If Prince Harry's incredibly stupid Taliban boast puts lives in danger he will blame anyone but himself… again | The Sun
"CARELESS talk costs lives," ran the British cautionary poster campaign during World War 2.
One of the hugely successful cartoons, penned by Cyril ‘Fougasse’ Bird, depicted two women sitting on a train, gossiping, with Hitler and Goering listening from the seat behind them.
The implication was clear: one casual word, heard by the wrong person, could lead to members of our armed forces dying.
It’s probably the most famous motto in British military history, which makes it all the more inexplicable that Prince Harry doesn’t seem to know it.
For if he did, he surely wouldn’t have been so incredibly stupid as to boast in his book about killing 25 Taliban in Afghanistan and dehumanising them as "chess pieces" not real people?
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As soon as I read that extract in Harry’s book Spare, I winced.
Coming from a military family – my brother and brother-in-law were both army colonels who fought in various wars including Afghanistan – I knew this just wasn’t how soldiers ever talk in public about killing enemy combatants.
I also knew, as did anyone with half a brain, that it would spark exactly the kind of diplomatic furore we’ve since seen erupt, with first the Taliban and now Iran using Harry’s apparent disregard for human life to justify and excuse their own disregard for human life.
It’s important to remember that he is not just any old ex-soldier; he’s a senior member of the Royal Family and 5th in line to the throne.
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As such, notwithstanding his decision to quit Britain and royal duty, what he says about his time in the army matters far more than most former servicemen.
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And what he said in Spare was unbelievably reckless and dumb.
Don’t take my word for it.
Take the word of people like retired Colonel Tim Collins, renowned for his inspiring speech to his troops before the start of the Iraq war in 2003, who said: "That’s not how you behave in the army; it’s not how we think. He has badly let the side down. We don’t do notches on the rifle butt. We never did."
Or Falkland Islands veteran Admiral Lord West, former head of the Royal Navy, who called Harry "very stupid" and warned: "The Taliban will be thinking there’s this prince calling us all chess pieces and is quite happy about killing us. And there will be a lot of people in Islamic State and other terrorist organizations who will think this is something which should be avenged."
Or Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander in Afghanistan, who said: "It gives the wrong impression of the way the British army fights, and it feeds into jihadists' propaganda. We've already seen examples of how, already, within days, they've started to exploit that. That's the dangerous part of this. The majority of veterans that I have been in touch with are quite horrified by what he's been saying."
The anger and fears were well-founded.
Iran’s regime yesterday tried to justify the appalling execution of British-Iranian dual citizen Alireza Akbari, whom they accused of spying for M16, by tweeting from their Foreign Ministry account: "The British regime, whose royal family member sees the killing of 25 innocent people as removal of chess pieces and has no regrets over the issue, and those who turn a blind eye to this war crime, are in no position to preach others on human rights."
Sadly, I predict we’ll now see a lot more of this bogus moral equivalence being deployed by Britain’s foes.
But rather than apologise, and withdraw the comments from the book, Harry has predictably tried to deflect any blame from himself and pathetically accused the British press of perpetuating "the most dangerous lie they have ever told" by reporting on exactly what he said in the book.
It’s his default behavioural pattern whenever he’s cornered about his own mistakes, even if it means denying what we’ve all seen and heard come from his own lips or pen.
We saw the same nonsense with him attacking the British press for supposedly falsely saying he and his wife Meghan had accused the Royals of being racist about their unborn son – when the couple had gone on Oprah and done exactly that.
Harry’s proven himself to be as delusional as he’s disingenuous.
But it’s one thing b*tching about his family and torching the institution of the Monarchy that he loves to exploit for gazillions of dollars.
It’s quite another, far more serious thing to say stuff that is now being cynically seized on by Britain’s enemies to justify their own nefarious conduct.
And I share the widespread military and intelligence community concerns that Harry’s irresponsible grand-standing about his Taliban kills may now lead to increased risk of attacks against him, the Royals, and his former army colleagues.
If, God forbid, anything does happen, he will doubtless once again try to blame anyone but himself, and especially the British press.
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But that, to quote him, would be a dangerous lie.
The blame would lie entirely with him for neglecting to follow the military’s own mantra: careless talk costs lives.
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