APRIL 28th 2007
It has been rightly claimed by the commanding officer of our forces in Iraq that the situation there is as complex and difficult as any such situation can get. It is not exactly helpful to have an additional spanner thrown into the works by an uninformed public debate on Cornet Wales' precise movements and duties. The dumbest contribution so far came from former Defence Minister Sir John Nott who was of the opinion that Harry should not go for political reasons as this was 'not a popular war'. Dear God, you old buffer, the day we have a popular war in the 21st century really will be the time to abandon hope. General Galtieri went to war because it was popular. We went there to do a terrible job, remove his forces and come home as soon as possible. No war can be popular in a modern, rational nation. It is a last resort to end an intolerable situation at home or abroad.

In Basra, we are there to support those Iraqis who want an open society and wish to establish a democratic state that can defend its citizens from violent criminal attack or tribal warfare. It is not, for the UK, a war; it is a difficult and dangerous military operation, unpopular among some in Iraq and some in the UK. . How the army handles the posting of Harry is entirely a practical matter for the military commanders. If to expose him to the most obvious risk on intelligence gathering sorties might cramp their style to run things as best they can, they will make that judgement at the time. If it were to bring unnecessary attacks and attention, this will need to be played and adjusted on the fly. Comments by armchair warriors are completely irrelevant. As for the rest of us, we don't need to know.

Any individual who is considered an iconic trophy by terrorists as opposed to open warfare is at risk from hidden snipers and hidden bombs, whether they ar at the front or in civil surroundings. Abraham Lincoln, John Kennedy, Louis Mountbatten and others got taken out. Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, and (so far) General Musharraf survived, to name but a few. Harry will want to do the job the Army requires of him, whatever it is. Like anyone else, he could get killed deliberately or accidentally.

The saddest thing about Basra and the south of Iraq (and eslewhere in Iraq come to that) is the great number of Iraqis who welcomed and worked with he coalition forces from the very beginning who were targetted by the minority of savage insurgents and if not killed had their lives destroyed one way or another. Many have had to leave and it is their absence  as much as the presence of those dedicated to death and chaos that have limited the intended level of progress and achievement.

APRIL 30th 2007  

The man whose business it is to decide has decided. If only this could apply to the rest of the world. It is not for me to say if the decision is right or wrong; nevertheless I will - it is definitely right and not irrevocable. Everything we do in a rational world is conditional. Sending Harry to Iraq is not a campaign aim or a tactical priority or a strategic ploy. It is normal.

Army chief says Harry will go to Iraq

By D'ARCY DORAN, Associated Press Writer

LONDON - The head of the British army said Monday that he had personally decided that Prince Harry, the third in line to the throne, will serve with a combat unit in Iraq.

Commanders reportedly had reconsidered their decision to allow the prince to fight in Iraq for fear he would become a target of insurgents and his presence could endanger other soldiers. Harry's regiment, the Blues and Royals, is due to begin a six-month tour of duty in Iraq within weeks.

Over the past two weeks, newspapers have reported threats by Iraqi insurgents to kill or kidnap the prince, including claims his photograph had been widely circulated among militants. Military chiefs acknowledge that Harry would be an attractive target and that his presence could lead to a surge in attacks on British forces.

Gen. Sir Richard Dannatt said the decision would be kept under review, but he hoped his statement would end media speculation on Harry's deployment.

"The decision has been taken by myself that he will deploy in due course," Dannatt said. "I would urge that the somewhat frenzied media activity surrounding this particular story should cease in the interests of the overall security of all our people deployed in Iraq."

He spoke after newspaper reports cited unidentified senior military officials as saying an army review was likely to lead to Harry being banned from the battlefield, although he could still do a desk job.

Clarence House, Prince Charles' London office, would not comment on Dannatt's statement.

Harry, a 22-year-old second lieutenant, is a tank commander trained to lead a 12-man team in four armored reconnaissance vehicles. If deployed, he would become the first royal to serve in a war zone since his uncle, Prince Andrew, flew as a helicopter pilot in Britain's conflict with Argentina over the Fakland Islands in 1982.

The younger son of the late Princess Diana, Harry has been a frequent face on the front of Britain's tabloid newspapers, which have provided a constant stream of coverage of his party-going lifestyle at glitzy London nightclubs.

But he has said he is serious about an army career. After graduating from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst last year, Harry insisted on an opportunity to serve in the armed forces.

MAY 17 2007
Quite rightly the decision on whether it is sensible right now to send Harry to Basra with a flood of publicity has been referred to the people on the spot and it has been decided it is not. It would not help the situation there. If we did not have our media discussng it 24/7 that would make a difference but as things are it is not on. This does not reflect in any way on Harry and there is no reason why it should, People are sent where they are needed.

FEBRUARY 28th 2008
It is unfortunate that Harry's presence in Afghanistan, where he has been serving since last December, has been revealed by some American web site following an unfortunate leak in Australia. He will probably have to be moved from his present position where he was doing a good job. His commander will if possible say nothing but presumably the press will now have be reporting his absence, or their lack of knowledge on his whereabouts on the grounds that that non-news about Harry is permissible news. It still sells a few papers. Good grief Charlie Brown...

MARCH 3rd 2008
I think Harry must be really embarrassed by the coverage in the press and the BBC.
When a young man or woman joins the armed forces, the possibility of death or serious wounds is accepted.

It is the business of commanders to keep the number of killed or wounded to the minimum consistent with achieving the ends required.
The ends are decided in the light of history, estimates of the current situation and future projections after extensive research and consultations with allies and diplomatic efforts to avoid confrontation. Every situation is under continuous review.

Parents, wives and children of those who are on active service must accept that we do not have conscription and all are volunteers.
British commanders have always accepted tactical surrender rather than fighting to the last man, as have other European and Commonwealth nations. In WWII there were occasions when extremely large numbers of Americans, British and other armies surrendered.

The endless public discussion about operations in Afghanistan is absurd.
This is not an illegal war, it is supported in international law at every level. It is not 'a war' as such between nations. It is a type of rebellion by a faction in Afghanistan that previously seized power and tyrannised the country. The fact that previous US foreign policy in the region was ruthless and self interested and causative of some of the current problems is irrelevant to the discussion.

The father of a soldier who was killed on operations in Afghanistan is quoted as follows:

Mr Philippson, of St Albans, Herts, told GMTV: "He (Prince Harry) went to Sandhurst, so it was inevitable he had to go out there because otherwise he would have resigned from the Army, understandably.

"What's gone wrong, in my view, is the tremendous publicity behind what's happened. What it's effectively done, all this publicity over the last few days, is every corner of the world knows what's happened, including all our enemies.

"How can he (Prince Harry) ever go out there again? He's only got to go missing in a nightclub in London and they'll all know where he's gone."

Asked if he agreed that Prince Harry's deployment had raised the profile of the war, and therefore the MoD's responsibilities, he said: "I do accept that since the tragedy with James - it was 18 months ago - the Army has been properly equipped. I entirely accept that. It would be criminal if they weren't so equipped.

"I'm afraid I'm very cynical about the objectives of the Ministry of Defence. I think they have just used Harry as propaganda to promote and glorify a war which, in the end, is going to be found to be a terrible mistake."

Easy to say it's a mistake to have taken any action at all in Afghanistan, but if our operations in international security are a waste of time, then so are all such efforts. That is not the accepted case and not the opinion of any civilised society. However inadequate our efforts and however our mistakes in the distant ir recent past, the NATO supported efforts to bring some form of political stability and law that is better than Taliban or brutal feudalism is the only game in town.