According to the BBC, David Beckham's torn left Achilles tendon has recovered sufficently for him to fly out yesterday from RAF Brize Norton to Afghanistan for a surprise visit to British troops, where he is "due to take part in a question and answer session".
The former England captain is quoted as saying:
A reminder to everyone at home? This is, of course, the latest stunt in continuing efforts to shift the public's perception of the military, efforts that have by and large been extremely successful. The war in Afghanistan drags on, with little prospect of anything but an unhappy ending, yet a celebrity can still burble on that troops are undertaking "an amazing job" of propping up a corrupt warlord government and most people won't bat an eyelid.
"I have nothing but admiration for these young men and women and it makes me very proud to be British.
"I've wanted to visit Afghanistan for a long time and I hope that in some small way
it helps remind everyone at home what an amazing job they are doing out here in very difficult conditions. I feel very humble."
Beckham reminds me of that old reactionary Bob Hope, touring Vietnam to 'boost the morale' of US troops, but at least Hope had the wit to joke, "the country is behind you 50 percent." All Golden Balls seems capable of is reading from a script provided by his army media handlers and happily posing with some guns, apparently oblivious to the fact that nearly three-quarters of the public view the conflict in Afghanistan as "unwinnable" and half don’t understand why Britain is still there.
So step forward David Beckham - no longer just a fading footballer and celebrity clothes-horse, but the patriotic, militaristic, propoganda-spinning Bob Hope for a new generation.