Widow Six Seven

Joint Terminal Attack Controllers — Battlefield Air Controllers or Forward Air Controllers to the Brits — can be pretty much described as Air Traffic Controllers From Hell.

Operating in two man teams, JTACs are responsible for all air movement inside the bubble of airspace inside their zone. They plot and co-ordinate air-strikes and air-support missions, assess damage afterwards, dispatch helicopters, ensure that any airframes moving through their zone don’t end up sharing immediate space with other aircraft, other aircraft’s munitions, or artillery and mortar shells, schedule transports and supply drops.

When the Bad Guys are doing their damnedest to get up under your helmet with you, it’s your JTAC who talks to the jet-jockeys to fine-tune their bombs and gives the corrections if second or subsequent passes are required.

It seems that the Joint Tactical Attack Controller known to American, British, Dutch, French and other NATO aircraft operating in Afghanistan by his call-sign of Widow Six Seven was a bit more famous than his mates.

Henry of Wales — more commonly known as Prince Harry of the English House of Windsor — has apparently done gone and tied various jihadist knickers into rather intricate knots by the simple means of plotting and conducting multiple air-strikes against Taliban insurgents, performing multiple vehicle and foot patrols in hostile areas, and other types of Killing People And Breaking Their Stuff that is the main purpose of soldiers everywhere — all under the beards of said local jihadists.

Well, he was up until a bottom-feeding parasite decided that the right of the Drudge Report to make money in advertisement revenue trumped, well, all of Prince Harry’s rights — as well as military OPSEC (OPerational SECurity) amongst other things.

As I sit here — musing that Harry might as well get used to having the Eve of St Crispin’s Day speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V recited to him — I am reminded that in August of 1921, a New York lawyer was stricken with either polio or Guillain-Barre Syndrome, resulting in that lawyer becoming totally and permanently paralyzed from the waist down.

Despite this, the lawyer managed to become elected as Governor of the State of New York — twice; and was elected as President of the United States of America four times — the last election during America’s involvement in the Second World War.

The man was completely paralyzed from the waist down. He spent most of his time in a wheelchair, and could walk only with the aid of iron braces on his hips and legs and a cane or crutches.

Yet, millions of Americans never knew this. Those Americans who did know, believed that their President had beaten the disease or only had a mild case.

Why was this? Because the American press — by common, unspoken consent — never photographed Roosevelt in motion and never revealed that his paralysis was far worse than he let on. He may have been President of the United States, but his paralysis was part of his private life — and the press respected that.

How far we have come since then, and how much we have changed.

In the 1930’s and ’40’s the entire US press corp keeps mum on how badly the US President is handicapped. Out of respect.

In the early years of the 21st century one US Internet tabloid opens its mush and increases the dangers faced by a single 23-year-old soldier to the point of endangering his squadmates and the troops under his command. Because “the people have a right to know”.

Codswallop. Balderdash. Horse. Puckey.

I wonder how many pieces of silver Matt Drudge could buy with the money he made on his “exclusive”.



Let there be light, dammit.

33 thoughts on “Widow Six Seven”

  1. Most eloquently put. Thank you. Seems the public’s Right to Know has vastly outstripped the public’s Propensity to Give a Fat Damn. And, if history is an indicator, the public will be damned if this keeps up.


  2. I, for one have deleted the Sludge Report from my favorites. I’ll get my news elswhere.

    Gerry N.

  3. Actually LD, it appears that the first release of the information was by an Australian source. Drudge was apparently the first American source. I will get back to you with a solid source for that information. But it was some lowlife bottomfeeding loose pile of excrement who had probably been in on the original security brief.
    I suspect drink had something to do with how this got away from the originally briefed crew, which had no American press reps in it.

  4. While I admire the Prince for having the stones to go I don’t blame the drudge report for anything.As Hunter wrote it was an Aussie source that first put this in the open.
    Beyond that Why should the prince be any different than any other high profile person who has gone to war? While the guys form DPG may have stayed in the Base Camp i do not believe that Cornet Wales openly had the one minder from the Tip Toe Boys that he normally has in the field. Most likely there was a screen of SAS there whether he knew about it or not.I wouldn’t have pulled him, but left him in country maybe shifting the unit. War is a dangerous business, and if the Prince wants to play he must realize his profile will make him a target.

  5. No matter if someone else was first… judgment should still come into play.

    Matt Drudge has displayed questionable judgment here, and taken himself out of the list of those I read.

    Excellent post. Well written. I applaud you.

  6. It is well known that an Australian magazine and supposdly a German one reported this news first. It is kind of amusing though that in American reporting everything is US-centric to the point where any mention of the Oz and Hun sources is dismissed and the leak is simply reported as being from the Drudge report.

  7. Breaking the story of Prince Harry did all the good guys a favour. If these people know then the bad guys will know soon or do know allready…

    This just shows how hard secrets are to keep the modern word.

  8. Which pretty much explains why the royals usually go into the Navy.

    On the other tentacle there is something very educational about being splattered with your enemy’s blood or at least seeing it in person, hot and fresh.

    Who notes two of five remaining presidential candidates have military experience. McCain and Ron Paul. Sigh.

  9. Oh, I know that the Germans and the Aussies broke the story a week before anyone else.

    And still, no one noticed — until Matt Drudge blew it across cyberspace in 20-point red headline letters.

  10. Eloquently said, Sir! I thought much the same thing when the story broke. I felt proud of Prince Harry when I heard this and sad for him also. He seemed to be enjoying doing his bit.

    Mike Drudge is a bottom feeding parasidic bag of sludge. Or words to that effect.

  11. The public’s right to know doesn’t mean they need to know. One can take the Right to Know argument to extreme degrees. Often the press (in the past) knew quite a bit, but did not advertise it because they were loyal to the country first and money second (and used common sense in not risking OPSEC and the lives of troops). Sadly, making a scoop, a name, and advertising revenue seems to be more important these days.
    No wonder very few people believe or respect the press anymore.

    Hey, it’s our husbands/wives/sons/daughters out there, you pencil wielding arse-heads.

  12. But remember, there is an absolute right for journalists to protect their sources, even when said sources have engaged in unlawful, even treasonous, behavior.

    It’s the same mindset that has no problem publishing a list of all CHL holders in a particular locality, all for the Greater Good, of course.

    Privacy for me but not for thee.

  13. Thank you, well put. I posted like comments on a couple of other blogs, though not so politely(the word flogging and bastinado come to mind) and was amazed how many leapt to the ratscrotum Drudge’s defense.

  14. Having been in the media world off and on for a lot of years, I know exactly how manipulative and intrusive they can be. That’s one reason I have very little to do with that world nowadays. We-and I say ‘we’ as a former reporter-if we’re really good, can change the impression of a giant wedge of public opinion by just subtley altering a word or two.
    However, the thing that did it for me was a full color, full column sweep, front page picture of a drowned child.
    The public had no right to that; what on earth was accomplished by it, except just another very distasteful, painful example of sensationalism. The parents did have a right to their privacy to mourn, which was totally nullified by the publication of that picture.
    Prince Harry went as a soldier, answering the call to arms of his country. He had a right to the same anonymity as any other soldier. Too bad some idiot hysterically pursuing sensationalism has done this to the prince and to his comrades as well.
    Harry’s ancestor, perhaps a better-known Harry, would have had the perpetrators drawn and quartered. The fires of Smithfield no longer burn brightly, but in this case, we could probably make an exception.

  15. “It is well known that an Australian magazine and supposdly a German one reported this news first. It is kind of amusing though that in American reporting everything is US-centric to the point where any mention of the Oz and Hun sources is dismissed and the leak is simply reported as being from the Drudge report.”

    As the Dog himself has noted, nobody noticed from the other sources. After the Drudge Report (crikey), then the Talibastards were calling on their “brethren” to look for extra-well guarded units, and praying for this 20-something kid to fall into their hands.

    Violating OPSEC is treason, I’m pretty sure – to be honest, I don’t especially care about Harry so I don’t have a personal interest, but pointing out OUR PEOPLE as targets is just… well, it’s treasonous. Vile, shitty, awful, hideous, nauseating and treasonous.

    Damn to hell those who put our troops – be they royal blood, or REME from Godalming – into more peril than they face for their country. Given that as an agnostic, I don’t believe in hell, Leavenworth’ll do.

  16. Leaving Drudge aside for the moment, my tattered old black heart is warmed by the thought of a Prince of the blood taking the field in open war.

    Prince Charles served in the Royal Navy. No doubt he was somewhat ‘shielded’, but from what I’ve read, he served his watches and did the duties of his position.

    At one time, leaders actually led in more ways than demanding another dang law or manipulating the populace into condemning smokers.

    “Leadership”. Heck of a word, ain’t it?

    Here’s a drink to Prince Harry. Health to you, and confusion to the enemy.

  17. You said so perfectly exactly what I was thinking. The press have no accountability and no decency, come to that. They are power-mad and enjoy manipulating news to affect outcomes in keeping with their own narrowly personal political objectives. Oh, and they-coupled with politicians- make prostitution seem downright tasteful and respectable.

  18. Correction. No one in the U.S. noticed until the Drudge report went with it. To be perfectly frank once New Idea and Whateverthehellzen German mag went with the story the Drudge report figured they might as well break it open before someone else did. (which was going to happen, its not like no one reads New Idea) Dislike him or not at that point he’s just playing journalist and scooping someone else before they scoop him.

  19. The media ruin so much for so many. The whole thing is just totally irritating. There isn’t any private time for some people any more. They aren’t allowed do be “normal”. That’s sad.


  20. Sure the other two sources had the story first, but the world was not interested.

    Does anyone here honestly think that the NYT, the WSJ, the AP, the UPI, etc did not see those two rags print their story? They all choose to ignore the story as well. Matt Drudge, however, a “conservative” newsblogger, likely came to the same conclusion, but chose profits/fame/whatever over discretion, and for that he deserves ridicule.

  21. Beyond that Why should the prince be any different than any other high profile person who has gone to war? While the guys form DPG may have stayed in the Base Camp i do not believe that Cornet Wales openly had the one minder from the Tip Toe Boys that he normally has in the field. Most likely there was a screen of SAS there whether he knew about it or not.I wouldn’t have pulled him, but left him in country maybe shifting the unit. War is a dangerous business, and if the Prince wants to play he must realize his profile will make him a target.

    That’s crap. Why in the name of all that you hold holy is it up to the public to demand that they know *exactly* where he is? He’s in theater. That’s enough.

    God forbid the press shut the hell up for once and oh…do the right thing by *not* splattering their juicy little exclusive across the pages.

  22. Hmmm, Drudge made a big deal about how he refused to break the Clinton/Lewinsky story, because it was sleazy and beneath him and “not newsworthy”, but now he breaks a story because he can…

    Here’s a link to the New Yawk Slimes aritcle on the subject:
    (Sorry, I don’t know if I can make it “hot” here.)
    Note that even after the Aussie’s published the story–and they said they were NOT included in the original briefings or agreement–a google search for “Prince Harry Afghanistan” turned up “Prince Harry Is Forbidden To Fight Alongside Soldiers In Afghanistan.”

    Also note that somehow John McCain’s son was allowed to serve in Iraq without any notice at all until after he redeployed.

    But, Dear God, don’t the Brits have barbers?!

  23. OK, here’s a short version of the URL of the NY Slimes article “Prince Harry And The Story kept By Fleet Street”: http://snipurl.com/20vn0 [www_nytimes_com]
    Sorry I still don’t know how to make it clickable here.

  24. War is a dangerous business, and if the Prince wants to play he must realize his profile will make him a target.

    I think this misses the point and demeans the prince’s service. From what I’ve seen on the news Prince Harry was not there to ‘play’, he was there to do a job and I’m certain he knew that he would be a target once people found out.

    That said, I am pleasantly surprised that the British press kept their traps shut, even if they were, supposedly, promised exclusives.

    A toast to them and Prince Harry. Thank you for serving your country Prince Harry!

  25. I doubt Prince Harry had an SAS team protecting him…they are needed elsewhere. I did read that he had a Ghurka detachment, but I doubt that detachment was more than 3-5 troops. That wouldn’t be unusual, even our (US) generals in a war zone often have bodyguards, even if we never see them.

  26. now ‘Dog,
    don’t hold it in, let us know how you feel about these murderous, low rent amoral scum what don’t understand how loose lips (and electrons) can have fatal results in the real world.

    8-P to Drudge et al,

    😎 for your restrained, and accurate commentary.

    Word Verification:
    isn’t that a controlled subtance now
    or was it the latest male enhancement pill?

  27. DW Drang said:

    But, Dear God, don’t the Brits have barbers?!

    My dear DW, we can be quite informal when it seems best, such as in the desert or the jungle.

    Of course, it doesn’t help that the excellent Harry grew, not a head of hair, but a badly maintained bird’s nest.

    I expect your browser could find you old photos of Brit soldiers in Burma or LRDG/SAS in North Africa in WW2. They all look like pirates.

  28. Sorry Mr. Dawg.
    I normally agree whole-heartedly with the things you say, but with this, I take umbrage.
    The press gave Roosevelt the respect he deserved as their own President.
    Prince Harry is of little consequence to an American journalist. Once the story was leaked by the mags, it was only a matter of time before it was picked up by others. Drudge has done far more good than bad, and this reaction is far from deserved. If you wish to aim at the true guttersnipe, find the detestable cretin who leaked it.

  29. Methinks Drudge reported after German and French media reported, at least that’s what I read on some European website. Regardless who started it, it was nothing but disgraceful and downright dangerous. Let us pray there is a special place in hell for those who betray secrets best left alone.

  30. you know, I don’t recall seeing a “right to know” any where in the U.S. legal code…but I do see a right to life, which presumably press violations of opsec could violate

  31. I would presume that his op orders were at least classified…making the reporting of such a crime.

    If they weren’t classified, the same is n the British government for not doing so, and if they here, prosecute the first SOB who leaked it.

  32. it is my opinion that the journalists, at least the civilian ones, be kept away for any allied theater that has more then random acts of violence going on. The “right to know” needs must be overruled by soldiers right to OPSEC. I think any civilian journalist caught in theater should be tried for acts of espionage and anyone that actually reports a story from an active war zone should be tried for treason and convicted or not serve 20 years for even being that close to disclosing sensitive information.
    The military has their own reporters, they are soldiers, and they understand what should or shouldn’t be printed. let the tabloids run those story’s.
    As for the bonny Prince, cheers mate you were doing a hell of a job, may the bastard who reported on you stumble blind into a mine field.


  33. Pardon my being late to the party LD, got out of the hospital about a week ago and still recovering..sigh.

    Prince Harry strikes me, granted in my very limited knowledge on him, as the kind of future king of England that King Henry V would have approved of quite alot.

    He has his wild side, as most young folk do but, it’s tempered, focused alot too. And he’s getting and showing good combat prowess and leadership.

    Sadly, like many in King Henry’s day, there are those that would rather earn thier “30 pieces of silver” and trade thier honor for it. I remember the scene where the three English lords were caught that would have sold King Henry to the french. One was a childhood companion and his betrayel was the one that hurt the king most.

    Hopefully, Prince Henry will never feel that sting. And may God save him to take over when his time comes.

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