Letter: Ethical codes under pressure on the battlefield

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article (29 January) shows little awareness of the chaos in any front-line situation, nor of the serious and difficult problems involved in the actual taking of prisoners of war when all hell is breaking loose around you. And dare I mention the dreadful fear that dictates so many actions?

The first live Japanese I saw during the siege of Imphal were four soldiers guarded by an equal number of British Other Ranks; surrounding them was a group of Gurkhas armed with kukris chanting 'Kukri practice, Sahib]' Whether it was hysterical reaction to our normal fear of the fearsome and invincible Japanese, or because we had become dehumanised by war, whatever the cause we laughed at the sight. Was this 'uncivilised conduct'?

Yours sincerely,

F. J. HOYLE

Lancaster

29 January

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