It looks like they might. His regiment is due to begin a six-month tour of duty in Iraq within weeks. If deployed, Harry would be the first royal to serve in a war zone since his uncle, Prince Andrew, flew as a helicopter pilot in the Falklands conflict with Argentina in 1982 (remember that?). Although the final decision about what exactly Harry will be doing won’t be made for a few days, the prince had a huge farewell party in London on Friday night, and gave a moving speech:
I’m prepared to do anything they throw at me … Whether I serve on the front line or carry out a desk job in Basra I just want to get out to Iraq and serve my country. I’ll be honoured to serve as best I can â€” whatever I do. I have to listen to the orders of my commanding officers. Sadly, it’s out of my hands. I’m proud of the men I’ve trained with over the last few months but I have to respect that they need to be safe as well. It’s a great, great feeling to go to Iraq. I don’t know what to expect. I’m nervous, excited and apprehensive …and I’m really looking forward to it. I just want to get out there and do it.
It is wonderful that he wants to serve his country, but, as Harry himself alludes to in his speech, his presence endangers the other troops. According the News of the World:
Terror leader Abu Mujtaba, commander of a 50-strong unit of Iraqi insurgents, has chillingly piled on the pressure. He said: “One of our aims is to capture Harry. We have people inside the British bases to inform us on when he will arrive.
“We have a special unit that would work to track him down. Not only us, but every person who hates the British and the Americans will try to get him â€” all the mujahideens, al-Qaeda and the Iranians will try.
“For me he is just a British soldier and he should be killed if he comes to Iraq. But let’s be realistic, we can kill hundreds of British soldiers before forcing them to withdraw â€” but Harry is a bigger catch and we will force the British to come on their knees and talk to us.”
Now, seriously, who is this terrorist leader giving quotes to News of the World? I’m not saying the terrorists aren’t thinking this, but I just can’t believe there’s a terrorist sitting in an office building somewhere with a secretary like, “Um, Mr. Mujtaba, News of the World is on line two. They’re looking for a pull quote on this Prince Harry thing. Shall I put them through once you’re done with Osama?”
The newly single Wills showed up at the party and, while Harry and girlfriend Chelsy Davy left around 1 a.m., Wills closed the place down, apparently being quite the ladies man.
Both the royal family and the U.K. are concerned for Harry’s safety in Iraq. Sigh. This is just like when they drafted Conrad Birdie.