well… this is interesting – apparently he INSISTED that he go – threatened to quit and make a big scandal.
Prince Harry moves into the line of fire as 1,600 troops get set to move out
White House unhappy with timing of Prime Minister’s announcement that British forces are being cut back
Michael Evans, Defence Editor and Philip Webster, Political Editor
Prince Harry and his squadron from The Blues and Royals have received their marching orders to deploy to Iraq in May despite yesterday’s announcement that 1,600 British troops will be withdrawn at that time.
Second Lieutenant (or Cornet) Wales will be leaving with A Squadron The Blues and Royals, Household Cavalry, as part of the next rotation of troops for Operation Telic.
As Tony Blair made his long-awaited statement that British forces can start thinking of returning home, the Prime Minister refused to apologise for the Iraq war. Facing calls from MPs to take responsibility for the chaos that came after the invasion, Mr Blair declared that terrorism would be defeated “when we do not apologise for our values but stand up for them”.
No details have been given about the Prince’s responsibilities, but he is likely to serve with his squadron wherever it is deployed. This could mean being posted to Maysan province for reconnaissance along the border with Iran. Prince Harry has already made his wishes clear. He wants to be with his squadron, not locked away in a staff job in a heavily protected base.
Every attempt will be made to treat Cornet Wales like any other junior officer, but his commanding officer will have a special responsibility to secure his safety. That will not mean surrounding him with bodyguards while on patrol, but he is expected to have a personal protection officer when required.
Reaction from the White House and Howard Dean:
Diplomatic sources in Wash-ington told The Times that the White House had been unhappy with Mr Blair’s announcement so soon after Congress had delivered its rebuke of the planned increase in US troop levels in Iraq. Although President Bush had long been aware that Britain was likely to begin withdrawing troops this year, he believed that “the timing of this was not helpful”, with aides asking if this “really needed to be done now”.
Howard Dean, a leading Democrat, described the British pullout as “a clear setback for the [Bush] Administration that is just simply out of step with our allies”.