Thursday, May 17, 2007


British prince won't go to Iraq

(Reuters) - The military career of Prince Harry was left in doubt on Thursday after commanders decided Iraq was too dangerous a mission for the third in line to the British throne. Defense analysts said the 22-year-old, who graduated as a junior army officer a year ago, would have trouble carving out a military career if he could not lead his men into active service.
Reg Keys, who lost his son Tom there, said "It would appear that Harry's life is more valuable than my son's or the other nearly 150 service personnel who have given their lives there." "If it is too dangerous for Harry, it is too dangerous for the rest of the troops out there," said Rose Gentle, whose 19-year-old son Gordon died in the conflict. Harry had been due to be deployed in Basra, in southern Iraq, with his Blues and Royals regiment in the coming weeks as part of the latest British troop rotation.
He had been determined to serve alongside his troops, saying "There's no way I'm going to put myself through Sandhurst (military academy) and then sit on my arse back home while my boys are out fighting for their country." Britain's Ministry of Defense said specific threats made by insurgent groups against Harry, including listing him as a kidnap target, had made any deployment far too risky.
"I've decided the risk to Prince Harry is too great," Richard Dannatt, the head of the British army, told reporters. "I've also decided that the risk he brings to his troop and his squadron ... is also too great." Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, told Reuters: "What this does show is that the state of affairs in southeast Iraq is pretty dire."
April was the most dangerous month for British forces in Iraq since the war in 2003 -- 12 soldiers were killed.
"The politicians have set the military an impossible task. The British have become targets of opportunity. It is completely unsafe to have people like Harry going in there," Rogers said.

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