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Feb 29, 2008

Despite Foiled Media Extravaganza, Prince Harry Still Gets Majestic Kick Out Of Afghanistan, Thank God


In a series of interviews with the news media given during his deployment but not released until now, Prince Harry revealed that he had not washed in four days and that he was enjoying a life of semi-normalcy among regular soldiers.  -- New York Times

While the Brits are up in arms about the media revealing, thus terminating, Prince Harry's active duty in Afghanistan, The BAG sees it as fortuitous.

Beyond the fact of the deployment itself, what has consequently been revealed is the fact that the media -- in collusion with the U.K. government and military -- was busy stockpiling a treasure trove of photos and videos to glorify Harry's exploits in anticipation of a media big bang.  To the extent the English establishment is in a snit, it's over the inability now to formally leverage Harry's pseudo-governmental and mega-celebrity status (not to mention, his sex appeal) to more singularly distract from the failing effort to stabilize Afghanistan and root out the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Regarding the stockpiling, specifically, this phallic, scrapbook-style "Prince with his 50 calibre machine gun" -- one of the dozens and dozens of pics and videos that began randomly tumbling out yesterday -- had been stored up by Reuters since January 2nd.

Prince-Harry-Afghanistan-3 Prince-Harry-Afghanistan-2
(click for full size)

Regarding the imagery itself, consider these two images and how they convert this barren war zone into a romantic background, facilitated by the sporting nature of the royals.  In the NYT quote above, also notice the use of the word "enjoy" as applied to Harry's experience in-country, part of framing his presence in terms of a game.

Regarding this first pic, why shouldn't war, as much as being hell, also be a ball?

The next shot shows Harry getting a push from a dark-skinned soldier in trying to start up an abandoned motorcycle.  More effective than a soccer playground is the analogy of this otherwise wasteland as a kind of motocross course.  And, with humping effectiveness, we get another romantic, adventurous piece of political misdirection, exercising the idea that the British hero -- in a random act, and in spite of insufficient machinery -- can somehow get things jump-started in this troubled land through a mere show of effort along with a little gamesmanship.

At least from this angle, the fact a media spectical was pre-empted before Harry could get home and formally kick off a circus seems a lot more noble than anything else going on here.

Harry Withdrawn From Afghanistan (NYT)

(images: John Stillwell/Pool/Reuters.  Helmland Province, Afghanistan.  January 2; February 18; and February 21, 2008, via YahooNews)


The antecedents for this somewhat absurd adventure can be found in past annals of the british empire, and not just Prince Andrew flitting around the Falklands in '82, but also in the fate of Napoléon Eugène, Prince Imperial, the only son of Napoleon III. The following is from Wikipedia:

"...with the outbreak of the Zulu War in 1879, the Prince Imperial, with the rank of lieutenant, forced the hand of the British military to allow him to take part in the conflict. He was only allowed to go to Africa by special pleading of his mother, the Empress Eugenie, and by Queen Victoria herself."

it ended thus:

"...about 40 Zulus fired upon them and rushed screaming uSuthu! ("kill") towards them. The Prince's horse dashed off before he could mount, the Prince clinging to a holster on the saddle - after about a hundred yards a strap broke, and the Prince fell beneath his horse, trampling his right arm. He leapt up, drawing his revolver with his left hand, and started to run - but the Zulus could run faster.

The Prince was speared in the thigh, pulled the assegai from his wound, and turned and fired on his pursuers, another assegai struck his left shoulder. The Prince tried to fight on, using the assegai he had pulled from his leg, but weakened by his wounds, he sank to the ground and was overwhelmed. When recovered his body had 18 assegai wounds."

and in an early case of celebrity public relations:

"The Zulus later claimed that they would not have killed him if they had known who he was. Zabanga, his chief assailant, met his death in July at the Battle of Ulundi. Eugénie was later to make a pilgrimage to Sobuza's kraal, where her son died. The Prince, who had begged to be allowed to go to war, taking the sword carried by the first Napoleon at Austerlitz to war with him, and worried his commanders by his dash and daring, was described by Wolseley as "a plucky young man, and he died a soldier's death. What on earth could he have done better?".'

-" its nice just to be here with all the guys and just mucking in as one of the lads."

Don't get me wrong Prince I'm not questing your bravery just wondering why you were surrounded by a Gurkha regiment !!!

# 3 The Gurkhas, the legendary "martial race" of Nepalese warriors, were chosen in particular for this role. Their language Nepali is quite similar to Dari spoken in Afghanistan, and they are acclimatised high altitudes.

# 7 A soldier of 'C' company, The Royal Gurkha Rifles, uses his 'Kukri' knife to chop up a water melon, during a brief re-supply. "They are the loveliest people in the world," their commanding officer Lieutenant-Colonel Bourne told The Times, "But when the switch is flicked, it gets very nasty."
(click photo galley)

~ google~ Cry 'God for Harry, England and St George'
In their acclaim for this new Prince Hal, the media have once again made themselves the useful idiots of disastrous military adventurism (George Galloway)

just for the record,

Prince Harry a member of the Household Cavalry
has been based in a former madrassa *along with a Gurkha regiment*, in southern Helmand.

This heroic eposide began in Sept 2007
~ ~

Britains Britain's Prince Harry has joined one of the most fearsome units in the British Army the Gurkhas and is undergoing intensive training with the legendary brigade.

The prince, 22, who is currently serving as an officer in the posh cavalry regiment, the Blues and Royals, is taking part in intensive training with the legendary unit to improve his fighting skills.

He is reportedly undergoing a four-day exercise with the 3rd Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles in the Brecon Beacons, Wales.

At the end of the exercise, Harry, a 2nd lieutenant whose own unit has gone to Iraq without him because of fears for his safety, will be presented with an honorary kukri, the curved knife of the Gurkhas.

'Harry will be told that when the kukri leaves its sheath it can never be returned without blood being drawn', a media report quoted an insider as saying.'

What do you suppose that the Royals actually leaked it all to Drudge so that their darling wouldn't have to see combat? He gets to be a "hero" and come home safely.

The men on this post all sound jealous to me. He has shown physical courage and a willingness to share, in small part, the fate of ordinary young Britons. Would you rather have him pub crawling and sitting in the front row at fashion shows? Or working at a hedge fund? Oh yeah, then you would say he had been raised beautifully.

Johanna, seems your having difficulty reading *all the men* ~

I think the whole thing is a scam, as one English bloke on the Galloway's log said, 'now that Harry's safe what about Tom and Dick ?
I found Alan's comment quite hilarious.
Further more if Harry wants to fight he should not be limited to a four month rotation *nor receive any special protection*.
As a poster boy he is now far more valuable than his worth as a soldier.
Read 'Cry 'God for Harry, England and St George', Galloway expresses these views in a profound manner with a delightful touch of irony.
As to future prospects Harry might follow his mothers example or learn demining in the army - now there's a task which would give him a rush ! keep him out of the pubs and provide him with a productive career once he leaves the army -
btw I over came my addiction to the army very early. cheers jt

Sharing the fate of ordinary Britons? Then why doesn't he spend some time on the dole? Or commuting on a ramshackle train system to work in a crushing lowly paid office veal pen? Or blanking it all out with alcohol on a Friday night? Er, wait a minute...he's done the last one. Getting monumentally pished and having 'a ruck' outside a nightclub is a British rite of passage that he's wholeheartedly embraced.

Personally I'm more concerned about the fate of ordinary young Afghans...and am wondering why while concentrating on this Kiplingesque farce, a recent Afghan report in the UK Independent newspaper was virtually ignored. Two MI6 agents recently held negotiations with Taliban warlords who produce 90% of the worlds heroin. The British Army provided a security cordon for the talks.

Apparently the deal was to get the Talibs to defect by offering them combat training, satphones (to speak to their UK contacts) and other inducements - presumably one being an offer to turn a blind eye to their drug trade, which has exploded since the US/UK invasion.

Nice one lads! Good to see you flying the flag! And if a few more kids overdose on British slum housing estates, well, its a win-win isn't it?

The Afghan Gov't got wind of the plan, fearing the Taliban would simply take the money, training and other bribes, then head for the hills, so the two agents were expelled.

So Harry's revealed comment said it all: "he had not washed in four days and he was enjoying a life of semi-normalcy among regular soldiers." Wow!
That is a relevation besides the comments of appreciation of the royalty by Brown and General Dannatt..."outstanding service" and "exemplary".
To a naked eye, one can see he had "semi-normal" *fun* riding motorcycle and kicking ball.
It seems certain, that besides that, he was further schooled in life long attitude of British Empire superiority and the necessity to rule people in distant lands, even if it is only through the diktat of force!

notice that BAGman put the word enjoying in bold; ie., the caption is, quite literally. . .

Prince Harry, smiling while killing Afghan natives with a machine gun.

. . . that is, this is what the image caption would be without the conceit implicit illusions of, say, ‘A Noble Cause’, and in particular : Heroism’.

We (Americans) are partially to blame for this newfound, NewSpeak notion of ‘Heroism’. Perhaps this because we are caught in this cultural dilemma of invading and occupying a neutered ~ if not a 'neutral' country ~ in which there is “No Old Glory for Young Men?

For one thing, we have begun to honour any man or woman who has simply "fulfilled their Service" as a hero. For another, we have begun to call anyone who has gone to War and gotten wounded, a hero. i know that i am likely to catch flak for this, but there is nothing "heroic" inherent about doing one's Duty; for another, to say that 'getting hurt' is "heroic" is... perverse. When everyone is "a hero", then real heroes are reduced to ordinary everymen.

We can see this dynamic all over post-modern American culture; e.g., "everyone in the classroom is an achiever," or "everyone playing the game is a winner." The intent of doing this may be enoblement. Perhaps we are attempting to be empowering, or all-enabling; e.g., “no child left behind.” But the result is a leveling ~ we are diminishing the nobility of real achievement; or, any classical concept of true herosim.

We see, then, this result: that in this culture emerges, say ~ a "heroine" being nothing more than (e.g., Paris Hilton) simple celebrity : "Her talent is being celebrated, despite her (just like me!) lack of talent."

Prince Harry may be a Royal, but here he is doing nothing Noble cause célèbre... much less, heroic. And fwiw, folks ~ whenever i had to fire my weapon, what comes to my mind is that we were all screaming. and trembling. and killing. and dying. and . . . crying.

Most all were, after all, us AND them, just and joyless Soldiers :joyfulexecutioners, not.

Prince Harry sporting a real cool cap

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