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Commentary Last Updated: Mar 3rd, 2008 - 00:49:48

Dying to die in Afghanistan
By Jerry Mazza
Online Journal Associate Editor

Mar 3, 2008, 00:47

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Yes, it's young Prince Harry who was dying to die in Afghanistan for the old and new Empires. He had to come home because he really is third in line to the throne. How boring is that?

Obviously so boring, the 23-year-old prince went off to Helmand Province with the British Army in December, while most of the British news media agreed to keep the news secret for �security reasons.� But the story was broken to little notice in January by the Australian weekly magazine, New Idea, which was unaware of the embargo, and caused a furor when the Drudge Report posted it online. Well, stiff upper lip, Harry.

You�ll have to watch it all in the movies. In fact, the Oscar just went to Alex Gibney�s Taxi to the Dark Side, which documents the real-life story of Dilawar, a young Afghan taxi driver, who on December 5 was brought to Bagram for questioning by US Troops. Five days after his arrival, he was dead. This is one of the more egregious abuses in the jolly old �War on Terror� sanctioned by the less than lustrous powers that be. This, old chap, is what you�re missing . . .

�There were these young soldiers,� an unidentified man says in the film, �very little training, just as the rules were changing, and they weren�t told what the rules were;� and as one PFC says, �the brass knew. They saw them [prisoners] shackled and hooded, and they said, �Right on! Y�all are doing a great job.�� And they told him [Dilawar] he had no right to a lawyer, no right to witnesses. He didn�t know what the charges were or what the �secret evidence� against him was. The unidentified man adds, �They saw an intentional decision taken at the height of the Pentagon to put out a fog of ambiguity.�

�Unidentified� previously mentioned �Interrogators were telling the guards, strip this guy naked, chain him up to the bed in an uncomfortable position, do whatever you can.� And they did, beating him to death.

As Gibney tells us about the men involved in the actual beating and death of this innocent driver, �Some were acquitted, some were convicted, some pled, guilty, some served prison time, some were demoted. No officers were ever charged, only the enlisted men. And it�s interesting, at the end of the film, you know, there�s a law that our Congress passed with the urging of the president called the Military Commissions Act. One of the things in that law is a -- what amounts to a �get out of jail free� card for members of the administration who may have condoned or enabled some of the things that these lower-down soldiers were convicted for.�

Yanked home by the War Ministry

So, there we are -- a little ersatz reality. But I know it�s not like being with the chaps in the field and roughing it up in fatigues, not washing for four days, and enjoying a life of �semi-normalcy.� Ah, but Harry Is Withdrawn From Afghanistan as the New York Times reported . . .

�The awkwardly timed dissemination of the prince�s whereabouts had several immediate repercussions. Politicians, including Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Conservative leader, David Cameron, leapt all over one another in lavishing praise on Prince Harry, 23. British reporters whipped out their notebooks and unleashed into the public domain all the material they had been saving for later: interviews and video scenes of him discussing his deployment, wearing fatigues and firing his machine gun.

�Gen. Sir Richard Dannatt, chief of the general staff of the army, said he was �very disappointed� that �foreign Web sites� had thoughtlessly posted the story without asking for permission.� Ah, those foreign Web sites. Who could they possibly be? In fact . . .

��This is in stark contrast to the highly responsible attitude that the whole of the U.K. print and broadcast media, along with a small number of overseas, who have entered into an understanding with us over the coverage of Prince Harry on operations,� General Dannatt said in a statement.�

The Times went on to say, �The prince, who graduated from the Sandhurst military academy and was denied the chance to go to Iraq when the army said it was too risky, has been working as a battlefield air controller in Afghanistan since December, the army said.� Well, at least, Harry, you�ve had a chance to shoot some guns, wear the rags and tags, give orders, and keep out of harm�s way, unlike the nearly 4,000 Yanks who have bitten the dust up in old Iraq, not to mention a number of your countrymen.

We realize that you felt �A bit of excitement, a bit of �phew,� finally, get the chance to actually do the soldiering that I wanted to do ever since I joined, really.� Many young chaps want to be out there and get their heads blown off until it happens. But perhaps your yen for adventure might be better served at home, especially regarding your late and lovely mother, whose tragic life has exploded into the press again.

Diana Inquest Hears Fayed�s Accusations

�In a written statement he read before the packed benches of Room 73 in the Royal Courts of Justice, and under questioning, Mr. Fayed repeated his central claim: What caused the high-speed impact with a pillar in the Pont de 1�Alma tunnel beside the Seine was not, as lengthy official inquiries by the French and British authorities found, that their Mercedes was traveling at excessive speed to outpace pursuing photographers and driven by a man who had been drinking heavily, but a conspiracy led by Prince Philip, now 86, the husband of Queen Elizabeth. And, he said, it was 'executed' by the British and French secret intelligence services, with help from the C.I.A.

There are wars and there are wars, dear Harry. There�s more . . .

�But this time, Mr. Fayed added a new co-conspirator, Prince Charles, 59, Diana�s divorced husband and heir to the throne. Mr. Fayed said Charles had �participated� in the plot so that he could marry his �crocodile wife,� Camilla Parker-Bowles. By arranging for Diana and his son to be killed, Mr. Fayed said, Philip and Charles had saved the royal family from having the princess marry a Muslim and bear his child. �They cleared the decks,� he said. �They murdered her.�

�For the first time, Mr. Fayed said Diana had told him she was pregnant in a telephone call an hour before the couple left the Ritz Hotel on the brief journey that ended with the crash. He said the couple told him during the call that they planned to announce their engagement within days, once the princess had informed her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. Medical and forensic experts who have testified at the inquest have said there was no evidence that she was pregnant when she died.

�Aides to Mr. Fayed told British newspapers they had urged him not to resort to the kind of provocative language he has commonly used regarding the royal family since the crash, lest he alienate the appeal court judge sitting as coroner, Lord Justice Scott Baker, or the 11-member jury. But Mr. Fayed -- son of a Cairo school inspector who rose from the management of a furniture store in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to the ownership of Harrods, a 65,000-acre estate in Scotland and the Fulham soccer club in London -- expressed himself as explosively as ever.

�He called Philip a �Nazi� and a �racist.� He said Philip could not accept the idea of Diana, mother to a future British king, marrying Dodi, a Muslim, 'somebody who is naturally tanned, with curly hair.' He referred to the bloodline of Prince Philip, who was born in Greece into a family connected to several European royal families, including the German House of Battenberg, which was Anglicized to Mountbatten. 'It�s time to send him back to Germany from where he comes,' Mr. Fayed said. 'You want to know his original name? It�s Frankenstein.'�

Remember, Harry, he has a lost a son as you have lost your mother.

So permit me to identify. I lost my mother at 19 from an undiagnosed leukemia. My father had left her a year before, ending their 20-year marriage. He walked out for another woman, a �friend� of the family. The family also said my mother died of a broken heart.

It was a hard way to grow up. Yet today, I have two sons, good boys like yourself, Harry, one 19, one 38 by a previous marriage. I know how hard life can be. So don�t rush into giving up a minute of it to killing. Your people need good leaders as an army needs good warriors. And you can always do what your mother did. Choose to help the poor, take up causes that make a difference and simply be, as I know you are, a good human being. Good luck, Harry, good luck. May the wind be always at your back.

Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York. Reach him at

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