Its Official: Prince Harry Will Serve in Iraq
Amid speculation regarding Price Harry's viability as a likely target to Muslim warmongers, he is now set to be deployed to Iraq this month with the rest of his Blues and Royals regiment as a lieutenant. Rumors are circulating that the prince's picture had been downloaded and sent to numerous militia groups, making his an easier target, especially concerning along with the string of attacks on British forces in southern Iraq as of late. Prince Harry's unit will be sent to southern Iraq.
According to an article in the Los Angeles Times (and printed in the Pioneer Press): "A Sunni insurgent leader told the newspaper that his group had people "planted" inside British military bases who were under orders to track Harry's movements.
But London-based defense analyst Tim Ripley said the level of the specific threat against the prince has been exaggerated.
"Once he's got his uniform on, his helmet on and he's in a tank, how do they know it's him?" he said.
Ripley said a decision not to send him would be a much harder order.
"It would be a devastating blow to the morale of the British Army in Iraq if, as a result of a huge amount of media froth, he didn't go on account of it's too dangerous," he said. "What do you tell the thousands of other troops, along with their families, who have to go?"
According to an AP Wire story printed in the Star Tribune: "
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."
Harry is a recent graduate of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst and has been enthusiastic about serving his country. He will be the first royal to serve in military combat since his uncle, Prince Andrew, flew as a helicopter pilot in Britain's conflict with Argentina over the Fakland Islands in 1982.
The two stories were basically the same, the LA Times piece being slightly shorter, and a little more confusing about the nature of the threats toward Harry. The AP story, however, cleared up my confusion.