"[W]hether your time call you to live or die, do both like a prince." – Sir Philip Sidney, The "Old" Arcadia
, 1580 EV
"...therefore I am come amongst you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust. I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too, and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm..." -- Elizabeth I, 1588 EVhttp://www.britannia.com/history/monarchs/mon45.html
Sidney -- who wrote so well, and so horribly, about the combat he'd seen -- must be proud today. So must the first Queen Elizabeth, who despite her "feeble body" had the heart and stomach of a King -- "and of a King of England, too."
You may have heard that Britain's Prince Harry, having recently completed his military training, insisted on being deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, on the theory that he was damned if he was going to sit home in comfort while "his boys" were in harm's way. You may also know that he'll shortly be deploying for Iraq.
Unsurprisingly, militants there have already announced that they plan to especially target him. Indeed, there'd been some criticism here (in the U.S. and U.K.) of his desire to be deployed, on the theory that he'd be further endangering the men in his unit. Well -- per last night's Bill Moyers Journal
on PBS -- now we know what the men in his unit themselves think about this:
They've had khaki t-shirts printed up for the whole unit, with a black bull's-eye right over the heart, and in big red letters the legend: "I'M HARRY."
Translation: our prince has balls enough to put himself at risk. Fuck you.
America has had leaders willing to put themselves at risk in war: many of the older ones, in WW II (JFK, the elder George Bush) or (like Charles Rangel) Korea, but also Vietnam vets like Al Gore, John Kerry, John McCain, Chuck Hagel and Gray Davis. My favorite moment from the gubernatorial recall that handed California to Ahnodd: dimwit newscaster asking Gov. Davis whether this recall were the greatest challenge he'd ever faced.
"Well," he said, "I served in Vietnam, so, No, not really."
Sure, Harry will be surrounded by a contingent of special forces (SAS) men, directly tasked to protect him: he's in line for the throne, besides which we don't want the fanatics we're up against to score a propaganda victory off the situation. But he could have stayed home, and partied, and hung out with girls.
And he didn't. And "his boys" seem to have no trouble telling whether that was admirable or not.
93 93/93 -- AJ