Letter: War is no game

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The Independent Culture
Sir: One of the principal arguments put forward by the Ministry of Defence for recruiting 17-year-olds into the armed forces is that they are receptive to the forces' training and ethos ("Ban on soldiers under 18 resisted by Britain and US", 18 January).

This is precisely the reason why guerrilla groups around the world have taken to recruiting or press-ganging 10-year-olds, and precisely why we should not expose impressionable minds to brutalisation. For army training does brutalise - it has to if it is to produce soldiers capable of killing to order. All the more reason then to ensure that those undergoing it are mature and are there from informed choice. Many 17-year-olds still see life as a game, and killing or learning to kill is not a game.


London N13