Letter: Army fights back

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Sir: I was surprised to read at the bottom of your leader column (20 May) the rather tawdry editorial comment about the Army entitled "Grow up, lads". My concern lies in two areas. First, you have overstepped the mark by pre-empting the results of a particular court case.

Second, because the Army's business is so exacting (there are no silver medals for coming second in soldiering) we demand exceptionally high standards from our people. However, we recruit from society and we are not a nation of saints. It is a measure of our determination to stamp out such behaviour that we are prepared to suffer the adverse PR of public disciplinary process directed at the tiny minority who cannot live to our standards.

The overwhelming majority of the British Army are decent, fit, highly motivated young men and women who do a difficult, very dangerous job in demanding conditions involving long absences from home and comfort. Editors who insist on branding this country's most professional and disciplined organisation as a bunch of adolescent whoring louts call into question the credibility of their own reporting.

Brigadier R D S GORDON

Director of Public Relations (Army)

Ministry of Defence

London SW1