Prince Harry's Iraq Deployment a Risk?

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," February 19, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.

JULIE BANDERAS, HOST: Today's big issue is Prince Harry putting his fellow comrades in danger. Well, preparations are in the works, are being made right now for Prince Harry's deployment to Iraq. And fears for the Prince's safety are growing.

The Prince has been nicknamed “The Bullet Magnet” by his fellow soldiers in what could be just days before he leaves for a six-month tour of Iraq. The Prince has threatened to quit the army if he's not allowed to join his men on operations, but now the military is wondering if the Prince could become a target for insurgents. Would Prince Harry be putting his men in danger just by being in Iraq? With me now is royal watcher Anita Talbert. Anita thank you so much for coming on.


BANDERAS: You know, the royal family has a history, as you know in the military, so first of all, is too much emphasis being put on Prince Harry wanting to go? Should we be that surprised that he wants to go in the first place?

TALBERT: Well he wants to go, he's been stamping his little royal feet and said he's going to absolutely quit his command or his commission if he doesn't go. You know it's kind of the manly thing to do. He said he's not going to watch other Brits go down, he's not going to sit around on his (INAUDIBLE), excuse my French, and watch other people get killed. And of course has been a big bone of contention in the royal family, but it is kind of the tradition. His Uncle Andrew flew a helicopter over the Falklands. That's not quite the same as being in Basra, which is very dangerously close to Iraq, but it looks like he is green lit to go, because there is some sort of — within two weeks some sort of a maneuver where they will be taught the language, where they will learn about the terrain. And he'll definitely go, but whether he'll see real live action remains to be seen, and yes I do think he will be such a target that it's insane. Of course, they do have something called the D command in Britain where the British press can be stopped from reporting on exactly where he's located.

BANDERAS: So how are the royal family reacting to all of this, their son just wants to serve and he's getting a lot of flak for it.

TALBERT: Well of course, you know we don't know how they're reacting behind those icy Windsor walls, but you can be sure that there has been plenty of discussion. Nobody wants to see him put in harms way and I really don't think he's going to be put in harms way. But I think he's going to be indulged. I think he will go, I think he will train, but I think he's going to be kept in a relatively safe area.

BANDERAS: Ok, what about his brother. If his brother were to go, you think he'd get the same reaction? They just don't want the royals over there.

TALBERT: His brother will have to go, but I think they're all hoping, the British are hoping that the war will be over by then.

BANDERAS: Ok, so the bullet magnet comment, I mean do you think that there is any legitimacy to that?

TALBERT: Absolutely.

BANDERAS: You got to think about it, as far as him being a target, I mean, he is. Everybody's going to know who he is.

TALBERT: He's a major prize if the terrorists get their hands on him, you could imagine what they would do. You know, beheading somebody like that would be the most horrible thing in the world. And you just never know what is going to happen over there. The most unlikely people, including journalists, have been killed and kidnapped, so, you know, like I said, he's going to be in Basra which isn't Baghdad. So, I think they'll be relatively kept in somewhat safe areas, and maybe just for a limited amount of time.

BANDERAS: All right, Anita Talbert, thank you so much for talking to us about this.

TALBERT: My pleasure.

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