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February 21, 2007

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The United States will defend Western Civilization without Western Civilization.

(Frame that!)

I can't help but think that this has something to do with Prince Harry. I'd suggest that by reducing at this point, it may be possible to stretch out rotations in such a way that he would serve a token tour without exposing himself as much. This requires a fair amount of imagining Blair as desperately trying to sit on an increasingly thinner fence, but I don't really have much trouble doing that.

lj: I can't help but think that this has something to do with Prince Harry.

I really doubt it. There will be a General Election in the whole of the UK in May 2008, and there are Scottish and Welsh national elections due before then. If Labour is to stand a chance of retaining power, UK troops have got to be gone or clearly going from Iraq. Blair got his reputation as Bliar when it became clear that he had, in fact, lied to Parliament about the justification for joining the US in the invasion. At the last General Election in May 2004, there was no credible alternative to Blair to vote for - yet the Conservatives still made a small gain in seats. This time around Blair and the rest of the Labour Cabinet must see that David Cameron is presenting himself as a more credible alternative to Blair. Certainly he is believed to be more honest.

I wish Robin Cook were still alive. Now he would have been a great challenger to Blair's leadership of the Labour Party, and I do not want another Conservative government in power so soon after we got rid of the last one.

I can't really argue with your viewpoint (well, I could, but it would be kinda stupid), but has the potential deployment of Prince Harry done anything about public opinion?

Also, what's happening with Gordon Brown? Did he over play his hand trying to get Blair to set a date?

And ditto on Robin Cook. I'm not sure if would have challenged, he seemed to be completely and totally disgusted with what happened, but it would have been wonderful if he had.

I agree that this probably has almost nothing to do with Prince Harry. For one thing, he's very unlikely to be deployed. You can't fit a four-man close protection team into a Scimitar. For another, the British public probably wouldn't mind if he were: his uncle, Prince Andrew, was a helicopter pilot in the Falklands, doing some extremely sporty stuff, and did quite well out of it. Capture is more of a worry than death, frankly.

This is probably happening for two reasons: first, the Iraq deployment is very unpopular; second, the Army is overstretched and the troops in Helmand are screaming for reinforcements.

Jes: minor point, but the last general election was 2005, not 2004. So there doesn't have to be another general before May 2010, although 2009 is more likely. Blair will almost certainly step down this year, and so will be long gone by the elections.
The Scottish and Welsh elections are due this year, both in May.

liberalj: but has the potential deployment of Prince Harry done anything about public opinion?

Well, it's certainly done wonders for Prince Harry's image. ;-) No, I don't think so. I mean, I personally do not care one way or the other about Prince Harry - go, not go, get killed, get wounded, survive - but: I'd say there's a fairly solid and consistent overlap of the set of people to whom the Royal Family does matter, and the set of people who would regard it as unconscionable if Prince Harry didn't go to Iraq when his regiment is deployed there. And to be absolutely cynical, quite literally the most popular thing Prince Harry could ever do in his life would be to be killed in Iraq.

Gosh, did I say that out loud? It's true, though.

The issue of what to do with potential heirs to the throne in war time has been met and dealt with before: Prince Andrew served as a pilot in the Falklands war. The Ministry of Defense will want to deploy Prince Harry where he's unlikely to come to harm: I don't think Blair is likely to see a need to bring the Iraq war to an end to avoid having Prince Harry deployed there at all.

ajay: minor point, but the last general election was 2005, not 2004. So there doesn't have to be another general before May 2010, although 2009 is more likely. Blair will almost certainly step down this year, and so will be long gone by the elections.

You're right, of course. I was commenting pre-coffee. Apologies for the confusion.

And to be absolutely cynical, quite literally the most popular thing Prince Harry could ever do in his life would be to be killed in Iraq. [Jesurgislac]

The same thing went through my mind though I thought more about the general royal angle. The family would lose both an embarassement and could point out that "we do our part too".

I also think that it is a desperate attempt by Blair to stop his image from going bad even more.

The Danes actually announced to withdraw their troops this year...

It would be a bit of a first. I can't think of the last time a member of the Royal Family was killed in combat. I shouldn't think it's happened in centuries. The last monarch to be killed in battle was Richard III (1485), but I don't know about princes or royal dukes. Mysterious flying-boat crashes during wartime, sure...

Mountbatten got murdered in Northern Ireland (by the IRA I think). Not actually in combat but as an official in a civil war area (and not just on a short visit).

"Mountbatten got murdered in Northern Ireland (by the IRA I think)."

The Provisional IRA, and he was on his yacht, which was blown up as he sailed near his summer home in County Sligo, which is in the Republic of Ireland, not Northern Ireland at all, actually. I don't think I'd characterize this as his being "an official in a civil war area."

An extremely interesting life, Mountbatten's, to be sure; I first read my first few biographies of him when I was circa 12-14. Always thought it was a shame that Project Habakkuk was never built out.

Of course, Mountbatten did have a distressing tendency to lose ships from under him. Right up until the last, really. Neither did Dieppe exactly come off well.

We're all wrong! Cheney: "Well, I look at it and see it is actually an affirmation that there are parts of Iraq where things are going pretty well,"

I don't think I'd characterize this as his being "an official in a civil war area."

I didn't do my homework properly it seems.
I thought I remembered that he was in NI in an official position and didn't check details.

At least he got a good movie out of the loss of a(his?) destroyer while the war was still on ;-) [Noel Coward's "In Which We Serve" is based on M's time in destroyers and he visited the sets]

"At least he got a good movie out of the loss of a(his?) destroyer while the war was still on ;-)"

Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, PC (nice mouthful, eh?; and that's without "Battenberg") lost HMS Kelly, a destroyer sunk in the Crete campaign in 1940.

But then he was promoted upwards, to command of the aircraft carrier Illustrious , which he got shot up in the Mediterrean. From there he was promoted upwards to head of British Combined Operations Command, where he presided over the Dieppe Raid, one of the worst cluster-fuggedaboutits by the Allies in the war. From there he was promoted upwards to commander of Southeast Asia Command (over Vinegar Joe Stilwell).

Then he was Viceroy of British India, and first Governor General of independent India, as hundreds of thousands of Indians and Pakistanis slaughtered each other, along with a population shift of some 12 million people, and he was promoted upwards -- of course -- to, eventually, First Sea Lord (chief of the Navy), and then Chief of the Defence Staff, and many more honours.

Basically, no matter how many people died under him, at each successive stage of his career, he failed upwards. It's a testament to the power of being Royal.

"Mediterranean," of course.

The India/Pakistan split disaster earned him the villain's role in "Jinnah" (Christopher Lee, who knew M personally, played the title character (J), one of his best performances btw).

Appearantly Harry still goes to Iraq, in two months time.

Lovely theory, slain by an ugly fact... ;^)

such is life, and it gets sucher all the time ;)

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