May 3, 2007

Prince Harry Of Mesopotamia


Barely three weeks after the tabloid nation of Great Britain tried to pimp its released Iranian hostages to promote the Iraq war, the British Ministry of Defence is at it again.

Will he, won’t he?  Won’t he, will he?

And ta-da!  It’s official.  After agonizing for weeks over whether tank commander Prince Harry should be allowed to serve as a high-asset celebrity promotional vehicle (and prime IED target) soldier in Iraq, the military brass gives thumbs up!  (And, as I’m sure it was factored, the press is already squeezing new mileage out of Diana Spencer.  Stateside, leave it to Newsweek to lace a slide show.)

With the dirt and the camo, it looks like he’s been there already, as if making his participation seem that much more inevitable.  By the way, the name on the helmet is interesting.  Is allusion to title a necessary gesture to separate royal from commoner?  At the same time, however, doesn’t that function as much like a “shoot me” sticker? (See caption regarding Mahdi Army bluster below.)

Prince-Harry-Iraq Pat-Tillman-Afghanistan

Just because the U.S. has a different system for ascribing royalty, however, I couldn’t help comparing these two rough-and-ready images, between the now well-familiar war promo of football star and friendly-fire victim, Pat Tillman, and this particular shot of the Prince (out of the group of incredibly well-crafted military-produced images) now swarming the newswire.

On the subject of photos and propaganda, by the way, I know the Tillman – Lynch hearing last week was supposed to help uncover video supposedly taken of Tillman’s death by a military drone.

It’s just so easy to get the sex on the front end, and just so hard to get any kind of view afterwards.

(image 1 & 2 : Corporal Ian Holding/RLC/MoD/Handout/A.P. and Reuters, respectively.  image 3: AP Photo/Photography Plus via Williamson Stealth Media Solutions.  2003.  All images via YahooNews.  Caption 1: Ministry of Defence handout picture of Britain’s Prince Harry, younger son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana, while taking part in his final training exercise, in Cyprus, in March 2006. A Shia commander in Iraq has claimed that the Mahdi army has people inside British bases who will leak information about Prince Harry’s arrival in the country on active service, according to a newspaper report Saturday April 28 2007. ‘One of our aims is to capture Harry, we have people inside the British bases to inform us on when he will arrive,’ Abu Mujtaba, a commander in the Mahdi army, the Shia militia loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, told the Guardian.  Caption 2: Britain’s Prince Harry wears the beret of the Blues and Royals in his final training exercise, Exercise Threshold, in Cyprus in this March 2006 handout photo released by the Ministry of Defence on April 11, 2006. Debate is raging in Britain over whether Harry, third in line to the throne, should be deployed to a conflict in which 11 British soldiers have died this month, April 2007.)

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Michael Shaw
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