Mon Feb 4th, 2008 at 08:04:23 PM EST
In an unprecedented move, Prince Andrew, 4th in line to the British throne, had some harsh words for the Americans over the Iraq war disaster.
According to the International Herald Tribune, From Prince Andrew, critical words for the U.S. on Iraq
While Prince Andrew declares himself a fan of the United States - and his cellphone ring tone comes from the American TV drama "24" - the man who is fourth in line to the British throne has some critical words for America's Iraq policy and thinks that Washington should have listened to advice from London.
In a rare Buckingham Palace interview ahead of his departure Tuesday for a 10-day U.S. trip to support British business, the prince described the United
States as Britain's No. 1 ally but conceded that relations were in a trough. There are, he added, "occasions when people in the U.K. would wish that those in responsible positions in the U.S. might listen and learn from our experiences."
The Duke of York's criticism aimed at President Bush's handling of post invasion Iraq will undoubtedly jolt many in the British political 'Establishment' as well as opinion writers like Mathew Parris of The Times (Parris is one of those writers who believe they are the only people who have the right to be vocal about certain politicial issues) and a few mainstream media writers like him who will think that Andrew has gone overboard or that he has no business making his political thoughts known, particularly when they involve number one ally, the US.
Prince Andrew, Britain's general trade ambassador par excellence (he's been globe trotting these last many years hunting juicy contracts on behalf of UK industries, eg., defence, etc.) will surely be at the receiving end of a lot of flak not only from folks at home but also from allies on the other side of the pond even before he steps on that plane en route to the US in support of British business. I have no doubt that he's been made aware that he will be walking on a tight rope, but what the heck! The man is bloody right!
"If you are looking at colonialism, if you are looking at operations on an international scale, if you are looking at understanding each other's culture, understanding how to operate in a military insurgency campaign - we have been through them all," he said. "We've won some, lost some, drawn some. The fact is there is quite a lot of experience over here which is valid and should be listened to."
The fallout from Iraq has fueled, the prince argues, "healthy skepticism" toward what is said in Washington, and a feeling of "why didn't anyone listen to what was said and the advice that was given."
After all, British views had been sought - "it's not as if we had been forcing that across the Atlantic."
A tit-for-tat? Prince Andrew's criticism of Pres Bush's handling of the Iraq war comes at the heel of US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates' own unprecedented accusation that Britain and other close allies fighting in southern Afghanistan lack experience in counter-insurgency warfare. In my book, Pres Bush greatly deserves the criticism and coming from a Falklands War veteran, Americans will be hard put to say that Prince Andrew is wrong.
It's time to call a spade a spade!