Wednesday, May 16, 2007


The word over the wire is that Britain's Prince Harry (Henry-- the Spare, not the Heir) will not get his way on the subject of his military deployment, having been denied the chance to earn his stripes in Iraq.

I feel for the kid-- as a military parent I know that, despite the obvious dangers, there is a sense in
which any member of the professional military wants to be a part of the landmark action of his particular era, to be able to say that he did as hard a duty as any of his comrades and will thus always be able to see the lay of the land through that shared lens.

But it is equally clear that Prince Harry's presence
would plant an extra bed-sheet-sized target on the back of every British soldier in proximity to him, for kidnap, assassination, and whatever else the beasts of Basra could manage.

We had an interesting dinner a couple of weeks ago with a couple who have between them (and whose children therefore share with them) multiple British Commonwealth passports/nationalities, which explains why these residents of Canada have a military son not in Afghanistan with the Princess Pats and other storied Canadian regiments, but in Basra, Iraq, with the Blackwatch. We shared with them the isolation felt by any resident of a still deeply anti-military Canada who has a son or daughter in uniform, made worse by the fact that ours fight under the flag of a different country. We (us two) at least have the advantage of living just over the border from a good 150 million people who appreciate the honour in military service and understand how we must sometimes fight to the death for certain principles-- not to mention being within arm's length of the huge network of active civilian support of military personnel and their mission.

Our friends with the son in Basra have no connection to any such network, and were so grateful to have people to talk to about the good work of their son's compatriots. I was delighted to be able to point them to the recent articles by Michael Yon, describing, with immense admiration, the hard-scrabble fighting by the Basra-based Brits.

Of one thing our newfound friends were absolutely certain: they did NOT want Prince Harry deployed anywhere near their kid. They were in agreement that a deployment to Iraq would probably be the making of this particular Royal Pain, but his ascent to manhood had every chance of exacting a price, out of the hides of others, far beyond its worth. We're all very sorry that the young fella will miss the Big Show, but that's life-- and we'd like to hang on to it, thank you.

The truth is, if he's really determined, I bet he could find his way into some hot battlefield action without all the damned fanfare-- there's more than one way to carry forward "a little touch of Harry in the night." He'd just have to morph into a real rebel instead of the conventional drinking/shagging/swastika-wearing case of arrested development he has so far been acting out in the tiresome "ne'er-do-well rebel" mode that generations of princes have affected. Instead of disappearing to the family hut in Mustique, he should go to ground for six months or so, and later let it be known that he had disappeared to Mazari Sharif. I bet it could be done. You just have to think outside the Royal Box.

Sorry kid. Better luck next war.

Intellectual and theological featherweight,
physical heavyweight,
political deadweight --

McDead at 73.

Now checking out the whole 72 Virgins thing for himself.


* "RATS!!! It's Papist!"

That's right, Jerry. Neener, neener, neener!

But even Falwell probably doesnt deserve a Hitchens obit.