by RAY FLEMING
WAS it right for Prince Harry to go to Afghansitan? Was the British media right to agree to keep mum about his presence there? When Prince Harry wanted to join his regiment in Iraq I argued strongly against the idea, mainly because his possible presence there had been widely publicised and the danger to him and those serving with him had increased accordingly. That argument does not apply to his service in Afghanistan which was a well-kept secret and when it was no longer so he was quickly evacuated. There have been suggestions that the Army and perhaps even some politicians wanted the Prince to serve in Afghanistan in order to garner good publicity for a widely-criticised mission. That seems unlikely and overlooks his obvious determination to see his Army service as a genuine commitment, not just as a royal convention. I think he should be given credit for that, as should Queen Elizabeth who must have been ready to agree that the third in line to the Throne should share the risks and hardships experienced by all her subjects who serve in the armed forces. The Monarchy will have been strengthened by Prince Harry's service in Afghanistan, but may also have increased its vulnerability to terrorist attack. Criticism of the UK media for agreeing to censor itself temporarily seems wide of the mark. There are precedents for restraint when the national interest requires it. Prince Harry's safety, and that of his comrades, was just such a case.
by RAY FLEMING