Commentary Magazine


Thanks, Harry

Since the end of the Vietnam War, America has allowed herself to celebrate as war heroes only those men and women who were injured or killed in action. The victorious battle hero has vanished from public consciousness. This is a big problem. As Navy SEAL Captain Roger Lee Crossland put it in an excellent 2004 piece:

We help our enemies by default, by allowing lesser images to be presented as substitutes. Everyone knows the name Jessica Lynch. She wore her country’s uniform, went willingly to her duty in Iraq, and suffered grievous injuries, but does she qualify to be known first among those who served in this war? We have brushed aside battlefield resolution and action—which should be foremost—and allowed the image of victimization and suffering to take its place.

With this in mind, it’s worth paying tribute to Prince Harry and his service with the coalition forces in Afghanistan. The young man (who hardly fits the anti-war crowd’s cartoon of an uneducated and destitute victim with his back to the wall) volunteered to place his gut in the dirt and take up arms against the scourge of the planet. The Daily Mail reports that Harry killed 30 Taliban. Can we take a moment to applaud this? Can we applaud a selfless act of heroic determination in this country? And could we please do it more often for the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces? Strangely, we’re at a point where warriors aren’t to be celebrated for protecting civilians. Captain Crossland has some insight on this:

Heroism, by definition, implies a superior quality for a moment in time. A hero, therefore, is a superior individual by virtue of superior conduct, and the politically correct will not countenance that. No one is superior to anyone else, nothing is better than anything else, no cause is greater than any other. The United States is not exceptional, nor are U.S. causes. Victims, on the other hand, are perfectly politically correct.

Harry is incalculably better than the thugs he disposed of in Afghanistan. The very least we can do is to acknowledge this. The preservation of our of our own moral and cultural frameworks depends on the decisive and unapologetic action of people such as him. Thanks, Harry!