Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Prince Harry

A reflection on the Prince’s (Harry) version of a boy’s own adventure in Afghanistan
The author refused to serve a second tour in Afghanistan on legal and moral grounds, reflects on the Prince’s version of a boy’s own adventure. He later spending five months in military prison. His book, ‘Soldier Box‘, is published by Verso in May

Winter has come and over the last few days leading figures in the War on Terror, unwilling to wait for Season Three of Game of Thrones to hit screens, have been re-watching past episodes to the point that it’s colored their rhetoric.

Between Cameron’s assurances of a war against sundry evil-doers that will last ‘decades’ and French Defence Minister Le Driand’s frankly crackpot calls for a ‘total reconquest’ of Mali, the only question is: how long until we replace drones with halberds?

Joe Glenton published in The Independent on Jan. 22,  2013 under “Prince Harry was positively tame when talking about the brutal reality of war in Afghanistan”

Martial cant

The latest bit of martial cant has come from one dashing Captain Harry Wales; fighter, lover, occasional exhibitionist and warrior-prince of the House of Saxe-Gotha-Coburg.

Having had his first tour of Afghanistan cut short, he has just finished his latest stint, where he has been fighting astride Apache helicopters: the British Army’s multi-million pound engines of destruction.

The poor lad’s been having a hard time, even Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar – a man whose admirable turn of phrase just can’t make up for his human rights records – called him a ‘shameless, drunken jackal’ recently.

In all honesty, and I include a younger version of myself in this, that’s not a completely inaccurate description for young soldiers out on the town: hit the bars and clubs of Colchester on a Saturday night if you doubt me.

We didn’t generally take our disco-dancing shoes on operational tour, and Harry doesn’t kill Afghans while intoxicated as Hekmatyar suggested.

Apaches are too precious and expensive to be flown by drunkards, regardless of their pedigree. In fact, given that we aren’t doing at all well in Afghanistan, even with our potent technology, Apache may be even more of a burden on taxpayers then Harry himself.

While a number of Household Cavalry veterans have informed me that young Mr Wales was okay ‘as officers go’, which is a pretty glowing assessment in soldier-speak, his latest public comments do make him sound for the all the world like a gun-horny adolescent playing a pricey version of Call of Duty.

Mind you that squaddie culture and humour is close to the bone because the tasks soldiers are given are the grimmest imaginable and are often carried out, as in Afghanistan, without a mandate and with little public support.

Brutal humour is often the only kind of armour a soldier can get hold of easily, I recall an expression brought back from Bosnia by older members of my own unit that seems to capture it: If you don’t laugh you’ll only cry.

Captain Wales does come across as fairly casual when he talks about taking lives to save lives, stopping people doing ‘bad stuff’ and ‘taking people out of the game’.

In his defence though, and given his much publicized record as the royal social hand grenade, he may be politically naïve, or it could be that he’s a young man who’s been strapped into an attack helicopter for 20 weeks.

One of the best arguments against war is the effects it has on the people fighting – though clearly Harry is, unlike many of the infantrymen he’s supporting, a soldier by way of choice not economics, I would not wish sleepless nights on anyone, even as a republican.

Just a job

This trivialisation of violence is not new thing; it is part of the process of dehumanisation which is central to modern warfare. It seems to have taken on new forms in the post 9/11 campaigns.

During his short-lived first tour as a tactical air controller – calling in air strikes – Wales and his colleagues watched the bombs hit from their bunker on a live-feed monitor nicknamed ‘Kill TV’.

This notion of a kind of professional distance from the killing you are involved in is also expressed in the US military term for an Afghan, Pakistani or whoever is killed by a drone strike; a kill is referred to humorously – and officially – as a ‘bugsplat’ after a children’s computer game.

Harry’s comments are hardly revelatory and are tame compared to those I’ve heard from soldiers away from the media. To operate against and kill other humans, it helps to view this process as simply a job, however intellectually dishonest that is.

Military training is sophisticated social engineering and wartime experience has the effect of ingraining a certain type of callousness.

While war is a toxic institution, for a few of those who conduct it, particularly privileged young princes who find themselves in the vanguard of US power, it can appear to be a latter-day boy’s own adventure.

The author refused to serve a second tour in Afghanistan on legal and moral grounds, later spending five months in military prison. His book, ‘Soldier Box‘, is published by Verso in May

Note: Prince Harry married lately. He seems more at peace with himself and very well liked in Britain

You need to live in London once: 101 Reasons…

Tempted to move to London when you graduate? We tell you why it’ll be the best decision you ever make…

Deciding what to do with your life is tough. Apparently professional bed tester jobs are few and far between, and very few people are lucky enough to leave university with the small fortune you need to go travelling.

Robin Edds posted on May 13, 2013

101 reasons you need to live in London once

You’ve probably got one of three options. Stay in your uni town and get a job. Move home and get a job. Or follow the yellow brick road (or grey tarmac motorway) to London… and get a job.

It’s big. It’s busy. It’s loud.

It’s without doubt the most fun place for someone in their twenties to spend the last few care-free years of their lives before things like matrimony, mortgages and *whispers* children are thrown into the equation.

It’s not for everyone, but you owe it to yourself to find out.

Here are 101 reasons why everyone needs to live in London once…

1. You feel really smooth when you use your Oyster

2. You WILL bump into people more than you think…

3. …and when you do it feels like the greatest thing ever

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4. When you understand the tube map you’ll realise how painfully simple it is

5. Everyone knows someone who lives there

6. Online dating is totally acceptable

7. No matter what you want to do with your career, you can do it in London

8. The Natural History Museum is totally free

9. As is the Science Museum

10. And the British Musem

11. And the Tate

12. And the Tate Modern

13. OK, naming all of them would probably be cheating – but there are a whole world of free galleries and museums

14. There are 4500 pubs & bars

15. Sitting in the park on a summer’s day

16. You don’t have to be nice to strangers

17. There are hundreds of thousands of single people

18. You see famous people all the time

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19. You feel really smug when you go back home and tell your friends about London life

20. It’s one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world

21. Whatever type of food you want, you’ll find it

22. Your commute will take you past some of the most famous landmarks in the world

23. It rains a lot less than it does in the north

24. The view from Waterloo bridge looking east

25. The view from Waterloo bridge looking west

26. Drinking by the Thames

27. It’s more expensive, but you’ll earn more there than anywhere else

28. Topshop on Oxford Street

29. Westfield Stratford is the largest urban shopping centre in the EU

30. The Olympics showed that all Londoners can be nice when they want to be

31. Miss the countryside? There are urban farms

32. Once you know you way around, there is no greater feeling than a tourist asking you for directions and you actually knowing the answer

33. The fancy double doors on the Jubilee Line

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34.  So many Markets

35. London gets less rain per year than anywhere else in the UK – just 700mm, compared to 1200mm in Cardiff

36. People who live in London live 5 years longer than the national average

37. Every band who tours plays in London

38. You can just hop on a train to Paris when you get bored

39. It’s home to some of the most famous sporting venues in the world – Wembley, Twickenham, Lords, Wimbledon…

40. Home is always just a few hours away

41. You can never be bored with TimeOut telling you what to do

42. Nightbuses. You can always get home thanks to nightbuses

43. The top deck on nightbuses: the party continues

44. Stunning views from The Shard, The London Eye and Primrose Hill

45. EVERYONE goes for drinks after work

46. You can always drink without worrying about how you’re going to get home. NO ONE drives

47. Want to still feel like a student? Move to Clapham

48. Infernos

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49. When it rains it never lasts that long

50. Running along the river makes running much less depressing

51. When you watch the Apprentice you’ll be able to recognise everywhere they go

52. If leaving uni is making you feel old, moving to London will make you feel young again

53. There are a seemingly endless number of high-end burger restaurants

54. Getting angry at tourists who are getting in your way is weirdly liberating

55. Boris

56. Curries on Brick Lane

57. Laughing at the word ‘Cockfosters

58. In depth conversations with taxi drivers

59. Warehouse parties where no one looks twice if you enter wearing a horse’s head

60. You’re always going to meet someone who is stranger than you

61. Free gigs – up and coming bands that can either be sh*t or become mega superstars

62. Sample sales

63. Vintage markets

64. Boris bikes

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65. There are endless exercise fads for people who hate the gym – e.g. sober disco dancing

66. It’s a great place to be single

67. It’s a great place to be in a relationship

68. Musicals

69. Fringe theatre/ performance art: where else can you see a woman crack an egg using her lady parts? OK, maybe Bangkok.

70. When you live here, you can do all the tourist things during off-peak times

71. Retrace favourite film character’s steps: Notting Hill, 28 Days Later, Harry Potter…

72. Christmas markets the size of your uni town

73. Top hairdressing schools = free hair cuts galore

74. Book exchanges = free books

75. People back home will think you’re really tough for living in London

76. Museum Lates – you can get drunk AND learn

77. Zoo Lates – you can get drunk AND look at animals

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78. You can watch a play at the Globe for a fiver

79. There’s always a house party

80. There’s always an after party

81. There’s always a new street, a new park , a new pub to discover

82. Love hipsters? East London is your Mecca

83. Hate hipsters? Move to South London. They’re too scared to cross the river

84. When friends visit you, feel really smug about how scared they are

85. The Queen lives here

86. You’ll almost certainly bump into Prince Harry on a night out

87. When you leave work, your town is coming alive not winding down

88. There are outdoor swimming pools all over the city

89. 14.5 million tourists visited London in 2010, ranking London the most visited of all European cities. They can’t all be wrong

90. Wherever you go on holiday it will feel cheap by comparison

91. We have buildings called things like the Gherkin, the Shard, the Cheesegrater and the Walkie Talkie

92. The circle line pub crawl has 27 pubs

93. We throw a great party…

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94. You’ll fall in love on the tube around 17 times a day

95. Everyone passes through London at some point, so you don’t have to visit anyone

96. You can go out on any night of the week

97. In the summer it’s always hotter in London than anywhere else in the country


99. There are more hot people here than anywhere else

100. There are a LOT of airports if you need to get away

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May 2023

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