Letter: For pity's sake

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The Independent Online
TIM LYNCH'S belief that Army training creates men capable of atrocities is flawed ('Taught to kill, not to pity', 21 March). The factors he identifies as contributing to the formation of the killer soldier are accurate. But they are overstated, giving the impression that dehumanisation is an attitude young men learn in training.

In any conflict the protagonists have an exaggerated sense of self-worth which reduces the worth of the opponents. An individual act of wickedness is used to represent the wickedness of the group.

'Reasonable' people are often outraged at the behaviour of the evil elements of society. They suggest that we 'should understand a little less and condemn a little more'. Dehumanisation is an attitude which surfaces when tolerance and understanding become submerged by the clamour of the righteous. The loudest voice, the strongest army wins: the loser is put on trial.

Andy Wilson

London SE10

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