The Death of the Warrior King

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Odin Calling up the Fire, circa 1914

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Let us do a postmortem on the archetype of the warrior king. We shall have no more great leaders, tested in the cauldron of battle. Today's leaders let the peasantry do all the fighting and the dying for the advancement of their empires. We live in an age of coddled boy kings, who avoid service in "Champagne Units" and mock the valor of inconvenient heroes.

Pity the Prince who wishes to fight alongside his men.

Newspapers are filling their pages about the security headache that a war zone assignment for Harry — who is third in line to the throne — could bring for the British army.

"Harry's always wanted to be treated as an ordinary soldier," the Daily Mail quoted an unidentified army source as saying. "He's not an ordinary soldier, of course."

When Harry, 22, left Sandhurst Military Academy last year, he became a second lieutenant and joined the Blues and Royals regiment of the Household Cavalry. At the time, the defense ministry said he could possibly be deployed to Iraq, but that there might be situations when the presence of a member of the royal family could increase the risk for his comrades.

Harry himself was having none of it.

"There's no way I'm going to put myself through Sandhurst, and then sit on my arse back home while my boys are out fighting for their country," he said in a television interview to mark his 21st birthday.

The warrior king mythos is mocked when the Chicken-Hawk-in-Chief plays lets pretend with a caricature of our original warrior President. It is surely dead when he can say things like this with a straight face.

"It's hard for me living in this beautiful White House to give you an assessment, a first hand assessment. I haven't been there. You have, I haven't. But I do talk to people who are and people whose judgment I trust and they would not qualify it as that. There are others who think it is."

The warrior king was defined by his scars. The leader of the free world cannot even look upon the scars of others.

Military amputee uninvited from Bush event because the press would see him with no legs

May these people fry in hell. (This a portion of a much larger, second part of the expose in the Washington Post on Monday.)

Perks and stardom do not come to every amputee. Sgt. David Thomas, a gunner with the Tennessee National Guard, spent his first three months at Walter Reed with no decent clothes; medics in Samarra had cut off his uniform. Heavily drugged, missing one leg and suffering from traumatic brain injury, David, 42, was finally told by a physical therapist to go to the Red Cross office, where he was given a T-shirt and sweat pants. He was awarded a Purple Heart but had no underwear.

David tangled with Walter Reed's image machine when he wanted to attend a ceremony for a fellow amputee, a Mexican national who was being granted U.S. citizenship by President Bush. A case worker quizzed him about what he would wear. It was summer, so David said shorts. The case manager said the media would be there and shorts were not advisable because the amputees would be seated in the front row.

" 'Are you telling me that I can't go to the ceremony 'cause I'm an amputee?' " David recalled asking. "She said, 'No, I'm saying you need to wear pants.' "

David told the case worker, "I'm not ashamed of what I did, and y'all shouldn't be neither." When the guest list came out for the ceremony, his name was not on it.

Bow your head in memory of the warrior king. He is no more.