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Thursday, April 26, 2007

But hey, they’re good for tourism

“The decision to send Prince Harry to Iraq is being reviewed by senior Army officers, it has emerged. It comes amid an increase in violence in the country and the deaths of 11 British service personnel this month.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said his deployment had always been under "constant consideration" and it remained its intention to send him. The Army has always known the prince, the third in line to the throne, would be a major terrorist target.

General Sir Richard Dannatt, head of the Army, will have to decide whether to stand by his original decision to sanction Harry's deployment. Last week two British soldiers died while doing the same job Prince Harry would be expected to do during his six-month tour.”

As anyone who knows me will already be aware, the whole Royal Family would be guillotined if I had my way (or at the very least demoted to live in the Butlins campsite at Skegness – the big one at Minehead is a bit too classy for them, in my opinion). However, that aside, it seems extremely poor to me that a member of the Royal household (who, let’s face it, is actually only the ‘spare’ anyway) should be held back from going to Iraq.

I don’t want to see the boy killed in Iraq any more than I wish to see anyone else in the armed forces killed there. But at the end of the day, the kid is in the ARMY. If you’re in the army, service in Iraq is an unpleasant reality, is it not? Whether or not his presence in Iraq would cause unnecessary additional danger to his colleagues – as is feebly being suggested – is not a question I have the right expertise to answer, but it certainly sounds suspect (I’m presuming he’s not going to be wearing a dead-giveaway crown while he’s there?)…

This is a young man who joined the army knowing full well that he would very likely see action in a war zone. Without wishing to state the obvious, if he didn’t want to go to a war zone in his capacity as an army officer, he would not have become an army officer.

There have been 11 British service deaths in the last month alone, among them talented young women, men with wives and infant children, teenagers and young people. Nobody suggested that they were “too important” to be killed in action.

For anyone who seriously labours under the misapprehension that we live in a meritocratic society, that their lives are regarded as being of equal importance to those of the rich and privileged: think again, yes?

In Britain in 2007, as was the case in Britain in 1907 and 1807, a 22 year old spoilt little Nazi-saluting aristo is always going to be considered more important than everyone else – even those who put their lives on the line in our country’s military – so long as he comes from the right family.

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