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Media Takes the Hit and War Gets Its Poster Boy

World  (tags: legalised murder, invasion, bombing )

- 4099 days ago -
That's your disreputable British media, then: an offensive act to suit every taste. One minute, typically, they are tools of the establishment, willing to suppress news and connive in a shameless publicity stunt to justify a lousy war.


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Marian E (152)
Saturday March 1, 2008, 1:28 pm

Thank you Eleanor.

Eleanor B (909)
Saturday March 1, 2008, 1:46 pm
This is an excellent article written by an excellent Scottish columnist. I can hardly speak about how I feel about this, I am so angry! This man in the position he is in should never have been allowed to join the British army whilst it was involved in this gung-ho invasion of Afghanistan, following on the coat-tails of GWB. He did not get going to Iraq so he sneaked into Afghanistan thanks to the hush-hush agreement with the British press! He wanted action - he wanted to kill people??? The press agreed to say nothing. They (the govt) couldn't make this a D notice obviously. Meaning they couldn't insist that it wasn't in the papers or else people would go to jail. This is the point where there is NO FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. So there is not complete freedom of the press if stories ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BE PUBLISHED. We will never know perhaps which ones were not. As for this one - if it reminds the British public that they are embroiled in an unwinnable war against people who were never their enemies - it's all for the good. The little pampered upstart will have done something with his life. But please note - when he called down an air-strike as Ian Bell says - he was bound to have caused the death of civilians. And his mother and father are proud of him??? I would die a thousand deaths if my son ever even thought of killing another human being. If he had actually caused the death of others, I would have died of shame.

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Saturday March 1, 2008, 1:53 pm
"Or just remind yourself that if the Christmas air-strike Harry called down upon Taliban fighters had the usual consequences, civilians are also dead. That's another story."
Quote from the article.

The Queen is full of praise --
Good thing Princess Di isn't around to see this!

Eleanor B (909)
Saturday March 1, 2008, 2:00 pm
Barbara, quite true. She tried to make them human beings, her two sons, but they ended up shooting helpless birds on estates and now one has killed not only the people who are fighting for the freedom of their country (and I don't care if these are people with whom I disagree fundamentally on most issues probably - they have every right to be doing that and they don't deserve to be killed by RAF bombers) but also civilians. Shame on this government and shame on the 'royal' family.

Tim Redfern (581)
Saturday March 1, 2008, 2:06 pm
Of course, Matt Drudge is
a worthless piece of sh*t,
but the article makes a good
All this fuss over one soldier
out of 7,800? And considering
how irrelevant the royal family
is offense, Eleanor!
...that's really what Harry is,
one soldier out of 7,800.
BMutiny also makes a very good point;
Good deal Harry's mum isn't here to
see this, but if Diana were still alive,
Harry might not have joined the army in
the first place!
Thanks, Eleanor.

Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Saturday March 1, 2008, 2:07 pm
From journalist Ian Bell:
Harry got his taste of normal army life, in any case. Ten weeks rather than 14: better, I suspect, than he could have hoped. And better than the 7800 British personnel in Afghanistan could ever hope for. ...... All this fuss over one soldier? How many journalistic resources have been devoted lately to the rest, to the near-weekly fatalities, the equipment shortages, the absence of any strategic plan? The Taliban is promising a spring offensive. How many front pages will that fill?

Harry's story makes me uneasy, in any case. There would have been no problem, after all, if Britain had once come to terms with some of the absurd consequences of monarchy and its superfluous personnel. There would have been no problem had Britain avoided a stupid war, a war that has now been given its own royal warrant. "One of Our Boys", trumpeted a tabloid yesterday. That's untrue.

.........The publicity has been plentiful and, for the royals and the generals, favourable. The media have taken the hit. The Afghanistan conflict has, meanwhile, acquired its poster boy, praised for his courage by the Prime Minister, and the bleaker realities of a multibillion-pound catastrophe have been overlooked. A royal has served his historic function: he has distracted us and endorsed a war.

The point isn't trivial. Will Harry turn out to have been good for recruitment? He got to call down his own air-strike for Christmas. He got a cool nickname: Bullet Magnet. Or, if you truly prefer: a serious young man has carried out the difficult job for which he has trained and been lauded as a result. Those in his age group - I hesitate to say peers - might be impressed.

...... the MoD can now say that if a prince of the blood can fight the Taliban, anyone can fight the Taliban. But if the embargo had been refused the media would have been accused, as ever, of demanding the right to report intrusively, or, worse, of putting lives at risk. We would have "ruined it for Harry" - or got him killed.

......Journalists, readers, listeners and viewers aghast by the Harry episode and its implications for the media, if any, have a response available: pay attention to Afghanistan. The plight of the prince is of interest if the monarchy's position in British life is of interest. The relationship between the state and the fourth estate is of continuing interest. But a sideshow is a sideshow. The second front in the perpetual war on terror has been allowed to become peripheral, and that counts as a disgrace.

Dozens of British dead; one prince discomfited: do the sums. Or just remind yourself that if the Christmas air-strike Harry called down upon Taliban fighters had the usual consequences, civilians are also dead. That's another story.

Eleanor B (909)
Saturday March 1, 2008, 3:08 pm
Tim, you are speaking to an out and out republican - not a republican as in the US setting. I want to live in a republic and not a kingdom. I loathe the royal family because I loathe privilege. I believe in equality. I am a socialist and am proud to be so. I was born into a socialist family and I have never changed. I am not talking the talk of soviet 'socialist' republics - totalitarian states were all they were ruled by Stalin. A bit like we have now in Britain with Blair and now Brown. That is anathema to me. Equality, brother- and sisterhood throughout the world. I don't care if the word socialism has been devalued - the idea will never be.

Joycey B (750)
Saturday March 1, 2008, 3:33 pm
Noted. Thanks Eleanor.

Eleanor B (909)
Saturday March 1, 2008, 4:12 pm
Thanks so much, everyone, for reading this. The gutter press has been sickening over this 'hero'. I hope everyone remembers all the dead. Tim, thanks so much for your lovely comment.

Darlene K (356)
Saturday March 1, 2008, 7:55 pm
Eleanor.., you're a wonderful strong spirit, with strong righteousness to your core. I agree with you, dear friend..., but don't absorb too much of that anger.., heh.


Barbara Tomlinson (431)
Saturday March 1, 2008, 10:59 pm
Some highlights -- or LOWlights -- from a BBC interview {and on a video, Harry says "My Mum would be proud of me"}:

"It's not nice to drop bombs and give that position to people to have to do but as I say, to save lives that's what happens."

Looking tired after the flight from Helmand Province, he also revealed he first realised his tour was being abruptly curtailed by overhearing coded radio messages about him.

Harry relished the opportunity of living and working in the desert

He described his men as "gutted" by his departure but said he had fulfilled his dream of serving as a tank troop leader.

Harry said he was disappointed publicity from foreign media had ended his tour and praised the British media for keeping the secret of his deployment as long as it did.

"I was surprised by the way the British media kept to their side of the bargain. I hate to say it but, no, I'm very grateful for that and thanks to all the British media for keeping their mouths shut."

He went on: "But I'm back here now and I suppose deep down inside it's quite nice, I'm looking forward to having a bath... but no, I would like to have stayed back with the guys."

Asked about his future, Harry, 23, said he would discuss the options with his commanding officer, but had no plans to quit the Army.

"I hope this has now been proven that the system can work and the British press go along with the deal, everything in place has proved that it can actually work," he said. "So I don't see why it can't work again.

"Hopefully for my brother as well, there's a possibility that it can work."

Harry said he would "love to go back out" to Afghanistan and had already told senior officers he wanted to return "very, very soon."

"Once you are back from operations everything is a bit of an anti-climax, you go back to your unit and there you are, day-in day-out, the same routine, nothing changes and that's the way it is, nothing changes.

The prince said rank took a back seat in the challenging environment

"At least in operations then you are kept on your toes the whole time, that's what guys join up for I guess, that adrenalin."

The prince said that he had been in the desert close to the former Taleban stronghold of Musa Qaleh when the story broke.

Having taken part in an operation commanding a Spartan light tank with C Squadron of the Household Cavalry earlier this month, Harry had just taken over from his troop leader who had gone home for a two-week break.

He hailed his fellow soldiers as "a really good bunch of guys", adding: "Once you are out in the middle of the desert and all you depend on is one another, to look out for each other, then it comes down to the fact you are mates, all ranks aside, you are mates and you look out for each other."

Asked if it had been one of the happiest times in his life, he said: "Yes probably. It was fantastic ... I was hugely grateful for having the opportunity.

"I enjoyed being out there, every element had something different about it but actually being out in the middle of nowhere, with the stars out, is just a fantastic place to be."

Jessie Cross (295)
Sunday March 2, 2008, 12:05 am
Socialism - the real belief in equality - will never die.

Eleanor B (909)
Sunday March 2, 2008, 3:19 am
I agree, Jessie. And Barbara, I agree. He thinks it's okay to drop bombs to save lives? Whose lives? They shouldn't be there as you say - in someone else's desert under someone else's starry sky. What a fantastic adventure for the ninny! You would think he was in a comic strip. He must be so glad the UK invaded to give him his opportunity for his thrills. What about the dead, the maimed, the mutilated? Not so much fun for them! Darlene, I won't absorb the anger - I will try and channel it into something positive.

Sammantha L (126)
Monday March 3, 2008, 12:23 pm
Thank you Eleanor! Everyone has said all I could think oif saying. I'll just say...I'm disgusted. Like you, I loathe privilege, (and Drudge!)

Eleanor B (909)
Monday March 3, 2008, 1:09 pm
Thanks, Samantha. Yes, I agree about privilege. I get incensed to think of the really privileged, rich upstarts who think that war is an opportunity for adventure - a 'war' against one of the most impoverished nations on earth!
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