “I don’t think you’ve quite understood my point”

  31. El Cid — on 1st March, 2008 at 8:31 pm  

    I think you’ll find I have. We all have.

  32. Kulvinder — on 2nd March, 2008 at 2:39 am  

    Make an argument.

  33. kELvi — on 2nd March, 2008 at 4:01 am  

    Harry is simply following tradition especially English/Scots royal tradition by serving with the troops. Except for the monarch, the 1st and 2nd in line, every royal is pledged to fight for his people. This is how respectable royalty everywhere has served. While I find Harry’s deeds honourable, Harry, his Dad and grandmum may think that that he is merely doing what is expected of him. When there was a clamour during the Blitz to move the Queen Bess and her sister to safety in Canada, the Queen Mother is known to have said something like, “The children will not leave without me, and I will not leave England without the King, and the King will never leave England.

    That’s the royal spirit. Shabash Harry! In the Mahabharata it is said that when the Kauravas attacked Virat Desh during the Pandava’s thirteenth year of exile, when the latter were expected to remain in hiding, Abhimanyu too joined the Kaurava host! That’s a professional soldier for you. Fighting is simply a matter of dharam and karam. It’s so fine to know that the English royals are keeping the standard of tradition aloft and flying! Great work!

  34. El Cid — on 2nd March, 2008 at 6:18 pm  

    I don’t really think I have to.
    You really haven’t thought things through have you?
    On the other hand, maybe your politics is changing

  35. sonia — on 2nd March, 2008 at 7:27 pm  

    30. good one el cid. kulvinder’s argument seems to be ( well to me anyway) that in this case the ‘individual’ is not an ‘ordinary’ one, and that he should consider the rest of us. Which seems to me to be the usual ‘its for the Wider Societal Good’ argument. However perhaps, Kulvinder is tempering his usual concern for the primacy of the individual because the individual in this case is seen to be an ‘upholder of societal institution no. 1′? I don’t know. the whole argument seems to be about how Harry isn’t an ordinary person. Well he is actually, no matter what role he is unlucky enough to have been born into, its hardly something he can help. Plus he’s back now anyway. Personally i feel sorry for the dude.

  36. sonia — on 2nd March, 2008 at 7:29 pm  

    Anyway i think its a good idea for potential leaders to see the reality of war. Blair and Bush and the likes of them should be forced to experience war.

  37. Katy Newton — on 2nd March, 2008 at 7:43 pm  

    Of all the people who might make this argument, I didn’t expect the Kulvmeister to be one of them.

    Harry’s a member of the Army. He’s an officer. Plenty of officers come from the middle and upper classes and supplement their Army income from private means. Come to that, plenty of middle and upper class people take non-military jobs with low pay and supplement it from family wealth or other private means too. Why on earth should any of them not be allowed to do this? Are we saying that people who have incomes shouldn’t work because their experiences aren’t “authentic” enough?

    As for Harry’s presence aggravating the situation, I do see that argument, but it only became a security risk once Drudge broke the story and as soon as the story was broken he got sent home – making him the only member of his regiment who isn’t putting his life on the line, which is exactly what he wanted to avoid. I personally don’t doubt his commitment to his job or to his regiment and I should think he feels like absolute shit.

    Sonia makes some excellent points, I think. I don’t think it’s remotely realistic to think that he could have avoided this position by “resigning” his royal position. He’s been photographed daily all over the world since he was born. He can’t resign being Royal any more than he can resign being white.

  38. Katy Newton — on 2nd March, 2008 at 7:45 pm  

    Actually, I suspect that joining the Army and insisting on being treated like the rest of his regiment is about as close as a Royal can get to resigning his position.

  39. Kulvinder — on 2nd March, 2008 at 8:43 pm  

    I don’t really think I have to.

    It does help take you seriously.

    that in this case the ‘individual’ is not an ‘ordinary’ one, and that he should consider the rest of us

    I’ve never asked him to consider me?!

    Why on earth should any of them not be allowed to do this?

    I have no idea.

    But then i never suggested he shouldn’t be allowed to serve in the army. I explicitly said I’m not questioning his right to serve in the military.

    I also never said his presence was an aggravating factor in terms of ‘security risk’; i couldn’t care less that drudge broke the story, and it wouldn’t bother me if he had died in Afghanistan.

    I don’t believe the symbolism of his presence was helpful to what ‘the coalition’ is trying to achieve in Afghanistan. I don’t beleive that what he did in Afghanistan was ‘as normal as it gets’ either with regards to the rest of his comrades or with the rest of us. As such i question the decision to send him.

    Now all of you commenting can dispute that i’d have no problem with it (as long as you try to say why). But can we all at least start on the same page. I don’t care how much danger he faced or how brave he was. I’ve never said there should be a law barring him from joining the military and its getting a tad tiresome to have to continually point that out. I gave the analogy of Northern Ireland, if we were in the 70s and he’d just completed a tour there, there would have been nothing normal about what he did and i think his presence would have been counter productive. And before anyone asks hes already signed his life away. He chose to be put in a situation where he was given orders about what to do. He has no right to tell his superiors where to send him.

  40. Kulvinder — on 2nd March, 2008 at 8:54 pm  

    nb apparently england isn’t that nice and he wants to live in africa if he isn’t allowed to fight again – now i take that with a pinch of salt as the mail is the one reporting it. But i have to say it was incredibly funny to juxtapose that story with dacre’s usual ‘deport the benefit spongers’

  41. kELvi — on 2nd March, 2008 at 11:50 pm  

    We surely live in changed times. Till about 50 years ago, the royalty in Afghanistan or Iraq was on the side of the Western powers (as most of the Arab Peninsula regimes are today) and welcomed Harry’s forbears who chose to fight for them against the rebels. British royalty in the forces was welcomed with pomp before being sent out to battle. Today things are different. What should be seen as a clear problem of thuggery on the part of Taliban has acquired confusing colours. Even then Harry has proved himself and proved that the House of Windsor means business in battle everywhere. As Andrew did for Queen and country in the Falklands, Harry has done in Afghanistan. The royals in the forces have never been treated with kid gloves. George and Edward were sent off to Dartmouth when they were barely in their teens to train for the RN and were mercilessly hazed. Phillip, as we all know plied his boat in the Channel during WW2 coming close to getting blown out of the water quite a few times. Charles too has had his share of hazing with all the four arms of the forces. The youngest royal edward dropped out of Sandhurst much to his father’s disappointment as he couldn’t cope with the rigours of training.

    This reminds me of Col. Bhawani Singh http://preview.tinyurl.com/33c993 the heir to Jaipur who won a Maha Vir Chakra for his service in the 1971 Indo-Pak war where he commanded a long range patrol unit.

  42. Kesara — on 3rd March, 2008 at 12:29 pm  

    Anyway i think its a good idea for potential leaders to see the reality of war. Blair and Bush and the likes of them should be forced to experience war.

    Exactly – there are far too many desk sucking pen pushing ‘leaders’ out there who can’t tell a bullet from a ballpoint. Getting shot at would really help them keep things in perspective and allow their troops to get the job done properly than playing hawk one minute and PR muffin the next.

  43. DR1001 — on 3rd March, 2008 at 6:44 pm  

    Here in the states on a recent show, commentators appluaded the actual fact Harry even went to war whilst many of the senator’s sons/daughters have not signed up for either the Iraq or Afganistan War. However some are all still bleating on about staying the course… (eg Mitt Romney and his 5 strapping lads!)

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