When Die Welt newspaper reported on Prince Harry’s “tour” of the Artic, they played down the fact that he went to the North Pole to support soldiers wounded in Afghanistan in an action that was refreshing in its idealism.
At a time when so many of our beliefs and ideals have been shattered, when the cynicism and corruption of the elite — including the disgraced former German Defence Minister Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg — is becoming increasingly plain, when so many people live blighted lives, riddled with doubts, the sight of Prince Harry, and his brother Prince William, passionately caring about others, standing up for those who have been abandoned and fighting for a good cause with so much vitality and sober common sense is inspiring, and also a wake-up call to us all.
An old Irish blessing is the hope that someone has the will to fight the good fight when times require it. It is considered a good, good thing to show a fighting spirit – as long as the fight is for what is good, that is.
Prince Harry, who has served in Afghanistan himself, is showing just such a willingness to fight the good fight when he accompanied soldiers on a gruelling expedition to the North Pole to raise two million pounds to help fund programmes to reintegrate wounded military personnel into society, a cause the UK government should be funding but is not, leaving many injured soldiers facing enormous hardship.
The UK government is giving billions to the banks in the form of interest payments for a fractional reserve debt which those same banks created while implementing a drastic fiscal austerity budget in what is in fact the biggest wealth transfer and looting of the people since the 1930s and 40s.
By downplaying the human cost of war, Die Welt is following in the tradition of the likes of Kaiser Wilhelm, Bismarck, Hitler and also George Bush and Guttenberg.
It is a known fact, for example, that Hitler personally ordered scenes of wounded soldiers to be omitted when he edited the weekly Wochenschau propaganda films.
The cruel, barbaric and terrible injuries, the mutilating, maiming, torture, burning, rape, shooting, hanging, starving, beating, gassing of tens of millions of people that Hitler himself helped incite were not to appear in the sanitised and glorified version of war presented to the German public.
Bush also instructed US media not to show images of wounded and dead soldiers.
The terrible human cost of a war that both soldiers and civilians have to bear is something that every society must always keep in the forefront. There may be cases when a war is justified, unavoidable and right. However, war for the profit of the military industrial and banking complex is certainly never justified and it is never right.
And yet these protracted, costly, industrialised wars without a clear strategy or exit plan characterise the twentieth century. World war one, world war two, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq all share the same odd features: no strategy or a poor strategy (such as putting boots on the ground to wander around aimlessly in dangerous enemy territory before withdrawing them without an lasting or discernible tactical or strategic gain), and no exit plan.
These wars are, in fact, created by a political and financial elite who run a military, industrial and banking complex for their profit. General Dwight D Eisenhower warned the Americans about this military industrial complex when he was president. But the military, industrial and banking complex existed much earlier also in Prussia where its destruction potential accelerated under the machination of people like Bismarck and his banker Gerson von Bleichröder.
Bleichrörder was not only Bismarck’s private banker, thinking up insider trading schemes to satisfy the insatiable greed for personal wealth of the egomaniac Bismarck; he also controlled the press, bribed journalists, and even funded the Robert Koch institute in secret, according to Fritz Stern’s book “Gold and Iron”.
Germany’s central banker Hjalmar Schacht put his name at the top of a petition asking for Hitler to be made Chancellor in 1932 in the full knowledge that something had to be done with the masses of people whose pensions and jobs had just been robbed by the banks via the 1931 bank scam that resulted in 600 million RM being given to banks like Commerzbank paid for by savage fiscal austerity under Chancellor Brüning.
What better solution than a long, drawn out war? This also profitted his friends in industry, desperately in need of state armament contracts following the contraction in the domestic economy due to the banks machinations.
Schacht financed Germany’s rearmament using the fractional reserve banking system’s ability to produce credit.
And we know that the Nazis engaged not only in convential warfare but also in biological warfare waged with viruses and vaccines and in covert against civilians.and institutes such as Robert Koch played a key role.
Dividends from banks and the military industrial companies continue to fund the elite’s life of leisure on their country estates today just as they funded Bismarck’s rapacious appetite for country estates and personal wealth and the German elite’s luxurious life during the second world war.
Former German Defence Minister Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg also followed in this long line of war mongerers, beating the drum for military action for companies like Bayer — a successor of IG Farben (which made the second world war possible according to the Nuremberg war trials) — ready to detect a portential enemy or territorist on every continent and anxious to start another world war not limited by any clearly defined national defence strategy.
Guttenberg did his military service in a mountain troop regiment known for conducting odd, secret rituals involving dead skulls and for the ceremonial humiliation of soldiers, but then went on to study law, a fitting subject for the scion of one of the wealthiest families in Germany, descended from “robber knights.”
Guttenberg’s rise to become Defence Minister was truly meteoric but his glitzy televsion talk show in a German military camp in Afghanistan together with his wife this autumn was criticised as a war-mongering publicity stunt.
Just in time to stop the greenlighting of yet another futile world war in Libya, Guttenberg was, however, forced to resign following the revelation that he had plagiarised his doctorate.
By spotlighting the very real suffering of soldiers in the warzone, Prince Harry has broken new ground and has shown the many fine qualities, moral courage and leadership of his mother, the late Princess Diana.
Far from being a “tour” of the Artic, Prince Harry undertook a physically and emotionally demanding expedition full of hardship and danger.
He had to return to the UK on Friday – but not to live the self indulgent life of one of the political and business elite, whose time is divided between fantasies of ruling the world, checking their share portfolios, riding out in nature to soothe their nerves frazzled by the need to think of ever new ways to stimulate and satisfy their endless appetites. He returned to his training as a pilot of an Apache helicopter, a job requiring determination, skill and discipline. Whatever the doubts about the war in Afghanistan, the soldiers themselves are not to blame for politicians’ decisions.
Especially characteristic qualities of Prince Harry and William are their humility – a quality that paradoxically makes them appear all the greater as human beings. When Prince Harry said he had gone to the Artic to support the wounded soldiers, everyone could see he meant it. This was not a man out to put on a show, impress people or get media attention. When Prince William says he wants to do his part in a team of an RAF helicopter rescue crew to help those in trouble, everyone can see he also really means it.
Both William and Harry have the rare and elusive gift of Diana of filling people with enthusiasm, inspiring them and of helping them to find the strength to overcome difficulties. This is true leadership.
Compare, for example, the genuine enthusiasm that people in Australia and New Zealand showed to Prince William when he went there to demonstrate his solidarity with the victims of floods and earthquakes with the absolute lack of interest people showed in the German equivalent, the Baron Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg.
Caught plagiarising his doctorate and now potentially facing criminal charges, Guttenberg was forced to resign his position as defence minister and MP this February. In a final bid to rally the public behind him and cling to power, an appeal was sent out via facebook and backed by the CSU party, asking people to march for Guttenberg.
But no one turned up. The indifference of the public was embarrassing for a “media star” like Guttenberg.
The largest rally in his support was in the village of his father, the composer Enoch zu Guttenberg, and that numbered only a couple of thousand people.
Some of the largest rallies in all Germany were trumpeted for Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, but only a hundred or so people actually came onto the streets. Many of those who did show up were actually critics, poking fun at Guttenberg.
Although newspapers like Die Welt and Bild have been telling people that Guttenberg is the most popular and charismatic politician in the country day in, day out, ad nauseam, the people of Germany know in their heart that Guttenberg does not care for their interests and is a cynical politicians ready to sacrifice their well being for profit – and they are not ready to lift one finger for him.
As if by magic, the people recognise the genuinely good leaders. People recognise the sincere ideals, strength of character, fine qualities of the heart that Prince William and Harry show by standing up for the abandoned, the exploited and the marginalised, and they respond with genuine warmth, gratitude and enthusiasm.
Perhaps Guttenberg should take a leaf out of their book and attempt some substantive project to help others involving some real sacrifice like helping wounded German soldiers. This would go some way to repair his image as a man of arrogant immorality, vanity, titanic ambition covered in media tinsel, and it might also bring him some elusive, personal happiness.
The ancient Greeks, after all, argued that virtue is not only desirable in itself: virtue is also the path to lasting happiness.
But hmany of us can put our hands on our hearts and say when we were ready to stand up and fight for a good cause without cynicism or fear because it was the right thing to do?
In 2011, with humanity facing so many problems, every person has plenty of opportunities for demonstrating their many fine qualities.
We also have to find in ourselves the strength to stand up and fight the good fight without cynicism and without fear – and Prince Harry and the four soldiers marching to the North Pole for their comrades act as inspiration for us all.