In his memoir, the Duke of Sussex is unapologetic about killing Afghans during his military service while he tries to portray himself as the wronged sibling in a messy royal drama.
Few can forget the 1970s Hollywood symbol of American masculinity, ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan. An inspector with the San Francisco Police Department, Callahan would often go beyond the boundaries of convention (and the law) to “get the job done” and stop the bad guys in their tracks – often fatally. With his trademark Smith and Wesson Model 29, Harry would often shoot first, ask questions later, and show no remorse.
Here’s the thing – he’s a fictional character from an era that has since moved on. To my greatest dismay, I cannot say the same about the Duke of Sussex, Prince Harry.
The disgraced British royal now fancies himself as the British aristocracy’s answer to the American antihero, trading in the Model 29 for the much more lethal Apache gunship, even as he brags about killing dozens of Afghans in his memoir.
Why a rich prince-turned-socialite would feel the need to write a tell-all biography at the ripe old age of 38 is beyond me. But what is clear is that he could not care less about the blood he spills – so long as he gets a publishing deal out of it and makes some money by adding yet more scandal to his life.
Cold-blooded killer or bullied little brother?
Harry’s autobiography – hilariously titled Spare because he felt like a spare tyre compared to his elder brother and heir to the British crown, Prince William – was not due to be released until next week. However, the Spanish edition accidentally went on sale early, and the press that Harry hates so dearly have been poring over it.
While I have not read it, nor will I waste my time reading it, the excerpts that have now been widely publicised by the media are sometimes tragic, sometimes horrifying, and sometimes downright comical. Harry is clearly trying to paint himself as some kind of tragic hero, having fought for his country, loyally served his family, and now – and due to his choice of spouse, American actress Meghan Markle – standing up for what is right against his allegedly racist family and leaving his royal riches behind.
I am certain, however, that thoughts of race were far from Harry’s mind as he admitted killing at least 25 Afghans during his military service there. No, far from it, the prince who once thought it was a great idea to parade about as a Nazi could never be a racist.
Even funnier is that Harry used his memoirs to accuse Prince William and his wife of having encouraged him to don the uniform of the Third Reich. Meghan can rest easy, knowing her husband is colour and race blind, and that it was actually, again, Harry’s family’s fault.
No wonder, then, that he also claims William roughed him up recently in an argument over Meghan. The heir to the British throne was so enraged by his younger sibling that he apparently grabbed him by his collar and knocked him onto his back, leaving him with "scrapes and bruises." After that hiding, it is quite clear that Harry is not so Dirty Harry after all.
Not someone to sympathise with
These are among several tell-tale signs that Harry takes no responsibility for his own life and its trajectory. In describing the dozens of Afghans he killed, Harry says that he “didn’t think about [them] as 25 people,” but they were instead “chess pieces taken off the board”. More damningly, he claims that the British military "trained me to ‘other’ them, and they trained me well."
However, Harry’s ghoulish commentary is so awful that even his fellow brothers-in-arms in the British armed forces have distanced themselves from him, accusing him of engaging in a “tragic money-making scam” and rebuked him as having “turned against [his] other family, the military, that once embraced him [even after he] trashed his birth family”.
Harsh words, to be sure. Yet, there were no similar complaints about his ability to “other” Afghans he was tasked with killing, even when he compared combat and taking lives to a video game almost a decade ago. Back then, Harry was seen as something of a roguish royal, engaging in unseemly yet titillating behaviour that captured the imagination of the British public through its infamous tabloid newspapers and their sordid coverage.
However, now he is no longer in vogue after throwing his lot in with an American actress and seemingly throwing his family under the bus, British society and the media have turned against him. While it may seem unfair on the prince, I would much rather spare a thought for those Harry was allegedly taught to consider as sub-humans so that he could sleep well after a hard day’s killing.
We all know the sort of war crimes the West perpetrated in Afghanistan, from night raids to death squads. This sort of behaviour is not unique to Harry and is, in fact, deeply ingrained into the mentalities of many senior British policymakers and figures, including, apparently, the royal family.
Centuries of colonialism and treating other cultures and ethnicities as sub-human have left their mark on much of the British establishment’s psyche, and Harry is no different. However, as a high-profile royal, he is best suited to our criticism.
He revels in the limelight he casts on himself by publishing books and cutting deals with media giants like Netflix, even as he decries the difficulties and attention that come with being a British royal, all the while pretend-moaning that he would rather live a “normal” life.
Yet a normal life does not consist of pretending human beings are not human beings at all and blowing them away as if they were nothing more than a game for a bored prince.
So, with all these admissions, I say: “Cry me a river, Harry – and don’t forget to wipe your bloody tears away with your millions.”
Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of TRT World.
We welcome all pitches and submissions to TRT World Opinion – please send them via email, to email@example.com