Letter: Ruinous addiction to hi-tech arms

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The Independent Online
Sir: It would be wonderful to think that we could solve this country's social problems by robbing Peter to pay Paul and raiding the defence budget to throw money at social programmes, as Polly Toynbee suggests.

However, a national defence capability that has taken years to develop and would take decades to regenerate must not be thrown away because no party has the courage to raise taxes to pay for the social upkeep of the nation.

There seems to be an assumption that there will never be another war and all purchases of military equipment not designed for peacekeeping are unnecessary.

But what did we see, scant months after the end of the Cold War? A conflict involving the large-scale use of fighter jets, main battle tanks and battle helicopters, the three types of equipment the article ridicules the Government for buying.

CONOR O'NEILL

London SW14

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