Got in a little hometown jam
So they put a rifle in my hand
And sent me off to a foreign land
To go and kill the yellow man.
~ Bruce Springsteen, Born In The USA
Horse-faced royal twit wants to play at soldiers, possibly in order to come out of the shadow of his elder brother, or to put publicity associated with running around naked behind him. After all, royals going to war legitimises the war, right? Nothing like a bit of healthy propaganda to rescue a collapsing domestic morale...as long as nothing goes wrong.
So the royal twit gets himself sent off to Afghanistan, to “go and kill the brown man” – unlike Springsteen’s narrator, who had no choice, this is something he chose to do, and it was also the second time he’s going back there.
He gets to go there, we should remember, because the kingdom’s soldiers are in that country in order to die for the US President, who is not their king-emperor, at least not officially.
Said royal twit, incidentally, is a racist little thug who has a penchant for referring to brown-skinned people as “ragheads” and “Pakis”, and has been known to dress up in swastikas. Prince Charming, he’s not.
The Afghan resistance, who’s gaining in strength by the day, declares that it will go to some effort to kill or arrest him. They know which base he’s on, from where he will apparently be flying Apache helicopter gunships – you know, like those ones which regularly murder Afghan women and children. So it can be assumed that he’s a fairly prime target, just as he was when he’d gone to Afghanistan the first time round.
Is the Afghan resistance's threat a bluff? Not quite.
Suiting actions to words, the Afghan resistance hits the "fortified" base hard, destroys six Harrier VTOL fighters and damages two, kills two US Marine Corps members of the guard and injures several more. They don’t get the royal twit, at least this time round, and claim the mission wasn’t meant to get him. But you can be sure there’s going to be a lot of disquiet and anxiety in the kingdom right now.
The anxiety and disquiet will handily be increased because the royal twit will have to be kept away from any and all contact with even the tame ”ragheads” and “Pakis”. That’s not just because he’s gone there to kill them, but because they can’t be trusted not to kill him – not for a moment. After all, they’re blowing away their alleged allies in increasing numbers, on a virtually daily basis.
So, let’s go over this again:
Royal twit goes to Afghanistan to play at soldiers. US Marines die to save his life, because he’s a prime target, and will undoubtedly keep dying to save his life as long as he’s there. And he gets to go to Afghanistan because his kingdom’s troops have been sent there to die for the United States.
I’ll bet a lot of the American troops guarding him will cheer if the Taliban does the world a favour and blows the little slimeball away. After all, it's kind of ironic if troops of a republic which fought an independence war to throw out a monarchy have to die to save the life of a twit from that monarchy.
Anyone who’s read Catch 22 will recognise this circular, self-perpetuating scenario. Joseph Heller’s masterpiece is full of this sort of cyclical, cynical episodes. It’s also probably the book I’ve reread the largest number of times, until I can replay entire passages in my mind more or less by rote. (Yes, I do love Heller, though he’s not one of the writers whose writing style has influenced mine...the only such writer I can think of, in retrospect, is Ray Bradbury.)
Actually, I’d have loved to read Heller’s reaction to the current Afghanistan scenario in general. The US wants to occupy Afghanistan -- > in order for it to be viable at all, the US has to do it at a minimal cost in blood and treasure -- > the US accordingly tries to arm and train a proxy Afghan police and army -- > this Afghan police and army promptly turns its weapons on the people who are arming and training them -- > the US then has to depute soldiers whose only function is to stand guard over these proxy Afghan police and army troops -- > thereby increasing its own cost in blood and treasure.
Yep. Very much out of Catch 22.
Actually, though, I’m thinking of another of Heller’s books, which I personally rank above Catch 22. That’s Picture This, Heller’s novel on Aristotle’s Greece and Rembrandt van Rijn’s Netherlands, and it’s full of fascinating historical references by which the author succinctly proves that nothing has really changed in two and a half millennia.
While the novel is structured round the trial and execution of Socrates (just as Catch 22 is structured round the death of the airman Snowden), a lot of it deals with contemporary politics. For instance, Athens sent troops to attack another Greek city-state in order to protect Athenian interests there. As Heller points out, Athens had no interests there until it sent troops. And one of the most liberal Athenian military leaders was someone who had grown rich trading in human slaves. And so on, and on, and on.
These episodes, Heller says in his inimitable dry sarcastic tones, were not wars. They were police actions.
If he were around today, I can imagine Heller shaking his silver mane of hair and getting down to knock the stuffing out of the occupation – and of the royal twit.
The Madness Of Prince Harry, he might have called it.