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Not Matt Drudge’s finest hour

The Ministry of Defence is to be commended (not often I write that) for the way they have handled Prince Harry going to Afghanistan. Aware that knowledge of his presence would greatly increase the risk to him and those serving with him (killing a Royal Prince would be a propaganda coup for the Taliban), they hid the fact for ten weeks, which is no small feat in this day and age. Their tactic was to both appeal to reason and to in effect ‘buy off’ the highly competitive UK media by promising juicy photos of Harry if they kept their collective cakeholes shut whilst he was deployed… quite clever really and it is a credit to the wiser heads amongst the UK press that they could see there was no broader ‘public interest’ at stake here (quite the opposite in fact).

I am all for the media and new media reporting the news and in particular news that the powers-that-be might be discomforted by. However reporting a wartime operation detail likely to increase the chance particular group of serving soldiers will attacked by the enemy (namely revealing the presence of a political ‘high value target’ in the war zone) fall way outside acceptable behaviour. Even if you oppose the war, such behaviour suggest you are not so much against the war as actually on the other side. It is at the very least socially despicable and quite frankly giving aid to an enemy in wartime. Unsurprisingly that is something far beyond the ken of a dim bulb like that self-important idiotarian ass Jon Snow.

Matt Drudge and the German Newspapers were not the first to mention where Prince Harry had been deployed, that dubious ‘honour’ goes to the Australian publication New Idea, who have at least expressed regret that they blew Prince Harry’s cover, suggesting they may be guilt of a lack of thought rather than callous disregard for someone’s safety in a war zone. The MoD kept quiet when New Idea first broke the story, suggesting they rather sensibly assumed an Australian woman’s magazine was probably not high on the reading list of many Muslim fundamentalists and indeed it took over a month for it to get picked up elsewhere. But the person who really moved this into wider circulation and got the story picked up globally was Matt Drudge. Although the Berliner Kurier and Bild also reported this, Drudge was at some point claiming this as an ‘exclusive’ and claiming the ‘credit’ for himself, so I will take him at his word and call him an honourless shit in that case.

135 comments to Not Matt Drudge’s finest hour

  • Cynic

    Of course, the most sensible thing would have been to not send him to Afghanistan. Then there would have been no risk of him being killed or captured by the Taliban. He is a total liability and I don’t think it was wise allowing him in the military.

  • I disagree. There is a long tradition of Royals in the military and if the Crown is to serve any useful social and political function, this is exactly the sort of thing that justifies their existence. The army fights for Queen and Country, not Prime Minister and Party, so there is considerable value to seeing one of the Queen’s own kin up the sharp end.

  • RAB

    I agree Perry.
    Um what Regiments are Tony Blairs two eldest in again?

  • J

    I think it’s a pity the MOD feels he can only be deployed secretly. It seems to me there’s a big difference between the enemy knowing he’s in-country and the enemy having any idea where exactly he is. One assumes his fellow soldiers wouldn’t be too scared to serve with him even if the enemy knew he was there.

    The benefits of him serving in Afghanistan are great, and the chances of his being killed or wounded are remote. He seems happy to accept the risk, and I assume his fellow soldiers are too. It’s a shame the MOD seems to feel differently.

  • Wyrd

    The whole situation does serve to illustrate the special problems faced by popular people who choose to serve.


    Furry cows moo and decompress.

  • Sorry J but I think you are a fool on this one. The moment the Taliban know he is there, they offer a bounty on his head. Moreover word gets out and people start looking at soldier’s faces to see if they can see him. All the news accounts indicate he is in a forward area, not some rear logistic base.

    Moreover all they need to know is his unit and figuring out where to go looking becomes trivially easy on the basic principle that the Taliban almost certainly know who there are facing where. The information he in in-country was absolutely an ‘active operational detail’, which is exactly the sort of thing any army does not like an enemy to know.

  • Cynic

    Well, this is going to be the case wherever he serves. Even if there never is a leak, there is a chance he could be killed or captured, and whatever foe it is will treat it as a huge propaganda victory.

    If Royals really must join the services, tell them to join the navy, not the bloody frontline infantry.

  • WalterBoswell

    Obama sez the British must be very proud, he’s sort of used Prince Harry’s deployment as an way of poking at the less involved NATO members.

    What would the death of Prince Harry do to the general populations of the U.K. resolve I wonder?

  • Well, this is going to be the case wherever he serves. Even if there never is a leak, there is a chance he could be killed or captured, and whatever foe it is will treat it as a huge propaganda victory.

    Yes, and it is PRECISELY by taking that risk rather than some safer option (such as a warship of the Armilla patrol for example, not there is anything wrong with RN service) that Prince Harry does great credit to himself and the Crown generally. The political and social value is gained not just by putting on the uniform but by actually going in harms way, which he has done to the best of his ability. What makes Drudge a shit is he actively sought to increase that risk above and beyond that of a normal infantryman.

  • Bexie

    I tend to agree with the maxim that those who rule the country should be prepared to fight for the country. Harry Windsor is a credit to his familly and the country. Pity we can’t send the cabinet there. Preferably with the same lack of equipment that has got so many of our soldiers killed.

  • RAB

    Strenghten it Walter, I believe.
    But I would never suggest it.
    Here is a young man who has been born to almost the greatest privileges on earth.
    Who need never work a day in his life, and yet there he is eyeball to eyeball with the Taliban because he feels it his duty.
    If I was from a darker skinned minority than I already am, I would say Respec’ Mon!
    Some good may come of this. A lot of people are never going to watch C4 News and that utter arse Jon Snow, ever again!
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=522823&in_page_id=1770
    Also he may be a target when he gets home.
    So stay away from Annabels.

  • If I was in charge (and I’m sure many people are glad I’m not) I would have sent Harry to the front, told everyone I was doing it and said to anyone with an interest in shooting at/capturing him “Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough.”

    Harry is a soldier, it is his job to go and fight where he’s told to fight. He seems quite willing to accept that, and those serving with him seem quite willing to accept it too. That there is such a fuss over Harry doing his job when the thousands of ‘normal’ squaddies who are sent barely get a mention unless they come home in a wheelchair or bodybag is disgusting. I’m wondering how long after he arrived it was before the taliban figured out that he was there.

    Jon Snow is a fool, I watched the channel 4 news last night and thought his arguments and manner disgusting. I think he may be sore at being left out of the loop.

    The likelyhood is that the taliban knew he was there not long after he arrived, if they didn’t then why is it taking so long for us to kick their goat-shagging behinds so hard they’re chewing on their lower intestines?

    He went, he served and he should be given the chance to continue serving, if the politicians had any idea of what being in the army is about then they would know that in the heat of the moment you are not fighting for lofty ideals, you are fighting for your life and the lives of those around you. Harry would be looked after, by the soldiers serving with him. His presence would (theoretically, at least) boost the morale of those around him and possibly drive them to feats of even greater courage and determination to win than if he wasn’t.

    He has gone and he should stay until his tour is up, just like every other squaddie.

  • Cynic

    But if he was to be killed or captured, that would only increase the risks to the rest of the troops by massively improving enemy morale and destroying troop morale on the British side. That is why is he a liability. Far more so than any other soldier. I don’t really give a damn about whether it is good PR for the Royal family to have Harry in Afghanistan. I don’t see why he couldn’t get a job in the private sector. Or is that too vulgar and bourgeois for his station?

  • The whole “Queen and Country” bit doesn’t register, eh Cynic? It’s what the army thinks, not what you think.

    Or is that too vulgar and bourgeois for his station?

    Try not to be a complete cunt.

  • Jon

    What’s amusing is that the mighty Drudge was out-scooped by some Australian women’s magazine by 6 weeks. If anything he should be embarrassed that he was so far out of the loop.

  • Mike Davies

    One reason the British Army is there is to act as bait for any Islamist wannabe. Lure them in and kill them with our superior firepower. The Prince’s presence would surely make that easier, as Islamists would take silly risks for the coup of bagging him.

  • Eric

    I’m sort of curious how this has been handled in the past. Surely Harry isn’t the first prince to serve in a forward unit?

  • Jason

    Am I right in thinking everyone knew about Prince Andrew’s RN involvement in the Falklands crisis?

    Am I also correct in thinking his job was to fly a helicopter in the way of incoming missiles?

    It was a while ago and I was only a child, but if memory does not deceive – and that’s a significant ‘if’ – there was a lot less old flannel about royalty actively serving in the military twenty-odd years ago.

  • “Um what Regiments are Tony Blairs two eldest in again?”

    The 1st Islington Reserves. Have any of NuLabor got sons or daughters in the military?

  • Ian B

    Isn’t everybody overlooking the point that if some gossip rag could find out, so could have the Taliban or anybody else?

  • Kevin B

    “Cry God, For Harry…”

    When the DoQ finnaly shuffles off this mortal coil and our EU masters push through their marginalization regionalization program then Scotland can have King Andy, Wales can have King Eddie and England can have King Harry.

    Wait, I’m forgetting one. Oh yes. South Georgia can have ‘king Charles. He can take his friend Archdruid Swampy with him. They’ll be able to play Wicker Man together.

    Meanwhile in an office in Whitehall…

    “What’s that Your Majesty….The Argies are coming. Well I’m afraid there’s not a lot we can do about that….

    “The Navy? Sorry Sir, both the ships are protecting the IoW ferry from terrorist attack….

    “No Sir. I’m afraid the Air Force used up this year’s supply of carbon credits at the Farnborough Air Show…

    “Well most of the troops are on ceremonial duty. We’ve been chosen to do the changing of the guard at Le Palace de Bruxelles this year…Yes Sir, we’re very proud….

    “Well I’m afraid our Merchant Navy is mostly owned by the Indians and we’re not exactly in their good books at the moment. That awful Kashmir business… Well what were we supposed to do?

    “If your father were still alive we might have persuaded that Greek chappie to lend us one of his cruise ships to fit the army in. We could even have sold the spare seats. Some kind of Green Antarctic adventure cruise or something…

    “Well, let us know how you get on and I’ll try and get a supply boat out to you as soon as possible..

    “What’s that? A year’s supply of tampons… I’ll do my best Sir… Bye.”

  • Jasper Kind

    Isn’t everybody overlooking the point that if some gossip rag could find out, so could have the Taliban or anybody else?

    I take it you didn’t read the article.

    “The MoD kept quiet when New Idea first broke the story, suggesting they rather sensibly assumed an Australian woman’s magazine was probably not high on the reading list of many Muslim fundamentalists and indeed it took over a month for it to get picked up elsewhere.”

    Drudge took a minor leak and made it a torrent.

  • Sorry Perry, but censorship is censorship and Matt Drudge – despite what one might think of his ‘journalism’ – has consistently done a great job in getting all sorts of stories out while other news organisations are unable to do so (either through a lack of will or ability). The Drudge Report is to be commended for both its will and ability, and its breaking of the story at hand indeed represents a fine hour for the site.

    One man’s relative safety emphatically does not justify media censorship in any form. If the MoD feels that it is better to keep the story suppressed, then perhaps they should review the need for having the story in the first place. That is, don’t make news that might endanger an entire operation by involving high-profile targets. Moreover, the very fact that a risk-assessment was made (rightly or wrongly) by the MoD not to send a Royal into a war zone, only for it to be overturned after an apparent threat by the individual in question, simply reeks of a form of privilege that has no place in a military organisation.

    Perhaps the “de” in your name betrays a soft spot for the aristocracy. But for my money a military organisation must not operate on the principle of special favours for “special” people. Likewise, the benefits of discouraging all forms of censorship (voluntary or otherwise) far outweigh the benefit of protecting unnecessary risks taken by a single person.

  • Ian B

    Jasper, you rather missed my point, I think.

  • Sorry Perry, but censorship is censorship

    Please quote back to me where I said the fucktard should be censored. You do know what censored means, right? An editorial position not to publish that would not be ‘censorship’.

    The UK press was not ‘censored’, it was induced to act reasonably and it did. No one would have gone to jail if they had not. Drudge is an honourless shit for putting people’s lives at risk and for what?

    Perhaps the “de” in your name betrays a soft spot for the aristocracy.

    Fuck off. Insulting jackass.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Chris,

    There are all sorts of high value targets routinely wheeled around war zones. Generals, secret weapons, supply trains, code books, high value prisoners, aircraft carriers, etc. Many times you need them there to prosecute the war, and you routinely protect them not only with force of arms, but also secrecy, deception, and subterfuge.

    The prince is a useful (and expensive) military asset, that we need on the front line. He’s there because we need him there, like every other soldier there. And so long as he’s as anonymous as any other soldier, the operational risks are much the same as for any other soldier. Under those conditions, there’s no operational reason why he shouldn’t go, other than privilege.

    The military do a deal with the press – journalists get told (some of) what’s going on, and in return they don’t put operations at risk. The military told them where Harry was, and that they’d get all the pictures and cooperation they wanted if they would wait a while. The public interest did not require immediate disclosure, quite the contrary, and the end result would be that the public would get a better, more complete and accurate story. The alternative is that journalists are treated as effectively being enemy spies and kept out of sensitive areas altogether. As in the old days, the public would get nothing but carefully-worded press releases and propaganda. That’s a possibility that’s a whole lot more likely now, thanks to this.

    Press freedom is a necessary power that is allowed for the sake of safeguarding freedom, and like all forms of power, needs to be exercised responsibly. We grant the power to governments to make laws and sign treaties and declare war without having to explain their reasoning to us in detail, but we expect them not to do such things for trivial or personal reasons. Likewise, we grant the right to the fourth estate to publish news that the powerful would rather was kept quiet, without having to ask permission of anyone, but we expect them to freely choose not to do so if there is good reason for the secrecy – to avoid doing harm, for example – and no great need for its publication.

    Press freedom serves the public interest, not the private interests of journalists. Some journalists seem to forget that.

  • magnetic north

    I hear that the unlovely Galloway complained about news organisations being part of the war effort.

    If you know a significant operational detail and you reveal it, you are helping one side’s war effort. If you conceal, you are helping the other.

    I feel Galloway just wanted more help for the side he prefers.

    BTW, someone can now open a book on which human rights lawyer will lead the war crimes case against the prince in about 3 years’ time. Think about it. He called in air strikes. People died. How hard can it be for the Taliban to persuade someone to give evidence that his brother (a farmer or an aid worker) was the victim of a royal murder.

  • Cynic

    We grant the power to governments to make laws and sign treaties and declare war without having to explain their reasoning to us in detail, but we expect them not to do such things for trivial or personal reasons.

    We truly are morons for granting such power to the politicos. Dodgy dossiers and Lisbon treaty come to mind……

  • Rey

    Wait, let me get this straight. Here in the US we criticize the POTUS for serving in the National Guard as a fighter pilot during Vietnam and not shipping his daughters off to Iraq, but in England we criticize the royals for sending a Prince to serve in Afghanistan???

    OK, anti-war-loonies, make up your dammed minds!!!!

  • magnetic north

    - OK, anti-war-loonies, make up your dammed minds!!!!

    Quite.

    The one thing on which their minds are made up is that Western powers and their friends only fight unjust wars. The rest is mere detail, which can always be spun in support of the cause.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Cynic,

    the people who vote for them possibly are.

    Democracy is the worst form of government apart from all those others that have been tried.

    The alternatives proposed all somehow seem to be variations on the theme of “People like us should be in charge”, for some strange reason. :-)

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: Perry
    RE: So….

    ….where are the princleings of old? Where is the Black Knight of today?

    Is it that all of England will die if they lose one princeling? Does the Prince of Wales have no other scion?

    Has the courage of Great Britain fallen so low?

    If I were Harry, I’d stay and say, “Have at you, varlets!”
    Enquiring minds want to know?

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)

  • Orion

    Oh, be real. Don’t you think the Taliban knew he was in Afghanistan? They’re not complete fools, after all. The extra guards on his bunkroom would have been a dead giveaway.

  • Chuck: I believe that it was not so much about protecting the prince, but the people who served with him.

    Oh, and what RAB said.

  • Miv Tucker

    Unsurprisingly that is something far beyond the ken of a dim bulb like that self-important idiotarian ass Jon Snow.

    Some years ago I was a volunteer in the Kentish Town branch of a particular chain of charity shops when Snow came in to the back with a bundle of clothes to donate, a not unreasonable thing to do, perhaps.

    But essaying jocularity, he pointed to one of his shirts and said, “This first saw the light of day on Channel 4,” the message of course being that he was Jon Snow, the famous newsreader! Perhaps the thought that we didn’t know who he was hadn’t occurred to him.

    The thought did occur to me, however, so I couldn’t resist asking him, in all earnestness, whether he worked for their costume department.

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO:
    RE: Yeah…Right….

    “Chuck: I believe that it was not so much about protecting the prince, but the people who served with him.” — Alisa

    …that’s why they joined the Royal Army in the first place.

    Sorry, dearie. Been there. Done that. You’re wrong.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [God is alive….and Airborne-Ranger qualified. And so am I.]

  • PaulV

    Eisenhower informed King that Churchhill wanted to go in on DDay. The King told Churchhill that if he went in the King would go also.

  • PaulV

    Eisenhower informed King that Churchhill wanted to go in on DDay. The King told Churchhill that if he went in the King would go also.

  • Chuck Pelto

    P.S. Stop molly-coddlying the man who would be king.

    Let him earn his spurs!

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: All
    RE: Deeper Thoughts

    I begin to suspect that this ‘government’ is very much afraid that the future King of England would be killed in honorable defense of his country.

    Why?

    Because it would likely, once again, arouse the fighting spirit that every part of Great Britain has been famous for for centuries.

    And that just would not do for Mr. Brown and his camp.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    P.S. If I were commander in Afghanistan, I’d use this ‘leak’ to great advantage.

    Oh. Look! The Prince shall be HERE on such and such a day…….then lay out the counter-ambush…..

  • Miv Tucker

    I think a few respondents here are confusing Harry with William – it’s Prince William who’s in line to be King, not Harry.

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: Miv Tucker
    RE: Thanks….

    “I think a few respondents here are confusing Harry with William – it’s Prince William who’s in line to be King, not Harry.” — Miv Tucker

    ….for disabusing me.

    However, I’ll point out that this is even MORE reason for Harry to stay and play with our friends.

    I’ll accept the blame for my ignorance and suggest that this ‘years’ General Election cycle has been more of a distraction than I care for.

    On the other hand, how much ‘insurance’ does the House of Stuart need, anyway?

    Should William be married by now? I’m not familiar with the British etiquette for such matters. But if Harry is the younger and he’s leading soldiers of the Royal Army in combat, it seems that William should be providing England with future commanders.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    P.S. I’m disappointed to hear that William is not doing the duty that Harry is.

  • Chuck, there’s no such thing as the “Royal Army” so somehow I doubt you’ve “Been there. Done that”. Maybe some other army. Or not. Who knows.

    And Prince Harry isn’t going to be King, William is, so forgive me if I conclude you do not know what the hell you’re talking about. This former squaddie on the other hand who really has been there and done that in the BRITISH Army…

    No one is mollycoddling Harry, they’re just not acting like macho pricks.

    Harry is by all accounts I’ve heard (second hand as I was a Green Jacket before they became The Rifles) is a perfectly passable bloke who even has the added advantage of not being excessively concerned with what he says.

  • Ragnell

    I must admit that I viewed Harry as an immature person with poor judgement. Yet, he wouldn’t have been the only young person to stumble during the often painful process of growing up. How messy the process, what matters is the final product.

    His recent behavior is evidence that he grown into a man of charecter; an asset for Britain.

  • On the other hand, how much ‘insurance’ does the House of Stuart need, anyway?

    Oh my Gawd almighty! You SO need to find a different thread to comment on!! Stow the entrenching tool and stop digging, man!

  • A Lale

    As a student of history, I’m very happy to see our elites participate in our national pastime. Standing shoulder to shoulder with their countrymen in exteme danger is a very good way of grafting various strands of Englishmen together. Always has been. Hopefully always will be.

  • At last Drudges true colors become evident. Some may even think over things he did in the past and wonder if some of the praise they offered was misplaced.

  • Ragnell

    umm, the house of Stuart? Even Americans know that is a blooper.

  • RAB

    God is alive….and Airborne-Ranger qualified. And so am I.]

    Oh good!
    That means your life expectancy is about 20 minutes…

  • Letalis Maximus, Esq.

    As I have said before: Bravo, Harry. Hope you “got some.”

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: Albion
    RE: Some Place Else

    “Chuck, there’s no such thing as the “Royal Army” so somehow I doubt you’ve “Been there. Done that”. Maybe some other army. Or not. Who knows.” — Albion

    I know. But you apparently don’t understand American very well. Certainly not US Army. Otherwise, tell me, how many Airborne-Rangers do they have in the Royal Army or British Royal Army or whateveryouwishtocallit Army?

    We don’t have any SAS or Royal Marines over here. Albeit we admire them as comrades-in-arms.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Don’t you just ‘love’ the English language? So many opportunities to be misunderstood…..]

  • Chuck Pelto

    P.S. Are you the infamous “perfidious Albion” Napoleon’s propagandists warned US about?

  • ‘Dearie’ – hmm. Chuck, maybe it’s bed time, and we could talk after your morning drink?

  • Perry’s quite right. I suppose its possible the situation’s entire parameters were not apparent to Drudge, and if he had it all to do over again, he would have spiked this story. The potential fallout from the story was not apparent, after all, to me and probably many readers.

    I want to give Drudge the benefit of the doubt here. At this point in his career, I don’t see him wanting any one story badly enough to make it worth deliberately endangering lives.

    And at the same time, it’s worth noting that what the Prince is doing is dangerous to begin with, and there is merit in having it made known that the Royal Family puts its collective money where its mouth is, so to speak. So there is another viable POV here. Nevertheless, Perry’s right and good for him.

  • RAB

    [Don’t you just ‘love’ the English language? So many opportunities to be misunderstood…..]

    Yes.

    But on this site, being an obscurantist is seen as taking the piss (Unless it’s me, and I usually am, but for a good cause)
    So what is your excuse my lovely chucklehound?

  • Don

    However reporting a wartime operation detail likely to increase the chance particular group of serving soldiers will attacked by the enemy..

    Pardon me, but isn’t that why there is a ‘Guard’, a sworn body of men to form the military organization be it formal or informal to serve alongside the personage of importance? Hasn’t it been a particular European tradition to seek the honor to be at the side of such a person? Have you allowed the bureaucrats to diminish the the very reason of existence of such bodies into nothing more than than a trivial stamp to be placed upon a piece of paper?

  • CJ

    I live in western Canada. My next-door neighbour is serving in a Canadian combat unit in Afghanistan. I just want to salute Prince Harry. What an example, what a credit to his country and his family.

  • Yank

    Hey, Brits – three cheers for the Prince. He went in harm’s way and he didn’t have to. As for calling him home, I suspect it is better that the Army erred on the side of caution. What would the criticism have been if he had been killed or maimed. And what about his comrades-in-arms – they had no choice as to whether they served with him or not, and what would have been the uproar if casualties resulted from an attack on the Prince.

    I am impressed with the use of language, however on this site. “Honourless shit” (can one be an honorable shit?) “complete cunt” (as distinguished from an incomplete cunt), and “insulting jackass” (an oxymoron?). And we yanks are called vulgar.
    Right on, Perry – your use of the King’s (Queen’s?) English is quite royal..

  • Richard Blaine

    Drudge seems quite pleased with the reaction to his coup. Different values, I guess. Or the lack thereof….

  • Richard Blaine

    Drudge seems quite pleased with the reaction to his coup. Different values, I guess. Or the lack thereof….

  • Michael Lonie

    Don,
    Prince Harry doesn’t get guards, he is part of the guards. Specifically his regiment, the Blues and Royals, is the Guards’ Armored Cavalry Reconnaissance regiment (as we might put it in the US).

    Good for Lt. Windsor, doing his duty in time of war. The Royal family generally has “the heir and the spare” in it (although Harry’s Grandmother produced several spares). Harry is the “spare.” As for the RN being safer, Harry’s Greatgrandfather served at Jutland, where he might have been blown to pieces by a German shell, burned to death, or drowned in a sinking battleship. His uncle Andrew might have been blown up by an Argie missile or lost at sea in the South Atlantic from an operational accident to his helicopter.

    And Chuck, the House of Windsor (originally Saxe-Coberg) is the name of the Royal Family. The last ruling Stuart died in 1714.

    On Drudge, I agree with Perry.

  • Wil Cruz

    Richard Blaine
    Of course , Drudge is pleased , he is far away and safe in his own home . Why does he have to worry about OPSEC and the lives of an English prince and his men when his main concern is getting more feathers in his cap so the old media would finally embrace him as one of their own .

  • Wil Cruz

    Chuck

    You are forgetting two things , the Black Prince during the Hundred Year war if captured was expected to be treated in accordance to the rules of chivalry which was a comfortable royal imprisonment and release after a honorable ransom was paid and second ,the Black Prince can easily disguise himself as an ordinary English soldier or a French serf if needed to be and can roam the French countryside at will without fear of being recognized by the French masses or even the French nobles . There was no internet , no DNA testing , no videos or TV to help with the identification of Prince Edward and no such thing as a press to do the reporting .

  • RAB

    Wil.
    Cruel but true.

  • Joshua

    Chuck Pelto:

    Should William be married by now? I’m not familiar with the British etiquette for such matters. But if Harry is the younger and he’s leading soldiers of the Royal Army in combat, it seems that William should be providing England with future commanders. …
    P.S. I’m disappointed to hear that William is not doing the duty that Harry is.

    There’s no particular reason to think that William ought to be married by now. William is 25; his father Prince Charles married at 32, his uncle Prince Andrew married at 26, and his uncle Prince Edward married at 35.

    Also, William is currently doing military service, although he hasn’t been sent to a combat zone.

  • Perry de Havilland:

    Please quote back to me where I said the fucktard should be censored.

    “However reporting a wartime operation detail likely to increase the chance particular group of serving soldiers will attacked by the enemy (namely revealing the presence of a political ‘high value target’ in the war zone) fall way outside acceptable behaviour. ”

    You do know what censored means, right?

    Yes.

    An editorial position not to publish that would not be ‘censorship’.

    No. It is censorship. In this case, the editor is acting as the censor. Under a degree of government influence no less. This certainly isn’t government censorship full stop – It is mischievous, however, in that it’s an example of government influence over a free press. Frankly, the editors involved ought to be ashamed of the disservice they have done to their profession.

    Any agreement to suppress information of this Royal is censorship precisely because it is the suppression of material considered sensitive, as determined by a censor. The Wikipedia definition suits us just fine here.

    Now, I don’t believe all censorship is wrong. I self-censor (ie. keep secrets) all the time. Indeed, I’m required by law and honour to do so on a regular basis. The point is, however, that censoring a free press is harmful. It doesn’t matter if it is voluntary censorship by editors, or mandatory censorship by government censors, or some degree in between. The suppression of information in such cases encourages sloppy, paternalistic governance. That is the mischief to be avoided here.

    The UK press was not ‘censored’, it was induced to act reasonably and it did.

    Clearly it is the reasonableness of the situation that we disagree on here. I believe that you take the view that censorship of or by the press is reasonable in situations of expediency for the armed services. I believe that censorship of or by the press is not reasonable under any circumstances. If the armed services need to keep a secret for their own expeiency, then they damn well ought to keep the secret. If the secret is too hard to keep (eg. letting a celebrity play army in a warzone full of reporters), then pressuring the free press is not the solution. Avoiding the need to keep the secret (eg. letting the celebrity run around the Surrey countryside with blanks in his magazine) is the better answer.

    Drudge is an honourless shit for putting people’s lives at risk and for what?

    The celebrity in question is an honourless shit for putting the lives of his comrades at risk and for what? (Answer: for a chance to play out a boyhood fantasy of running around with guns and live ammunition).

    He had a chance to avoid putting his comrades in danger by staying at home. He chose to push the matter, pull strings, and make the trip. He’s going to have to suffer the consequences when the increase in attacks on British forces in Afghanistan leads to a real increase in real casualties there. Just to be clear, as far as the operation goes, he’s a dime-a-dozen second lieutenant who is not specifically needed there. What arrogance suggests that he is so useful that special efforts should be taken to compensate for the baggage of his celebrity?

    Which is essentially my point. What is wrong with the picture when a privileged member of (the thankfully limited remnants of) the aristocracy uses his privilege to overturn a previously-made (and sensible) decision to keep him from needlessly endangering the lives of his colleagues for no better reason than to play army in a warzone all the while deluding himself with the idea that he’s a “regular bloke”? With influence put on to the free press to go along with the whole thing, to boot. Come on.

    What’s even more wacky about this whole thing is that Monsieur de Havilland’s endorsement of the scheme seems to imply that all this is somehow libertarian. Wake up people. It’s not. It’s authoritarianism.

    I’ll make my own fucking decisions about the news that I think is reasonable to consume. And I’ll be damned if I’m ever forced to serve alongside some needless celebrity bullet-magnet who thinks hanging out with me on the front line is hunkey-dorey.

    Perhaps the “de” in your name betrays a soft spot for the aristocracy.

    Fuck off. Insulting jackass.

    Good one. Authoritarian apologist.

    Pa Annoyed:

    There are all sorts of high value targets routinely wheeled around war zones. Generals, secret weapons, supply trains, code books, high value prisoners, aircraft carriers, etc.

    Yes. If you’re going to have them, keep them secret. If it’s too hard to keep something secret, don’t bring it in there (and find another strategy). Don’t involve the free press.

    Many times you need them there to prosecute the war, and you routinely protect them not only with force of arms, but also secrecy, deception, and subterfuge.

    Maybe. No doubt prosecuting a war is easier when the civilian populace (both inside and outside the theatre of war) are subdued to such an extent that secrecy, deception and subterfuge are useful tools of the trade. But I think liberty is more important than that, and it’s not worth it to me if the price to be paid for the armed forces’s benefit costs me my liberty. Are you really advocating that the state ought to be able to hoodwink its own citizens?

    Here’s an analogy: It’s easier to police in an authoritarian state because the state is able to employ tools such as ID cards, constant surveillance, random search and seizure, and so on. But the price paid in terms of liberty to achieve such an authoritarian state is unthinkable (at least I would have thought so here of all places). But we don’t let our police maintain a DNA database, nor do we place the onus on an accused to prove his own innocence, precisely because we value liberty over authority and we’ve decided we’re willing to pay the price for the former. Maybe it takes longer to solve crimes. Maybe we don’t always catch killers. But we’re free.

    Likewise, it’s probably easier to prosecute a war in an authoritarian state because there is no opposition to censoring things like, say, a celebrity high-value target in a warzone. But the price paid in terms of liberty is also unthinkable. Let the armed forces keep their secrets in times of war. But not through informal agreements with the free press. And if keeping the secret that some celebrity thrill-seeker is present in a theatre of war is too difficult – then don’t let celebrity thrill-seekers over there. Quite simple, really.

    Just so that we don’t forget here, we need to do, as libertarians, demand that the war is prosecuted in such a way that doesn’t undermine our liberty. Otherwise, what’s the point?

    The prince is a useful (and expensive) military asset, that we need on the front line. He’s there because we need him there, like every other soldier there. And so long as he’s as anonymous as any other soldier, the operational risks are much the same as for any other soldier.

    No. There is another second lieutenant fit to do the job. There is no reason to waste precious operational resources worrying about the celebrity in question, and the additional resources required to cajole editors into keeping quiet about the whole thing? Those resources are better spent elsewhere.

  • RAB

    Holy god!
    Tell me one more time Chris
    What colour is the sky?

  • off a cough

    The MoD is foolish to have announced his withdrawl. Instead, they should fed Matt Drudge a bunch of horsecrap that included GPS coordinates of where the prince takes a leak each morning at 8:05am.

    And then blow the living crap out of anything that shows up there at 8:05am.

    Repeat.

  • Xanthippe

    What I don’t understand is this. When I looked at the Daily Mail online today, there was a plethora of articles, pictures and video of warrior Prince Harry. What’s with all the media regarding his deployment the day after his cover is blown?

    Unless perhaps it was purposely blown for some reason. Maybe Buckingham Palace wanted him home after a short stint as soldier.

    Who knows? But it sure seems strange that something so hush hush was so well covered.

  • What I don’t understand is this. When I looked at the Daily Mail online today, there was a plethora of articles, pictures and video of warrior Prince Harry.

    Simple. MOD promised the media a shed load of Harry-in-action shots if they just stayed quiet while he was actually out there and it was working, more or less… so this was part of the deal (i.e. their reward for playing along). The idea was to wait until after he finished but such is life, eh? As the UK lived up to their end, they wanted their reward. Fair ’nuff.

  • Greta

    If Prince Harry wants to serve, let him, but also let him share in all the responsibilities of service. This doesn’t mean whisking him home at the first sign of “real” danger. This is a war, after all. Aren’t the soldiers in harm’s way already? Isn’t that the point? And what does this do to the morale of his fellow soldiers who will be left behind?
    Taking him out only emphasizes the privileged position he was hoping to counter. He gets a ticket home and everyone else is left only with the renewed knowledge that they won’t.

  • Don Meaker

    I am pretty sure that the Taliban have a price on the head of any soldier/marine/airman/sailor (US Navy provides corpsmen to the Marines) in Afghanistan.

  • Wil Cruz

    Chris Knight

    You have no idea what you are talking about , do you ? Let me tell you something , a free press becomes tyranny when they think they are above common decency , common sense and the law as well as forgetting that they have responsibilities attached to their right as being the Free Press . If the press have no obligation to help the military in keeping their troop movements , supply train , personnel movements and such secret , the military will then have several options to keep the free press out of everything . Why would the military cater to the free press who can get them killed when it’s easier to a) ban them from the battlefield b) imprison them or c) kill them along with their colleagues at the home front as spies and traitors .

    In regard to secrets , it is very hard to keep a military secret for one simple reason , the military is composed of people who have various flaws , same as the general population at large and unless they are Special ops , conventional forces tend to move in formations that are very hard to miss . As for why generals have to be in the front , they need to see the battlefield with own eyes because seeing the battlefield tells more about your enemy and their intentions than sitting in a god-damn bunker listening to officers who in the stress of the moment might not be too forth coming with their assessment of the enemy , why do military supplies need to be in front , why do code books need to be in front , why do the location of military reserves and their numbers need to be in secret . Simple , they are damn useless when they are far away from the battlefield . Same thing with the fleet movement , it’s a well known fact the ships can avoid satellite detection during maneuvers , but one word from the press about where they are going and all their fancy dancing on the ocean means squat if the enemy is either waiting for them in ambush or had moved to another location .

    Let me see now , how tight was the censorship in the British Isles from 1943 till D-Day . It was tight enough that the British towns where the invasion forces were based where subjected to censorship that would make your head spin . Hell, knowing where the airborne divisions stationed and what they were training for would be enough for Hitler and the Germans to guess where the invasion would probably be . Letters were read and if I guess correctly , all the calls were being listened to by MI-5. Much more , on the final days before the invasion especially on coastal towns , large parts of said towns became off limits to civilians and residents in those no-go zones were temporarily shipped put to temporary areas until the troops were all in the transports and long gone . And the press were forced to keep quiet and play along or else . Not quite libertarian of the Greatest Generation, is it??

    As for Harry , guess what , if the prince wants to be a soldier , good for him . And if he gets shot during his tour in which he volunteered for , well tough luck , he knew the risks because he is there as 2nd Lt Windsor and not Prince Harry , third line for the throne of UK and all soldiers take their chances in a war zone . What he did was no different on what movie stars like Clark Gable , Jimmy Stewart ,David Niven and others had done during WWII .Did somebody asked Clark Gable what it felt like having a bounty on his head that was placed by Adolf Hitler and he had to share the damn thing with nine other men in a B-17 bomber flying over Germany six times during his tour of duty . Hell , I will bet you that if the Germans knew what plane Gable was on , they would have no problems making sure that Gable would end up as a trophy case for Hitler .

    As for finding a second Lieutenant that will do the same tasks as Harry , guess what . If I have a Royal 2nd LT who is willing to go to harms way for a four month tour and is already trained to do his duty , why would I reject him for another 2nd LT FAC when the pool of available FACs are small to begin with .

    Greta

    The LT is at the tip of the spearhead in an isolated outpost where the enemy is 500 yards away and for all intents and purposes , out number you 3 to 1 . And consider the enemy , they are looking for a propaganda coup due to their losses from the Americans and NATO forces , the men and materiel lost in the doing would pale in comparison if they capture LT Windsor dead or alive for propaganda purposes . LT Windsor would not care one way or the other , but his duty to his comrades and country must come first . If his leaving would prevent suicide attacks on his out post as well as potential humiliation of his country for losing him to the enemy , then so be it . If I am a betting man , I won’t be surprised to see him back again in the front lines , this time working with combine American and British forces . Honestly , the Taliban would pay very ,very dearly to capture the prince if they dared . A quick reaction force made up of Spec-ops and conventional troops are just a holler away and the MOD made sure of that and the Gurkhas , who are also mountain people would make the Taliban wished they were somewhere else .

  • pete

    Prince Harry – Huzza for your service from a ‘center of North America’ citizen and I am sorry an American ‘Journalist’ “had” to shorten said service.

  • lucklucky

    I surprised by this critique. If it was so widespread the knowledge this even might have saved the live of the Prince.

  • Robert

    Cheers to Harry for his service. I’m American myself, but it’s good seeing Harry step up and put his ass on the line like he did. Given the chance, I think the Taliban would have put it all on the line to capture him and it’s a brave man that can go into a fight knowing that. He deserves much respect for that.

    And I agree with Mr. de Havilland. Jeers to Drudge. He can keep his trap shut about the President visiting Baghdad one Thanksgiving, but he can’t keep it shut to let Harry perform the duties he’s been begging to perform? Come on, Matt, 1776 was a long time ago. The British Monarchy isn’t so bad these days. Breaking this story, he risked putting a decent young man and his buddies in unnecessary danger and led to his recall away from his comrades. Just…fucking…low.

  • MB

    Chris,
    On the one hand you indicate that you are for the integrity of press, with no holds barred (even if it means that to do so would aid enemy position.)

    And on the other you seem to question Harry’s integrity to do the front-line service, required by his fellow comrade servicemen…

    Which is it? You cannot be against extra privilege in one area; and be for extra privilege in another. And to make it clear… Adverting front line position would have required the use of extra privilege

    (Something the “de” you insulted, has already said.)

    If the press is exonerated from protecting the troops, then why is the Prince not exonerated by what you claim to be his, “chance to avoid putting his comrades in danger by staying at home created a increase more potential for attack.”

    And: “the increase in attacks on British forces in Afghanistan leads to a real increase in real casualties there”… is (at best) highly one-sided…
    I’ll take that back… Highly “wrong-sided.”

  • Jack

    Chris Knight:
    “But for my money a military organisation must not operate on the principle of special favours for “special” people. Likewise, the benefits of discouraging all forms of censorship (voluntary or otherwise) far outweigh the benefit of protecting unnecessary risks taken by a single person.

    Dear God, I hope you’re never in charge of any sensitive information. Except maybe the enemy’s, so we can get it. You’re even against “voluntary censorship”? Really, have you ever been in charge of sensitive info? Or have you lived your life from an armchair, reading theory and thinking yourself an “expert”?

    I mean, do you *really* consider England “authoritatian” because of “informal agreements with the press”? Are you at all familiar with history? Do you know what authoritarian really means? Fidel was authoritarian. Putin is increasingly authoritarian. Calling England ‘authoritarian’ weakens the concept almost to meaninglessness.

  • Bogdan of Australia

    The simple truth is that the bitches from The New Idea should have known what would be the implication of an early release of P.Harry’s details. Couldn’t they, in doubt, just ring the MoD and aske them? Equally couldn’t MD do the same? I fully agree with Perry that those journalistic rats smell shit.

  • Pa Annoyed

    “Yes. If you’re going to have them, keep them secret. If it’s too hard to keep something secret, don’t bring it in there (and find another strategy). Don’t involve the free press.”

    From a military point of view, it’s very easy to keep a secret – you just shoot every member of the free press you see on sight. Or alternatively, simply don’t have a free press.

    It’s a compromise from both sides. The military would like to have closed off areas where the press can’t go, but that has the risk that they will use that to do stuff they shouldn’t, war crimes and so forth. Likewise with government – they’d really like to get rid of all this transparency stuff, so they could use the claim of protecting national security to hide their corruption. They would like to keep everything secret.

    This, in the modern world, is considered to be bad. We want our journalists to be able to expose stuff that we need to know. However, most people also accept that some stuff, which is part of the normal business of governments and militaries, does need to be kept secret from us. How can we make sure we find out about it when they’re screwing us without screwing ourselves when they’re not? You can’t just ask the military to tell us if they’re hiding something like that from us.

    There is lots of stuff the press know, but don’t publish. Most famously, the names of their anonymous sources. But also the addresses of battered wives and other victims of violent criminal threats, evidence in cases still sub judice, who the police are looking for, where they’re looking, and what they know in criminal cases, damaging accusations for which they have no proof, private information about people in which there is no public interest, information that could aid crimes to be committed, or to help criminals get away with it, the web addresses of child porn sites and the means to access them without being traced, the addresses of rich people who might pay ransoms and where their adorable little children go to school, recipes for home-made explosives and poisons, and so on.

    ‘Freedom’ doesn’t imply the freedom to commit murder, it requires a degree of responsible self-restraint. I won’t ban the sale of kitchen knives on the basis that you could use one to kill somebody. But if you do kill someone anyway, I don’t accept as a defence your claim that freedom of action is absolute, and if we wanted to avoid people being stabbed we shouldn’t have let you have the knife. A freedom in which you can do anything you like because you are guarded from anything that might do harm is no freedom. And a press freedom in which they can publish anything they get their hands on because we keep everything that could do anyone harm a secret is not freedom of information. It is a padded cell, with only blunted crayons to write with.

  • Matt Drudge isn’t “honorless”, but has his own code of honor. He doesn’t sit on stories or believe that news should be sequestered from the public. He’s being perfectly consistent with what happened when he had advanced knowledge of the Lewinski affair, but saw every MSM outlet spiking the story.

    The principle to be applied here is “Better Burglars make Better Locks”. Prince Harry was in mortal danger over in Afghanistan, as was any soldier around him. Drudge couldn’t have made that more or less true by reporting or not reporting information. The royal family should be glad that Drudge decided to blare it on his website so they can get Harry outta there, rather than having Al Qaeda operatives find out about the story in a Australian Woman’s magazine and hunt Harry down from there unbeknownst to anyone in the MoD.

    The real problem here is that the Royal Family are basically people held captive in a guilded cage by the celebrity-obsessed soul-sucking British public. A cage that there ancestors build for them centuries ago. That’s what happens to people who try to be loved and be superior to everyone. They end up being hated and harassed by everyone.

    Every man engages in a cold war against humanity at large. Celebrities are the misfortunate people who tried to be diplomatic and end that cold war, a tactic that only emboldens the enemy.

  • So Chris Knight thinks calling for decency and reasonable behaviour is “censorship”. The term moonbat was invented by the author of this article and you know what? It fits you perfectly.

  • Panther

    I agree with Perry

    Hell! If i were drudge, i would have ignored this story like the plague! Precisely because of the type of scumbags Prince Harry was fighting against, are highly specialized in this area of warfare – DUH! It really doesn’t really require a rocket scientist to easily manipulate the media to spin their style of propaganda! I’d highly prefer the Prince to come back home to his country alive, after doing his duty proudly; Rather then end up like four of my countrymen, those same four American contractors, who were strung up on a Fallujah bridge like cattle waiting too be slaughtered! Do some of my countrymen even get it… what could have taken place?

    If i were Prince Harry, i would be extremely pissed off at a particular American!

    If i were a Taliban/Al Qadea member, i would start reading Australian women’s magazines from now on! On those days when the information happens to come slowly, then atleast there would be some kinky idea’s that could be tried out with abdul in one of those less travelled caves! Who knows… maybe osama would want too join in on a threesome with them? My god… i feel like i am going to throw up now!

  • Wil Cruz:

    You have no idea what you are talking about , do you ?

    In fact, I have no doubt whatsoever about what I’m talking about. My position is clear: In a free society, it is not up to the state to restrain information from its citizens. Likewise, it is the responsibility of the free press to convey such information to the citizenry. It’s up to individual citizens to make use or not make use of the information, as each individual citizen decides.

    It is much easier for a state agency to go about its business if it can suppress certain types of information. If it can suppress information by way of cajoling a free press, or by way of denying a free press altogether, its job will be made easier under some circumstances. This holds true for the Inland Revenue as much as it holds true for the Ministry of Defence.

    We’ve decided as free citizens, however, that the burden we instruct our state to bear so that we may maintain our freedom is its an inability to (a) suppress a free press, and (b) keep secrets from us indefinitely. It’s up to us as individual, free citizens to make judgments about what information is important or useful. With respect to (b), secrets may be kept by the state, but only for a limited duration. And with respect to (a), the state may not interfere with the operation of a free press. In a practical sense, a state agency need not volunteer information if it is relying on (b), but it cannot interfere with the press if the information emerges independently through (a).

    Anything less is simply to encourage a state in which it is too easy for state agencies to garner a degree of unjustified authority. Now don’t mistake this position for an opinion that it is easier for a state’s armed forces to prosecute a war. It isn’t. It is much more difficult to fight in an open society than in a closed society. But it is just.

    Now I think the opposing argument that is being advanced is that because keeping military secrets is so hard, the state is justified in finding ways to suppress the dissemination of military information not only by keeping its own secrets, but also by influencing the free press. This is a slope that is otherwise too slippery – it’s the kind of thinking that justifies bans on the reporting of convicted criminals living in neighbourhoods, or interference in the reporting of embarrassing data losses by state agencies, or the use of secret courts and lawyers to convict individuals the state deems sensitive. I have a better idea – constrain the state from exercising any such powers.

    MB:

    On the one hand you indicate that you are for the integrity of press, with no holds barred (even if it means that to do so would aid enemy position.) And on the other you seem to question Harry’s integrity to do the front-line service, required by his fellow comrade servicemen… Which is it? You cannot be against extra privilege in one area; and be for extra privilege in another. And to make it clear… Adverting front line position would have required the use of extra privilege

    The privilege of one man, and the privilege of a profession are different things. I’m not opposed to the privilege of groups within society so long as that privilege is strictly designed to enhance the freedom of all individuals within society. An independent judiciary is an example. So is a free press. You are making a category-mistake comparing a privileged group with a privileged individual.

    Jack:

    Dear God, I hope you’re never in charge of any sensitive information. Except maybe the enemy’s, so we can get it. You’re even against “voluntary censorship”? Really, have you ever been in charge of sensitive info? Or have you lived your life from an armchair, reading theory and thinking yourself an “expert”?

    Please go back and read what I’ve written. I think you’ll find that I’m in favour of “voluntary censorship” by individuals (and even state agencies to a certain extent), but not of the free press.

    I have not simply lived my life from an armchair – I live my life according to the principles that I believe are just, and I practice them on a daily basis. I note, too, that I seem to be one of the few participants in this debate willing to back up my views with my real reputation. Why hide behind anonymity, Jack?

    Do you know what authoritarian really means? Fidel was authoritarian. Putin is increasingly authoritarian. Calling England ‘authoritarian’ weakens the concept almost to meaninglessness.

    I do know what authoritarian really means. England was once much more authoritarian than it is now. But it was also much less authoritarian at one time, too. Calling England less authoritarian now than it was in 1930 also weakens the concept.

    Pa Annoyed:

    ‘Freedom’ doesn’t imply the freedom to commit murder, it requires a degree of responsible self-restraint.

    Yes, I think you’re starting to understand the libertarian position. Responsible self-restraint of the individual free citizen is absolutely required. Not the coercion of the state, its agencies, or those falling under its influence. Individuals like you and I decide what news should or shouldn’t make its way to us. Not Whitehall, and not Fleet Street acting under the influence of Whitehall.

    Finally, MB:

    (Something the “de” you insulted, has already said.)

    I think “de” can stand up for himself, and his “Fuck off. Insulting jackass.” was a good attempt. Nobody respects lap-dogs.

  • Maria S. Johnson:

    The term moonbat was invented by the author of this article and you know what? It fits you perfectly.

    Perry invented “moonbat”? Cool. I identify more with “wingnut”, however.

  • In fact, I have no doubt whatsoever about what I’m talking about. My position is clear:

    Quite so, very clear. My objection is that your views have a poor relationship to objective reality, not that you are incoherent. As another commenter mentioned, I invented the epithet ‘moonbat’ as a quite politically ecumenical term to describe people whose opinions forsake sanity for the sake of consistency and your notions do seem to fit into that category quite well. Although the term is generally in use on the ‘right’ to describe elements of the ‘left’, I actually had a certain ilk of fellow libertarians in mind primarily.

    In a free society, it is not up to the state to restrain information from its citizens. Likewise, it is the responsibility of the free press to convey such information to the citizenry. It’s up to individual citizens to make use or not make use of the information, as each individual citizen decides.

    No doubt when an air raid warden came knocking on your door in 1942 and asked you to draw your curtains so that you do not break blackout, you would indignantly demand your right as a free ‘citizen’ (whatever that means) to convey whatever information you please to whoever you please. And I am sure your sense of victimhood will just be enhanced when your angry neighbours kick in your door, smash your lights and probably kick your head in for endangering them and their families, all whilst inexplicably ignoring your attempt to lecture them about the non-aggression principle whilst another group of Luftwaffe bombers fly overhead on their way to London.

  • Rykehaven

    As many people have already said, the chances of this British prince being killed were remote. Part of that has to do with the operational tempo of the Brits. A couple of guys I talked to in the 87th mentioned that they were in “force-protection mode”. The brass even had to impel them to take patrols outside the base horizon (nevermind near population centers and main arteries) and even then they’de take weeks to “plan” it. They basically lack initiative and most of the guys ask the Brits the same thing they ask themselves:

    “Why are they here?”

    So, no, their Prince wasn’t really in any danger; it’s not the type of tour our guys would write home about. But to hear the British media talk about it, it sounds like he stormed Mosul and Fallujah in Iraq, then made raids up and down the Pakistani border. Not quite, and looking back, I can see why some of the British in 2002 were so resentful. It can be tough to be labeled a “hero” by the British public, then not be allowed to live up to the title because you’re afraid of getting hurt.

    That said, there’s a little dissapointment running through the ranks from my side. Plenty of guys were generally dismissive of the idea of the Prince in Afghanistan (as you can expect, most US soldiers, sailors and airmen don’t give a rat’s ass).

    Basically, there are three camps in the US military:

    Camp 1) The “we’re too busy” camp which includes the vast majority of us. They range from “Prince who?” to “Hey, she’s hot!” to “Can you see me working here?!”

    Basically, we don’t care about Royal REMFs; the self-worship of the British aristocracy is not the center of our lives.

    Camp 2) The “He tucked tail” camp. Harry in OEF was a good thing because it might have forced the Brits to be more assertive in protecting their prince. He could have invited the Taliban’s henchmen to expose themselves. Basically, “fly-paper” operation. More than a few of our groundpounders would be grateful if the Taliban would come out and fight. That base of their’s is so remote with no cover that any approach within x miles is suicidal if the Brits are on their game.

    As it was, the Prince and his handlers couldn’t even handle THAT miniscule level of risk…if my unit/ship withdrew from our AOR like this, we’d be branded a disgrace.

    Camp 3) The British did the right thing in withdrawing him “because, if it were me, I wouldn’t want to be a burden to my unit”.

    ————————————————————

    I understand the sentiment and I’m sure it’s out there. But this goes to the heart of the question of the British contribution in OEF:

    “Are you here to fight the enemy?”

    “Or are you here to lay low and take pictures so you can go home a ‘hero?'”

  • Pa Annoyed

    Starting? Starting?!

    This is exactly the position we have held all along. Fleet street editors are also “individuals like you and I”, and likewise responsible for deciding when something really shouldn’t get out.

    Unless you’re proposing that they release everything so that we can decide what to stuff back in the box?

    Is it simply because it was the government asking? That irrespective of how sensible it might seem or how logical the argument might be, if the government asks you to keep something quiet, it is your duty to immediately blab it to the whole world?

    Nobody here, and I mean nobody is arguing that what Drudge did was wrong because it was against orders from the MOD. They’re arguing that it was wrong because it hurt our side and our interests, helped the Taliban, and achieved absolutely no useful purpose. This was not a scandal the military were trying to cover up. It was not an abuse of our trust. It was not a significant moral issue we needed to know about and decide upon. It was not even a significant piece of history we would never otherwise get to find out about. It’s merely a childish “they want to keep it secret, so let’s spoil it for them” sort of game. A “look at all those suckers waiting in line, while I push my way to the head of the queue and barge through the door” arrogant greed for an ephemeral scoop.

    “Individuals like you and I decide what news should or shouldn’t make its way to us.” Exactly right. And individuals up and down the country have decided that this was news that shouldn’t have made its way to us. So now that we’ve all decided that, how do you propose we go about undoing its release?

  • So, no, their Prince wasn’t really in any danger

    Sheesh, what a dickhead. So he was within direct fire range of the Taliban but there wasn’t really much danger. Bullets. They go both ways, mate.

    Basically, there are three camps in the US military:

    Who gives a fuck? You don’t know jack shit about the “tempo” in Helmand.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Leaving aside the question of the immediate issue of whether a royal could or should serve in active military roles (I think he should), the breaking of a secret by the media, on an issue which has potential life or death consequences for many people, should be seen as a treasonable act. I’d like to check what the penalty is for that these days.

    A typically asinine contribution from “Cynic”, as usual.

  • Plamus

    I think a few unwarranted assumptions are being made here:

    1. The information Matt Drudge distributed is helping the enemy and hurting any friends. Would the troops in Afghanistan rather not take on suicidal nutjobs coming to them, rather than have to go out and seek them? (Rykehaven’s point)
    2. The information was kept secret out of operational necessity. I find it quite a bit more likely that the military wanted to keep a “secret” just so when it’s inevitably blown, they can withdraw the Prince to safety, and not have to deal with the political baggage that comes with such a package. “Hey, we gave him a chance, photos are taken, cover’s blown, back to clubbing in London.”

    Until it’s clear that Drudge caused any harm, I am with him on this. Yes, yes, freedom of speech, but “Fire!” in a crowded theater… But… Perry, where is the fire?

  • Pa Annoyed

    Rykehaven,

    You could think of it, if you like, as a counterpoint to all those old jokes about the Americans acting like irresponsible trigger-happy cowboys. When the Taliban shoot, the British duck; when the British shoot, the Taliban duck; when the Americans shoot, everybody ducks! No offence, right?

    Faction 1 have got it right, apart from thinking there’s any self-worship going on. It shouldn’t matter who he is. Faction 2 ought to know that you don’t lay your own real live soft parts in the bear trap as bait unless you have no other choice. A bit of constructive lying can be a useful option, though. Faction 3 isn’t so bad, but it’s not about whether he thinks he’s a burden to his unit or not, it’s about what his commanders think is needed to get the job done. Or did you think it was his decision to pull out?

    Are we here to fight the enemy? No. We’re here to get the Afghans in good shape to fight the enemy. Fighting the enemy is only a means to that end.

    The pictures are only to get the press off their backs – the Royals spend most of their lives hiding from cameras, they don’t need it. Why won’t anyone believe that he might just be a young man who didn’t choose to be who he is trying to live a normal life and to do a useful job?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I’ll make my own fucking decisions about the news that I think is reasonable to consume. And I’ll be damned if I’m ever forced to serve alongside some needless celebrity bullet-magnet who thinks hanging out with me on the front line is hunkey-dorey.

    Getting quite angry, aren’t we, Mr Knight. Aha, so once we strip away all the crud about “censorship”, we get a chip-on-the-shoulder rant about how Prince Harry, who by all accounts has had to endure the same risks as his fellow soldiers, is a “needless celebrity bullet-magnet”. From what I read, Harry’s fellow officers and soldiers are happy to have him by their side.

    No, Chris, he is a member of the British royal family, which, given its symbolic position as the head of the British state, has traditionally provided some of the official heads of the British armed services and in some cases (such as Prince Andrew during the Falklands War), served in potentially dangerous roles. And that is one of the reasons why people tolerate the priviledges of royals: in return, they are expected to serve their country. I think it is pretty fair to say that Prince Harry has done just that.

    A broader point about secrecy and war: deception is used all the time to defeat enemies. Just imagine if a dickhead like Matt Drudge had stumbled upon the Enigma code-breaking teams at Bletchley Park or somesuch. Do you honestly imagine that for a second, had he revealed this and broken government “censorship”, that he would be facing the hangman’s noose?

    We are in a war, Chris. Lives are at stake. That means that when newspapers are asked to keep quiet about a military action for a specified period, they do so. It has been standard practice, although no doubt not always scrupulously enforced. Of course, newspapers are free to break military secrets, just as the rest of us are entitled to regard them as menaces.

    Your general comments are also a slur on the bravery of someone who has not asked for special treatment.
    I’ll be toasting the prince on St George’s Day.

  • Perry de Havilland:

    Quite so, very clear. My objection is that your views have a poor relationship to objective reality, not that you are incoherent. As another commenter mentioned, I invented the epithet ‘moonbat’ as a quite politically ecumenical term to describe people whose opinions forsake sanity for the sake of consistency and your notions do seem to fit into that category quite well.

    I don’t really mind the throw-away comments (“poor relationship to objective reality”) and pejorative labels (“moonbat”, “asshole”, etc.). I’ll dish those out as well as receive them. I prefer flavour in otherwise dull discourse… But let’s not forsake a principled stance when advocating our positions simply to avoid confrontation on fundamentally important issues. In this case, we have a debate over the situations in which the suppression of information is justified in bellum. We may also have a debate over the means to be employed to achieve the suppression.

    I’m going to take the stance that interference with a free press is never justified, but I concede that there may be situations in which individuals choose to participate in information embargoes as a collective measure of self-defence. In such situations, I’ll go further and suggest that the harm of one or two dissenters failing to agree upon such an embargo is such that it is not unjust to use coercion (preferably without physical violence, and only to an extent that is reasonably required) to remove the harm.

    In the 1942 blackout warden situation, then, of course I’m to be censured for my refusal to cover my windows if the harm of doing so directly endangers the lives of my immediate neighbours, and my not-so-immediate neighbours in London. I think I would quite rightly be asked to remove myself from the neighbourhood and asked to leave to a place where my blackout-disdain would not cause harm to anyone but myself. This example really has nothing to do with a free press.

    Let’s be clear, however: The present situation involving Mr. Drudge and a certain celebrity 2Lt does concern the free press. I suggest that the harm inherent in a state agency cozying up to the fourth estate so as to permit a celebrity 2Lt to play guns in a warzone is not justified. The harm here is an erosion of the independence of an essential information-dissemination enterprise, which itself has fundamental implications for the operation of a free and open society.

    If having the celebrity 2Lt in a warzone was instrumental in preventing a proportionately greater harm, then perhaps there is an argument in favour of having him there. In which case, measures should be taken to maintain the secrecy of the operation, which includes not taking undue risks with the asset. But the measures should not include muzzling the press; rather they should include limiting the exposure of the asset in question to the press to fleeting and unpredictable situations.

    However, there is no argument that says the celebrity 2Lt is instrumental in the operation there. His celebrity makes him too much of a liability for “regular” participation in front-line operations. The relative anonymity of the average squaddie is a key advantage in front-line fighting (and that’s why squaddies are encouraged not to celebritize themselves by posting too much information on the Internet, etc. – why give the enemy undue leverage?). The celebrity 2Lt does not have the benefit of anonymity, and he should not pull strings to try and simulate it. Especially in a warzone. To be sure, harm factors in here, too. The celebrity 2Lt is harmed by not having a chance to be a regular bloke on the front line. But it is disproportionate to mitigate that harm by fiddling with media coverage and/or increasing the value of front-line targets.

    Now, the celebrity 2Lt can be beneficial to the situation in that his celebrity does raise the credibility and profile of the cause of the prosecution of the war. This is an argument that has been a common thread here. And indeed, good for the celebrity 2Lt for wanting to do something positive. No doubt on that. But front-line service? That either leads to the harm of placing one’s comrades in greater danger (if his presence is known) or leads to the harm of damaging the integrity of the press (if knowledge of his presence is suppressed). I’d rather the 2Lt operating further from the front, in some nice relatively safe bunker/HQ somewhere. There’s still a chance that he’s going to get it, but there’s less of a chance that his celebrity is going to get in the way. And there’s no need to deny his presence generally in-theatre. So in that, I don’t think a desire by the celebrity 2Lt to be serving on the front lines as a regular bloke can be out-weighed by the harm caused by doing so. This, I think ought to be clear.

    The more vexing question is whether there are any situations in which a free press ought to be stifled in wartime situation. Extending the 1942 blackout argument a little further, should the free press be constrained from reporting the locations of damaged anti-aircraft batteries, even if the information was gathered independently by journalists? Taking the “harm” approach, one could make use of a relatively simple utilitarian calculus to determine the response. Almost certainly if there is a good chance that the information would fall into enemy hands, and thus many lives would be in harm’s way, then the information ought to be suppressed. To this, I’d respond that rather than altogether suppression, careful distribution is the better position. The press, under such circumstances, has a responsibility not to broadcast the information willy-nilly, but rather to ensure it only falls into the hands of the target audience (ie. the citizens it represents) and not the enemy. This might require that citizens interested in the more sensitive information have to sign a register in order to obtain serialised copies. But it doesn’t entail that the responsibility for holding the contents of the information should be shifted from the citizen to the state (of course, signing for sensitive information and then turning it over to the enemy [negligently or otherwise] should remain a prohibited act, but the information itself should not be suppressed as against the average individual citizen).

    Now the challenge I set for myself may have seemed to you to be close to an absolute right of the free press to publish. On a theoretical level, it’s easy to poke holes in a position when its best arguments are utilitarian. But here it is: I’ve (a) demonstrated that the harm of having a celebrity 2Lt on the front lines does not outweigh the harm that would be caused by his not being there; and I’ve (b) demonstrated that in the cases cited, suppression of the free press is not mandated so as to mitigate the harm contemplated. It seems the onus rests with the party trying to demonstrate a situation in which there is legitimate suppression of the press. I say there isn’t, and there will always be mitigating factors that can avoid altogether suppression. At any rate, a celebrity 2Lt in a war zone is not the example you’re looking for…

    Pa Annoyed:

    Starting? Starting?! This is exactly the position we have held all along. Fleet street editors are also “individuals like you and I”, and likewise responsible for deciding when something really shouldn’t get out.

    Oh I have no doubt you’ll get there one day. But while Fleet Street editors are individuals in the sense of you and I, they are also members of a privileged profession (there’s that category thing again) which mandates certain behaviour. Criminal lawyers can’t refuse to take on cases they find to be reprehensible as to do so would undermine the entire independence of the judiciary. Just like Fleet Street editors can’t refuse to publish stories they know to be of public interest (at the suggestion of the state no less) as to do so will undermine the freedom of the press and the integrity of a free and open society. Editors do have discretion in publishing news. But not the sort you’re talking about.

    Unless you’re proposing that they release everything so that we can decide what to stuff back in the box?

    In all honestly, the more the free press is like that, the better it will become. That’s why the Internet is great (because of the preponderance of sources) and why Matt Drudge’s site is a good part of the mix. Honestly, if the news is not useful, it won’t be consumed.

    Is it simply because it was the government asking? That irrespective of how sensible it might seem or how logical the argument might be, if the government asks you to keep something quiet, it is your duty to immediately blab it to the whole world?

    Yes. Especially when the state is involved. If the state thinks it’s a secret worth keeping, the state has the obligation to keep it a secret (within its limited powers, of course). If the state is trying to keep a secret using means beyond its powers, chances are good that its something that citizens really will want to know.

    Nobody here, and I mean nobody is arguing that what Drudge did was wrong because it was against orders from the MOD. They’re arguing that it was wrong because it hurt our side and our interests, helped the Taliban, and achieved absolutely no useful purpose.

    And to this I say that Drudge was just doing what he should be doing, and that the MOD were negligent fools in thinking their hare-brained scheme would work. The real culprit here is not the guy doing what a free press does, but a bunch of morons who thought it would be a good idea to pull of such a ridiculous military operation. Good thing we know about it now, because now we have a better understand of how things work in Northwood and Whitehall.

    So now that we’ve all decided that, how do you propose we go about undoing its release?

    We don’t. We remain content in the knowledge that we – at least for know – live in a free and open society (for the most part).

  • Pa Annoyed

    Plamus,

    1. There are lots of stories you could leak to get the Taliban coming to you, if that’s what you want to happen. They do do deception operations every now and then. Why dangle a prince as bait, when you could get much the same effect with rumours of a lightly guarded ammo convoy?

    2. The military don’t play silly games like that with real life operations. Politicians, maybe. I think it’s more likely the military would have wanted to use him as a soldier. They don’t have enough of them as it is. Of what possible interest or advantage would it be to the military to have him back home clubbing in London?

  • Johnathan Pearce:

    Your general comments are also a slur on the bravery of someone who has not asked for special treatment. I’ll be toasting the prince on St George’s Day.

    No, no. By asking to do what he did, he was asking for special treatment. There is no way to simply set aside the celebrity of this particular 2Lt. His brother knows it, so why doesn’t he recognise it?

    Actually, I’m somewhat sympathetic to the royal-family-setting-the-good-example argument here. But there is a difference between (a) doing the training, learning about the various branches of the services, flying Sea Kings, etc. and (b) making a stink of the situation and threatening to quit when you’re not sent to the operational unit that you want to be sent to. That’s not typical military behaviour, and I don’t think it should be considered a good example in the present situation.

    In any event, I could probably live with the celebrity 2Lt over in a warzone, if it didn’t put others under the threat of increased harm. But asking the press to go along with the ruse (and then criticising parts of the press when they don’t)? Sorry, that just doesn’t cut it.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    And to this I say that Drudge was just doing what he should be doing, and that the MOD were negligent fools in thinking their hare-brained scheme would work.

    Or in other words, you don’t think the armed forces of this country are entitled to have secrets or at least try to ask the media to keep quiet on matters it believes to be of vital national importance. You’s save us a lot of bandwidth by saying so from the outset. Either way, such a position is bizarre; since even in a purely minimal state with simple fuctions of national defence and law enforcement, the issue of military secrecy still will come up as something that is of vital importance.

    Complete freedom of speech does not trump national security when military operations are at stake. Mr Drudge would be well advised to check what the US federal law is on treason.

  • I’m no fan of “moonbat” (or “wingnut,” for that matter), but otherwise I agree with Perry. This debacle is just further evidence that Drudge is an utter turd.

  • Plamus

    Pa Annoyed:

    1. Different scope. A lightly guarded convoy is not a royal trophy – keep in mind that you are dealing with people for whom killing a “crusader king” (even if he’s not a crusader and not a king) plays on long-dated, deep-seated, and carefully nurtured complexes (“Andalusia is ours!”. Nutcases will probably cross borders to get to this one, and into the cross-hairs of brave Household Cavalry.
    2. And the politicians are not involved in this? You seem to underestimate the amount of political savvy it takes to raise through the military ranks. And the final few signatures authorizing the deployment were not from Captains or Majors, I would surmise. I have little doubt that, once there, his immediate commanders used him as a soldier. But were he to get harmed, folks much higher up the food chain would have explaining to do as to why he was deployed there, and not elsewhere, or why not all.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Chris,

    “Just like Fleet Street editors can’t refuse to publish stories they know to be of public interest (at the suggestion of the state no less)”

    Sounds interesting. To what do you refer?

    “In all honestly, the more the free press is like that, the better it will become. That’s why the Internet is great (because of the preponderance of sources) and why Matt Drudge’s site is a good part of the mix. Honestly, if the news is not useful, it won’t be consumed.”

    So you are suggesting we publish everything, irrespective? The news is not useful to me – especially as I would have known it anyway in a few months time. But I think that it is useful to the Taliban, and will be ‘consumed’. Is this what you meant?

    “Yes. Especially when the state is involved.”

    Ah. Having come across this mindset often, I know there is no point in arguing further. Forsaking sanity for the sakes of consistency, indeed. But thanks for being so honest in expressing it so clearly. A lot of people we get go all shifty when challenged on the point.

    “We don’t. We remain content in the knowledge that…”

    No, you mean you remain content.

    You agreed earlier that people like you and I can decide that there’s some stuff we shouldn’t be told. A large number of people like you and I have decided that this was one such thing. But now you’re saying that we don’t do anything about it, and it’s all perfectly satisfactory.

    So which is it? Is there stuff that the ordinary citizen can decide they shouldn’t be told? Or is it OK to tell them anything and to hell with what they think?

  • Pa Annoyed

    Plamus,

    Well, if not a convoy, something else more interesting then. I’m sure someone could think of something.

    I don’t know whose signatures were on the orders. This all seems a bit speculative. For all I know, the orders might be the other way, to see to it that he gets a real assignment and not a boring desk job. People don’t join the army because they want a quiet life, you know.

  • Plamus

    Different perspective, for those disapproving of Drudge’s actions: if the military were to, in their wisdom, ask the press not to reveal that the spoons the soldiers use are manufactured in Manchester, and Drudge had published it, would he still be wrong?

    Does not the very fact that the information was not classified make you hold your nose at the stench of a political ass-covering, rather than genuine military necessity?

  • Johnathan Pearce:

    Or in other words, you don’t think the armed forces of this country are entitled to have secrets …

    Not over the long term. Keep a short-term operational secret for immediate tactical reasons. There is a proportionate trade-off between the importance of the tactic and the duration of the time in which the armed forces ought to be able to maintain a secret. But never indefinitely. And if you’re going to try and keep a secret by leaving the secret thing out in the open for all to see … well…

    … or at least try to ask the media to keep quiet on matters it believes to be of vital national importance.

    It’s improper for the state to try impose its secrecy on the press. It’s even more improper for the press to co-opt itself into such a scheme. That’s why Drudge did the right thing here.

    Either way, such a position is bizarre; since even in a purely minimal state with simple fuctions of national defence and law enforcement, the issue of military secrecy still will come up as something that is of vital importance.

    Operational secrecy may be useful for both the military and the police. But I can’t think of anything from past operations that needs to continue to be suppressed. What military or police secret is worth keeping after 100 years have passed? 50 years? 25 years? 10 years? 5 years? I agree that as the numbers get smaller, the distinction between a necessity for operational secrecy and the need for disclosure blurs. But I can’t think of any justification for keeping a state secret indefinitely. The type of secret will probably determine the duration.

    And remember – the secret has to be kept to be useful. Don’t have a celebrity parading around in front of reporters and call it a a “secret”. It really wasn’t.

    Is this really such a bizarre position?

  • Pa Annoyed

    Chris,

    Who said anything about this secret being kept “indefinitely”? Or for 100 years?

    Yes, it is a bizarre position.

  • Pa Annoyed:

    You agreed earlier that people like you and I can decide that there’s some stuff we shouldn’t be told.

    Eh?

    A large number of people like you and I have decided that this was one such thing. But now you’re saying that we don’t do anything about it, and it’s all perfectly satisfactory.

    Yep. Doesn’t make a difference to me if you read the Drudge Report or not.

    So which is it? Is there stuff that the ordinary citizen can decide they shouldn’t be told? Or is it OK to tell them anything and to hell with what they think?

    You decide what you don’t want to be told and I’ll decide what I don’t want to be told. Of course, you don’t make the decision for me nor do I make the decision for you. And yes, it’s okay to tell someone something and if they don’t like it, they can choose to ignore if they like. To hell with what they think indeed. We’re all critically rational individualists, right?

    Yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theatre will probably fail the harm test, but calling someone an “insulting asshole” or a “fucktard” won’t. Ain’t liberty grand?

  • Pa Annoyed

    Plamus,

    No. Like I said above, nobody is objecting on the grounds that the MOD asked that it not be revealed. People are objecting on the basis that it did harm to our side, for no good reason.

    Matt is perfectly welcome to talk about our spoons all day.

  • Willis

    Chris – This isn’t a political philosophy class, it’s a real-world discussion about a current military operation. You say the military shouldn’t keep secrets for 50 years? Fine. Whatever. We’re not talking theory; Drudge blew Prince Harry’s cover after just 10 weeks. That’s selfish and dishonorable.

    “Criminal lawyers can’t refuse to take on cases they find to be reprehensible as to do so would undermine the entire independence of the judiciary. Just like Fleet Street editors can’t refuse to publish stories they know to be of public interest (at the suggestion of the state no less) as to do so will undermine the freedom of the press and the integrity of a free and open society.”

    Blegh. For a self-proclaimed libertarian, you sure argue strongly against individual choice. In America, at least, criminal defense lawyers, as well as prosecutors to some extent, can choose which cases to pursue. And editors can choose to publish, or not publish, whatever they wish. Freedom of the press means freedom to publish OR not publish. These editors, for their own reasons, made a choice. By taking that choice away from them, you’re arguing that they should bow to the authority of normative theory, the god of philosophical consistency. Me? I’ll take the real world.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Chris, so you’re saying that you can shout “fire” in a crowded cinema, and I’m free to ignore it if I like?

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: Alisa
    RE: [OT] Drinks R on US

    “‘Dearie’ – hmm. Chuck, maybe it’s bed time, and we could talk after your morning drink?” — Alisa

    What was it Winston said?

    Yes, madam. I am drunk. But tomorrow I’ll be sober. While, dear lady, tomorrow, you’ll still be……”

    Or words to that effect. Admittedly, I’ve never seen you, but as we say in my part of THIS country, ‘cuidado’.

    But enough of that…..

    TO: Yank
    RE: I Agree

    “Hey, Brits – three cheers for the Prince.” — Yank

    Hurrah for Harry!

    And, based on further information, it looks like he’ll go back, despite all the whine and pules of some of the British. And tiger for him for that as well.

    Now. I see that William, the heir apparent, once-removed, is not to be outdone.

    I wonder if he’ll deploy on a Zodiac in the mouth of the Euphrates and show the Iranian patrol boats what REAL men the Brits can be; as opposed to that fiasco last year or so.

    TO: Wil Cruz
    RE: That Was Then….This Is NOW!

    “You are forgetting two things , the Black Prince during the Hundred Year war if captured was expected to be treated in accordance to the rules of chivalry which was a comfortable royal imprisonment and release after a honorable ransom was paid….” — Wil Cruz

    The pivotal point being ‘if captured’, as opposed to being…what…..’slaughtered’?

    In the heat of battle, even when—literally—face to face with your opponent, back then, it was easy to be killed. Even easier today.

    “…and second ,the Black Prince can easily disguise himself as an ordinary English soldier or a French serf if needed to be and can roam the French countryside at will without fear of being recognized by the French masses or even the French nobles . There was no internet , no DNA testing , no videos or TV to help with the identification of Prince Edward and no such thing as a press to do the reporting .” — Wil Cruz

    First, I doubt if Harry would try to abandon his men to their ‘fate’ by disguising himself as an old woman in hijab, like some of our ‘friends’ evading the law enforcement in England have been known to do; blackgurads that they are.

    Still and all…..

    ….everyone of us who raise their hand and swear to defend our country [should] understand that the job was dangerous when we took it.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [You haven’t lived until you’ve almost died.]

    P.S. God Bless Prince Harry and all who follow him.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Not over the long term. Keep a short-term operational secret for immediate tactical reasons. There is a proportionate trade-off between the importance of the tactic and the duration of the time in which the armed forces ought to be able to maintain a secret. But never indefinitely

    .

    So who decides the trade-off? Matt Drudge, Jon Snow, you, or the democratically elected government?

    What military or police secret is worth keeping after 100 years have passed? 50 years? 25 years? 10 years? 5 years?

    Straw man argument. WW2 lasted 6 years.

    Yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theatre will probably fail the harm test, but calling someone an “insulting asshole” or a “fucktard” won’t. Ain’t liberty grand?

    Grow up. The debate is about whether the military can or should have secrets and whether such secrets are necessary to defend a nation.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Actually, I’m somewhat sympathetic to the royal-family-setting-the-good-example argument here. But there is a difference between (a) doing the training, learning about the various branches of the services, flying Sea Kings, etc. and (b) making a stink of the situation and threatening to quit when you’re not sent to the operational unit that you want to be sent to. That’s not typical military behaviour, and I don’t think it should be considered a good example in the present situation.

    This is further proof that you are an arse. Prince Harry trained in the Army. What is the point of doing that if you are not allowed to serve with your fellow soldiers? In the eyes of a character like you, he’s damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. I say let him serve, with all that that implies.

    In any event, I could probably live with the celebrity 2Lt over in a warzone, if it didn’t put others under the threat of increased harm. But asking the press to go along with the ruse (and then criticising parts of the press when they don’t)?

    But you haven’t proved that Harry puts his fellow soldiers under increased harm. In any event, anyone moderately “famous”, by your calculation, should not join the armed forces. Bollocks to that. I actually think we should turn it around: there is something positive in a supposedly affluent and privileged person like Prince Harry serving in the Army.

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: All
    RE: Drat!

    I thought I’d turned blockquote off after citing Sir Winston.

    My apologies for that.

    TO: All
    RE: As I Stated Earlier

    I think that Brown’s government is very much afraid that harm would befall Prince Harry in the combat zone.

    Why?

    Well. Not because he cares all that much for the Royals. But more because he’s very much afraid of how the British population would react to such an event.

    Despite all that we’ve heard about how the British government has been in the process of grinding the population down, I still have faith that they have the fighting spirit that made them famous at places like Crecy, Agincourt, Waterloo and so many others that they know better than I. [Note: I’m particularly impressed with Monfort in his last battle to defend the Magna Carta.]

    The point here being that if some harm came to Prince Harry at the hands of the Islamofascists, I think the majority of the British would go, as we say here, ‘ballistic’.

    At least that is the nature of my ‘faith’, having bounced up against a few of Her Majesty’s subjects here and there in the course of my own career.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Touch a Royal and DIE!]

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: Johnathan Pearce
    RE: Obviously….

    “The debate is about whether the military can or should have secrets and whether such secrets are necessary to defend a nation.” — Johnathan Pearce

    ….the military should have secrets. Especially if those secrets relate to operations; strategic or tactical or research or whathaveyou.

    The question is whether some secrets are really necessary.

    In this instance, I would say not.

    Why?

    [1] The presence of a Royal on the field of battle is not an operational secret.
    [2] Indeed, it is probably a great moral booster for all of Her Majesty’s subjects.
    [3] It could be used by the theater commader to lure the enemy into doing something REALLY stupid.

    So why is Brown pulling Harry out, now that the ‘cat is out of the bag’?

    Probably for the following:

    [1] See comment provided immediately above.
    [2] It probably DOES boost moral of the general population of Great Britain, supporting the war effort. [Note: This is something that I don’t think the PM likes very much. But that’s just my opinion based on his comportment since taking office.]

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [If you want to REALLY understand what the political opposition is doing, pay attention to their [in]actions, as opposed to their words.]

    P.S. Something I picked up from the Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB) segment of the US Army Command and General Staff Course. It has served me well.

  • But tomorrow I’ll be sober.

    Right.

  • Wil Cruz

    Chuck

    Why do you think the Prince was placed among a company of Gurkhas in FOB Delhi ? I agree with you , if the Firebase becomes a sort of Alamo for the prince and the Gurkhas , the prince would no doubt find the Gurkhas would die for him and the Gurkhas would in turn find that second Lt Windsor would die for them as well and the whoever Taliban that survived would have no chance in getting a glimpse of the dead body of the prince because the vengeful British military and it’s allies would have already launch an devastating attack that would only end in the destruction of the Taliban in Pakistan . And for the European muslims , the death of prince Harry would signal the end of their run and the start of their destruction .

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: Rykehaven
    RE: So….

    “Basically, there are three camps in the US military:” — Rykehaven

    ….where have/are you served/serving?

    My BioSumm includes 1-508th Inf (Abn) and 1-22d Inf (Mech); albeit never in combat. Wrong place. Wrong time. Life is like that….

    But you, being so well informed of military ‘camps’, I’m curious where your information/experience comes from. As I don’t see it breaking down into ‘three camps’. Military life is a tad more complex—at least when I was ‘active’—than that.

    So. With what outfits have you served. And in what capacities.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [I’ll show you mine, if you’ll show me yours.]

  • Kolya

    Very well said, Perry.

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: Wil Cruz
    RE: With the Gurkas

    “Why do you think the Prince was placed among a company of Gurkhas in FOB Delhi ?” — Wil Cruz

    S—! If I had the opportunity to serve with those guys, I’d almost give up some important part of my child breeding capability…..ALMOST…..they are legendary.

    “I agree with you , if the Firebase becomes a sort of Alamo for the prince and the Gurkhas , the prince would no doubt find the Gurkhas would die for him and the Gurkhas would in turn find that second Lt Windsor would die for them as well….” — Wil Cruz

    That’s sort of what US Army Historian, S.L.A. Marshall wrote about in his famous work Men Against Fire. We’re all ‘buds’, albeit some of give orders to others. Men fight more for their comrades-in-arms than for ideals.

    “….and the whoever Taliban that survived would have no chance in getting a glimpse of the dead body of the prince because the vengeful British military and it’s allies would have already launch an devastating attack that would only end in the destruction of the Taliban in Pakistan .”– Wil Cruz

    This, I believe, supports my argument about why the PM has called Prince Harry back. He doesn’t WANT the Brits or US or the West to prevail in this as much as he wants to be the ‘successful’ version of Chamberlain.

    [Note: But being more a student of history than I suspect HE is, I know he’ll fail—you, me, the Brits, US and the West—if he succeeds. But only the Brits can prevent that. And I dearly wish them luck; as it is dearly important to US.]

    “And for the European muslims , the death of prince Harry would signal the end of their run and the start of their destruction .” — Wil Cruz

    Again, you emphasize my points (1) about why the PM has recalled the Prince and (2) there is quite a bit of the essential ‘fighting spirit’ in the British….provided you are one of that [in]famous—depending on how you look at it—lot.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [Keep up the Good Work….

    …..we’re all excited.]

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: Alisa
    RE: [OT] Okay….

    ” But tomorrow I’ll be sober.” — Chuck Pelto citing Sir Winston Churchill

    “Right.” — Alisa, in reply

    ….am I drunk enough for you now?

    [Note: I’ve been in the kitchen putting together an excellent pasta dish while drinking martinis with jalopeno-stuffed olives for the last two hours.]

    How’s my:

    [1] Thought processes?
    [2] Typing skills?

    Now, after the dinner, we’re off to library to watch a DVD from the collection of over 1000 titles—we gave up on television over a decade ago—drink some tea and enjoy some dark chocolate.

    Eat your heart out….

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    P.S. Sorry you missed me while I was ‘sober’. But, as Sir Winston put it, I’ll be sober again. You’ll still be you.

    P.P.S. Anytime you want to get off the ad hom approach to debate, I’ll be amongst the first to appreciate it. Otherwise, as Monty Python put it….

    Now go away or I shall taunt you again. — Some silly French Kenighit.

  • Sunfish

    Two notes:

    1) He’s arguably safer surrounded by a company of Gurkhas than he was in a car driven by his mother. The Taleban puts great effort into avoiding contact with the Gurkhas, for reasons that I can only characterize as “Thank God they’re on our side.”

    2) Chuck: Drunk American to fellow drunk American, knock it off.

  • Anytime you want to get off the ad hom approach to debate, I’ll be amongst the first to appreciate it.

    Well, I probably just should have called you ‘dearie’ in return, and get it over with, but I would have to be very drunk indeed to thus address a strange person. Anyway, easy on those martinis:-)

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: Alisa
    RE: [OT} Dearie as an Ad Hom?

    “Well, I probably just should have called you ‘dearie’ in return, and get it over with….” — Alisa

    Interesting.

    And all this time I thought it a diminuitive form of endearment.

    But if you wish to take it as an ad hom….well….I guess you’re entitled to a thin skin.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [If you can’t stand the ‘heat’, stay out of the kitchen. President Harry S. Truman, the last good Democrat]

    P.S. Currently BACK in the kitchen, working on Sunday Brunch, a variation on Eggs Benedict involving eggs and shrimp topped with leftover sauce from last nights pasta dish, as opposed to Hollandaise…..

    Kirs looking at YOU ‘kid’. [Note: No offense intended with that ‘kid’ business. Just thinking I ought to watch Bogie movies this afternoon, on the proverbial ‘Day of Rest'; Casablanca, To Have and Have Not, Key Largo, Dark Passage…..]

  • Chuck Pelto

    Testing….Testing….

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: de Hav
    RE: Back….

    …to BAU? Okay…

    But do remember, you’re hardly what anyone in their right-mind would consider a proponent of freedom of speech.

    Have fun in Merry Old England. You’re one of the people making it what it is today.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)

  • Chuck Pelto

    TO: de Hav
    RE: Apologies

    For a while there….between March 2, 2008 05:34 PM and March 2, 2008 06:03 PM, it appeared you’d—once more—kicked/banned/killed me on your blog because you disagreed with what I had to say.

    Double-checking, now, i see the three comments that I had sent you have FINALLY appeared.

    I’ll chalk it up to errors in transmission—that these comments had not appeared in a timely mannner—on the internet.

    Regards,

    Chuck(le)
    [A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular. — Adlai Stevenson, US Ambassador to the United Nations during the Eisenhower Administration]

  • You need to follow the link that explains what ‘smiting'(Link) is.

    Generally we kick people for being either jackasses or endlessly repetitive rather than their opinions per se but just getting caught by smitebot is just ‘one of those things’.

  • Rykehaven

    @Chuck,

    Anybody can claim to be in a “unit”. Tell me something that says to me you comprehend what you’re talking about (not isolated trivia facts); something you CAN’T find on the Internet.

    I’ve got a number of Marine buddies and any one of them will understand the “gist” of what you’re talking about if not the specific system responsibility/MOS/Unit/etc.

    Like you said: I’ll show you mine if you show me your’s.

    [Jeez…the rest of this INTERMINABLE screed that goes on and on and on deleted by editor. Feel free to ask Chuck for his e-mail address so you can have a pizzle waving contest in private rather than on this server]

  • Chuck: let’s just review for a second. I made a remark, you answered, addressing me as ‘dearie’. I, not being used to being thus addressed by people I don’t know, assumed that you may be drunk. You admitted to being drunk, while at the same time comparing yourself to Churchill. This led me to believe that, after about 24 hours, you may still be drunk. Unfortunately, I was right again. So you see, there is no ad hominem here, as this has nothing to do with the subject at hand (with apologies to Perry: I really should have known better). This is simply me trying to point out to you that, while there is nothing wrong with being drunk (or comparing oneself to Churchill), it is not a good idea to carry a serious conversation under such condition. Among other things, it can lead you to applying diminutive forms of endearment to people you have never met, which usually does not work in one’s favor.

    BTW, neither your kitchen, nor you are all that hot, but nevertheless, I still hope that you enjoyed your Sunday brunch:-)

  • Rykehaven

    Blog Administrator said:

    “[Jeez…the rest of this INTERMINABLE screed that goes on and on and on deleted by editor. Feel free to ask Chuck for his e-mail address so you can have a pizzle waving contest in private rather than on this server]”

    LOL. That’s a joke.

    1) “INTERMINABLE screed”? My post was shorter than Perry de Havilland’s.

    2) “pizzle waving contest”? I haven’t even heard of this phrase b4 but it must be similar to “show who’s John is bigger”.

    Your reader Chuck made a challenge to my credentials so I gave it to him. Don’t ask if you don’t want to find out.

    3) I find your choice of “how” you edited my post interesting: the results make me sound like a know-nothing Brit who’s trying to hide his lack of military knowledge behind a cowardly phasod.

    3) Note to Chuck: the part that “Samizdata” edited has a description of how Naval Combat Systems Teams work and some going ons in OEF and OIF that you can cross-check at your liesure. You’ll have to tell this guy to give you the part he edited, but it’s more effective at confirming my credentials than any “claim” of having an FPO or UIC (Unit Identification Code) which any kid on the net can fake.

  • 3) I find your choice of “how” you edited my post interesting:

    Interesting? Gah. Sorry to burst your bubble but unless you have been out in Helmand and have something informed to add, I am not going to have this already way off topic thread host your not particularly relevant military CV. I am not trying to make you look like anything. I’m happy to believe you are what you way you are, hell, we sometimes have a retired Admiral comment here but he does not feel the need to inflict his detailed credentials on us.

  • Pa Annoyed

    Rykehaven, Chuck,

    As a general rule, most people expect people who are actually involved with interesting military stuff not to talk about it. Anyone turns up dropping dark hints about their mates in the SAS or the like is routinely written off as a poser. One thing they absolutely do not do is try to prove their credentials on a complete stranger’s blog by dumping technical information not in the public domain. You may both be what you say you are, but if so, you’re going the wrong way about convincing anybody, or of persuading anyone that if you are a military person that you’re a competent one. Even we civvies have heard of OPSEC.

    There are plenty of milbloggers who are straightforward and open about what they do, but in my experience they don’t treat it as any sort of privileged club of cognoscenti. If you express doubt about their “credentials”, they just tell you to sod off.

    Given that your views run squarely counter to that of both the British defence chiefs and a whole lot of the milbloggers who have commented on the matter, I’m not inclined to think your theories are standard doctrine in military circles either. But I don’t care. Whether real or not, the appeal to authority is not useful in judging their truth. I thought it might be helpful to you both to know that. Try a different tack if you want to continue the debate.

  • John Sabotta

    “In September the invasion began. By October, the Serbian Army, which now numbered a quarter of a million men, was faced with three hundred thousand Austro-German troops, under the great strategist Mackesen, and as many Bulgarians. It was now necessary for the country to die. The soldiers retreated slowly, fighting a rearguard action, leaving the civil population, that is to say their parents, wives and children, in the night of an oppression they knew to be frightful. Monks came out of the monasteries and followed the soldiers, carrying on bullock-carts and on their shoulders when the roads got too bad, the coffined bodies of the medieval Serbian kings, the sacred Nemanyas, which must not be defiled. So was carried King Peter, whose rheumatic limbs were wholly paralyzed by the cold of autumn; and so too, before the retreat was long on it’s way, was Prince Alexander. The internal pain that had vexed him all years had grown so fierce that he could no longer ride his horse. Doctors took him into a cottage and he was operated on for appendicitis. Then he was packed in bandages close as a shroud, and put on a stretcher and carried in the procession of the troops. It is like some fantastic detail in a Byzantine fresco, improbable, nearly impossible, that a country which was about to die should bear with it on it’s journey to death its kings, living and dead, all prostrate, immobile.”

    – Rebecca West, BLACK LAMB AND GREY FALCON

  • Yeah I’ve read that book too (when I was in the former Yugoslavia as it happens). A very evocative quote but not sure how that is in any way relevant.

  • John Sabotta

    Only that it is a very old and very noble tradition for royalty to be in the front lines.

  • speedbump

    This is the biggest demonstration of chest-beating and counter-chest-beating I have ever seen here.

    Perhaps we can learn something from this.