British prince on the front line- agreed media silence.

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  • #26
mheslep
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...If I was president, I wouldn't ask someone else to do what I wouldn't do myself...
A nice sentiment, but as Presidents can't prove themselves by parachuting into battle, it only has practical meaning if worded in the past tense as was the earlier "he hadn't done himself..". - Thus the sentiment requires prior combat service for office, or the disbanding of the thence unusable armed services.

The president should not be so cavalier about risking the lives of other people, especially when the use of military force is based on a personal agenda, not a real threat to the nation.
Agreed.
 
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  • #27
The statement as worded was nonsense. Clarify if you wish.

Speaking of the children of Congressmen avoiding a draft is in no way nonsensical or unintelligible. You're being completely pejorative to pretend it is. But I certainly could have emphasized that it's the action of the Congressmen themselves to send the children of others to war with collectively little risk to their own that is underwhelming.

There's so many things wrong w/ this. First, Prince Harry is not the son of a politician who had any say what so ever about Iraq. He's the son of a celebrity, is one himself and there's http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/football/nfl/04/23/tillman.killed/index.html" [Broken]. Second, the number nine is only kids that have served in Iraq, that doesn't count Afghanistan nor the rest of the armed services; not all of the ~800,000 US service folk can go Iraq. Third, just how many is a good number? Even the ratio 9/525 (1.7%) is higher than the population at large (~0.08%); given the high average age of congressional members its likely far higher.

None of what you say here demonstrates anything “wrong” with my sentiment or my facts. What you say above does not make Prince Harry's choice to serve in the military less admirable. And I didn't say anything about comparing ratios of children in military service between the Congress and the general population. The two percent of them who have children in the military do not make the 98% of them who sent other people's children off to war, resulting in thousands of them getting killed, more impressive or more admirable.

It's about supporting the troops over supporting the Congress. But you're certainly free to disagree with that sentiment and call it wrong and nonsensical if you wish.

Here's another way of saying it: Prince Harry seems to have made his country's risk his own personal risk, at least to some degree. Many members of Congress do not do that at all.
 
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  • #28
cristo
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I admire him for serving as opposed to avoiding service like so many political leaders. At least he can argue that he would not be asking a soldier to do something he hadn't done himself, which is not case for politicians like Bush or Cheney.

But Harry isn't a political leader, and he probably never will be. Even if he were, comparing him to your president is not a fair comparison. The monarch of England is, nowadays, merely a symbolic position. I mean yes, there is the opportunity to veto laws passed by parliament, but that will never happen, since that would be vetoing the democratic decisions made by the country. Now, I'm not saying that the monarchy is useless-- far from it, since it brings in a LOT of money to the country-- but the person running the country is without doubt the prime minister.

Still, I think it was a stupid idea to let Harry take part in active service. The fact is that we are not living in the 14th century where each member of the royal family leads troops into battle, we're in the 21st century with a culture of hostage taking and massive media coverage. I'd hate to imagine what would happen if a member of the royal family got taken hostage, and it's just stupid to put one of our royal family in that position.

Of course, one could argue that Harry most probably was not in any danger. I doubt the security services would let him be in any real danger, and I'm sure they were watching over him!
 
  • #29
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Of course, one could argue that Harry most probably was not in any danger. I doubt the security services would let him be in any real danger, and I'm sure they were watching over him!

You can guarantee there were secret squads near by him to help if he were in real danger. Heck he prolly had secret undercover bodyguards he thought were locals.
 
  • #30
Art
Not to take away from his actions but despite the hype he wasn't treated exactly the same as all other British troops. He had a 24 hr personal bodyguard of Gurkha's to take care of him over there and his personal security back home has now been beefed up. He was also accompanied by news film crews throughout much of his 10 weeks so although Harry may believe he was 'doing a real job' I wonder just how real it really was. I suspect he was simply an unwitting PR tool for the gov't and military.
 
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  • #31
But Harry isn't a political leader, and he probably never will be. Even if he were, comparing him to your president is not a fair comparison. The monarch of England is, nowadays, merely a symbolic position. I mean yes, there is the opportunity to veto laws passed by parliament, but that will never happen, since that would be vetoing the democratic decisions made by the country. Now, I'm not saying that the monarchy is useless-- far from it, since it brings in a LOT of money to the country-- but the person running the country is without doubt the prime minister.

Well the last time a monarch tried to veto an act of parliament was in 1707 by Queen Anne, and that was passed anyway. So their powers are merely formal. And parliament has the right to remove any formal powers anyway.

That said I'm not cynical enough to believe this was a PR stunt, he wanted to serve. And to be frank putting yourself as the leader of a tank unit, that goes into enemy territory and calls down air support on enemy targets is not the best method of keeping yourself safe, nor is it a plea to say look at me aren't I x. I'm by no means a royalist but this is what it is IMO.

You can guarantee there were secret squads near by him to help if he were in real danger. Heck he prolly had secret undercover bodyguards he thought were locals.

To be honest as said no one recognised him in the field, and of course but he was still in danger. I say give the guy a break and as a cynic about the royal family, that is unusual coming from me.
 
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  • #32
Astronuc
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But Harry isn't a political leader, and he probably never will be. Even if he were, comparing him to your president is not a fair comparison. The monarch of England is, nowadays, merely a symbolic position. I mean yes, there is the opportunity to veto laws passed by parliament, but that will never happen, since that would be vetoing the democratic decisions made by the country. Now, I'm not saying that the monarchy is useless-- far from it, since it brings in a LOT of money to the country-- but the person running the country is without doubt the prime minister.
True, the royal family is not involved as political leaders or in the operation of the government as is the PM or MP's, they Harry and others are in a better position to affect policy if they so choose.

I'd hate to imagine what would happen if a member of the royal family got taken hostage, and it's just stupid to put one of our royal family in that position.
It's stupid to put anyone in the position of being killed or kidnapped, but that is what GW Bush and Tony Blair did with the troops. They certainly didn't put themselves in any danger, as is the case with most modern political leaders.

Of course, one could argue that Harry most probably was not in any danger. I doubt the security services would let him be in any real danger, and I'm sure they were watching over him!
Maybe. I certainly don't know how much danger or how close to danger he really was.
 
  • #33
BobG
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/7269743.stm
My emphasis.

This worries me. While I understand the potential security risk of letting the enemy know the whereabouts of the prince, I question the practice of an agreed media silence. Should the MoD, royal family or government have the power to stop the media reporting an important story? Not so much with regard to this circumstance, but in general. Who gets to decide what we find out and what we don't? I don't want to see the day when bad news is simply buried and denied.

What are people's thoughts?

How was this an important story? If something had happened to Harry, this would be a big story, but not an important story. This wasn't a story that really affected the public good. Breaking the story would be somewhat irresponsible. It probably wouldn't endanger anyone since Harry would be yanked out of his unit as soon as the story broke. The news organization breaking the story runs the risk of becoming more of a story than Harry.

Somewhat - I'd be surprised if the Drudge Report gets trashed by other news organizations too much since they're probably happy to have the chance to put out whatever stories they gained by keeping his deployment secret. I think most are just glad that it some other news organizations besides them that let the cat out of the bag.

You've seen the same thing from the US media. You almost never hear about Congressmens' sons fighting in the war and the media never reports on their location or their unit. During the Afghanistan invasion, you didn't even see the last names of the average serviceman fighting there. Considering the fear of terrorism right after 9/11, it seemed reckless to provide information someone could use to track back to the serviceman's family.

During the initial invasion, the embedded reporters did a very good job of handling sensitive information while still giving the public a good feel for how the invasion was going. I thought David Bloom's reports were great.

The news media can act responsibly when they see the need to do so.
 
  • #34
mheslep
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...It's stupid to put anyone in the position of being killed or kidnapped, but that is what GW Bush and Tony Blair did with the troops.
I'm not sure what this means. To send anyone, anytime into combat is stupid?
 

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