How fitting that England’s Prince Harry won’t be sent to Iraq with the rest of his regiment, despite his request to go. Commanding officers have pulled him from the ranks, citing concern that insurgents have targeted him specially, which would endanger him and the troops (bodyguards?) around him.
According to the news report, Harry remains dedicated to his military career. I’m not sure how he will ever be able to serve as an infantry officer, given these special risks. The same goes for Prince William, who’s also in the army. Send these men to flight school or submarine school, where they will be forever safe from “insurgents.”
How different is our world from that of Harry’s royal forebears! Many British royals fought right up front, sword in hand, suffering the slings and arrows of their enemy. King Harold famously took an arrow in the eye at Hastings. Shakespeare’s King Henry gave us the “Once more unto the breach, dear friends,” battle cry. These men were also specifically targeted by the enemy. More, they were actual kings, not third-in-line-for-the-throne princes and they weren’t mere figureheads.
But give Harry credit for at least trying to give ’em Hell (unless his initial request was mere royal theatre). He’s shown more sense of duty than the Bush twin daughters (except when he’s partying in his Nazi uniform), who seem blissfully unaware they’re needed in a distant land. The Bush twins gave their bodies when it was time to campaign for Daddy in 2004, using their sex appeal to excite College Republicans, so why not now? After all, the 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign emphatically supported the war and occupation. And the twins cannot have missed hearing their down-in-the-polls dad talk about Iraq, and how important it is that the U.S. succeed there (whatever that means). Ditto for Cheney’s daughters. Both Elizabeth, who now works at the State Department, and Mary did their share of shilling for Daddy Dick in the 2004 campaign.
Shouldn’t the Bush daughters at least join the National Guard like their father, who flew obsolete jets to weasel out of Vietnam? Wait: Much of today’s Guard is in Iraq The twins could at least join Halliburton, so they may serve, albeit in luxury, on cost-plus contracts at taxpayer (read: our) expense. As for the Cheney daughters, it looks like they have “other priorities,” just like their armchair warrior dad during Vietnam. Correction: Army regulations would prohibit Mary from serving even if she wanted to, because she’s openly gay.
Forget presidential progeny. What about the folks who still sport “Bush-Cheney 2004” bumper stickers or “Support the Troops” yellow ribbons? Why aren’t they clamoring to go to Iraq? Presumably, they aren’t all openly gay. The absence of these pom-pom boys and girls in Iraq is all the more glaring given that the Army complains about troop shortages and has even upped its age limit to 42.
Apparently, war is not for everyone. It’s not for royals, anymore. It’s certainly not for presidents’ and vice presidents’ kids. It’s not for regular voters and working stiffs. It’s for “the troops.”
Since Congress has lacked the brains and the balls to cut off the president’s line of credit (this Daddy’s war bucks are borrowed ), the next spending bill for Iraq should include nixing any age limit for the Army. After all, most military jobs are non-combat roles. Even octogenarians can help.
Call this new generation of experienced recruits “Generation Ex,” or “Generation Why Not?”
The Army would need new approach in its recruiting ads. Here’s a slogan, from none other than General Douglas MacArthur: “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”
See, there’s no real danger, old soldiers-to-be! You never die! Add a soundtrack (classic rock) and images of purposeful yet cheerful, desert-camo-clad men and women (the playful Bush twins?) wearing pistols, driving Humvees, reviewing intelligence, building spreadsheets, fixing computers, writing reports, and crunching numbers . The commercials could even instruct that Boot Camp benefits saggy abs and doddering libidos.
The pitch wouldn’t be any more deceptive than traditional military ads that prey on teenagers.
If Congress won’t get pro-war oldsters to step up and keeps “supporting” our troops by keeping them in Iraq, then Army recruiters will just have to dig deeper and deceive our children further. Sergeant Joe Camel, anyone?
BRIAN J. FOLEY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit his primitive website at www.brianjfoley.com