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In defence of the military life

I've worked in my school for 16 years as caretaker. Prior to this I served 25 years in the army. Each week I try to get hold of the TES Friday magazine as it has interesting facts and stories. So it was with horror and stunned amazement that I read "Tanks (But no tanks)" in the March 26 edition. I can fully understand why the writer wishes to remain anonymous.

He is either young and naive or old and forgetful.

Yes, war is terrible.Yes, armies are trained to kill (or be killed).

However, can anyone imagine a world without professional armies? Its not always necessary to refer to the consequences of what would have happened had not we stood against the might of Hitler.

Even recently, whether you were for or against the Iraq war, Saddam Hussein was responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocents. North Korea would unleash untold mass destruction if there were no deterrent armies. India and Pakistan remain dead- locked thanks to their armies, otherwise millions could perish.

The writer seems to have the impression that our army (which is the most professional in the world) is made up of men and women from "poorer homes" and that we still hold the principle: "If it moves salute it - if not paint it", and that no one does anything without being told.

Our forces operate around the world, some as individuals, some in small groups or large forces acting as peacekeepers. What a sad and dangerous world it would be without them. The weaponry and equipment they use is very sophisticated and requires special training and a very high standard of intelligence, which is why recruitment is aimed at schools so those young men and women can choose a worthwhile career.

So, please accept that while you are entitled to your opinion it is not one that should be voiced to the children in your care. If you are educating them correctly they will make their own decisions as to whether we need armed forces.

Terry Spike Caretaker Bovington first school Dorset

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