This week the British media veered between hoisting Prince Harry as a poster-boy for a failed war – and criticising him for some of his remarks.
Very few condemned the cheap, shallow and distasteful comment that playstation was good practice for operating the guns of an Apache Helicopter – or said he trivialised the fighting in Afghanistan, saying it was taking his opponents “out of the game.”
His remarks, and the response to them in Britain, speaks volumes about the state of the UK military, the UK media and public perceptions of the war in Afghanistan.
Historically, war was brutally personal and affected all parts of society. Now war has become a remote and impersonal operation for sophisticated modern Western armies.
Enemies are dehumanised and opponents can be killed remotely, watched on a computer monitor with the push of a button.
For soldiers, perhaps it does become simplified to the point of being a childlike game of “goodies” and “badies’.” Maybe Prince Harry is expressing sentiments that many other soldiers would echo.
Afghanistan is a war zone. The people who are fighting against NATO forces there are largely native to the region and see that their land has been invaded.
British soldiers are in Afghanistan for political reasons. Real people die on both sides and those people have families, friends and lives that have a value. Western politicians and the Western media try to pretend that’s only true for “their boys,” not the other lot.
‘We kill the bad guys because they are trying to kill us’ is the Prince’s ‘logic’ – and this may well reflect the views of many of his army colleagues. The fickle UK media flip between praising the “heroics” of the soldiers in Afghanistan fighting against a vague cacophony of bearded bad guys whose main crime appears to be fighting back; and criticising Prince Harry for saying what they do out loud.
The central problem is that the UK government has launched a war against ideological Islam that has led them to be bogged down in guerrilla wars with no direct relationship to the actual ideological battle they want to fight.
The Harry Interview is just more propaganda to justify a war that been lost, and to distract from the harm and damage that’s been done.
Occupying Afghanistan has not defeated terrorism, has not defeated political Islam, has not rebuilt Afghanistan and does not protect the British people.
It’s a shameful war with no winner.
And it is even more shameful that British leaders send their soldiers to kill and be killed for the sake of an imperial foreign policy failure – without being seriously accounted by their politicians, media or public.
Prince Harry probably is a Royal buffoon whose occasionally shameful mistakes will continue to sell newspapers. But perhaps his honest comment is a real insight into what is really happening; the U.K. and U.S. military are killing people like it’s a game, without really knowing why, thinking they are the good guys and the enemy are the bad guys, and it’s achieving nothing but more death and enmity from those that they mercilessly and shamelessly attack.
It’s called British foreign policy and its been going on for centuries.