Prince Harry’s admission that he killed Taliban fighters while working as a helicopter gunner in Afghanistan drew intense British media coverage Tuesday and sparked concerns about possible reprisals, along with the pathetic whining from people who don’t think he should be shooting at the enemy.
The 28-year-old prince spoke in a pooled interview published late Monday after he was safely out of Afghanistan. He had spent the last 20 weeks deployed as a co-pilot and gunner in a heavily armed Apache attack helicopter.
Asked if he had killed from the cockpit, the third-in-line to the British throne said: “Yeah, so, lots of people have.”
The response was immediate, on Tuesday: The Daily Mirror tabloid ran a page-one headline “Royal Sensation Harry: I Killed Taliban” along with a photo of a macho-looking Harry in combat gear and designer shades.
Other newspapers ran similar gung-ho stories about the prince’s military exploits. “Harry: I Have Killed” was the story in the Daily Mail.
Video shot during the prince’s deployment was shown dozens of times on Britain’s major news networks. The Jeremy Vine show on radio 2 spent ages discussing whether it was right or wrong for the Prince to actually be shooting the enemy!
So what’s all the fuss about? Of course he might have shot some insurgents, he’s in the army. If he’d qualified as a dentist, would there be an outcry because he’d removed someone’s tooth rather than just watching from the waiting room? Of course not.
This all remind’s me of the Sergeant Lee Clegg case in 1990. Clegg, was a British Army soldier who was convicted of murder for his involvement in the shooting dead of two teenage joyriders in West Belfast, Northern Ireland.
This soldier was issued a gun and told to stand guard at a vehicle check point. When a stolen Vauxhall Astra car was driven through the checkpoint at speed – he opened fire on the vehicle, killing the 18 year old passenger.
Now, if the army hadn’t wanted him to shoot at the car driving through the roadblock, why didn’t they issue him with a wooden stick or a banana – anything other than a loaded gun. Let’s face it, what was he supposed to do? Stand by and wave?
His conviction was later overturned.