Letter:Army marches on its stomach

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The Independent Online
Sir: Even if some of the food aid now supplied to North Korea goes to those in its armed forces, why is this "diverted" ("Suspicious N Koreans block UN food aid", 19 July), and why is it a matter for criticism?

Those currently serving in uniform are people like any others; they are not an elite caste; they have families; they are mobilised to do civil works; and they defend the realm (and no, they do not carry arms on the streets). Which responsible government would do differently? And if a state thanks donors for their aid but declines to prostrate itself before them, then three cheers for the state: why should those forced to accept charity also have their noses rubbed in it?

And as to the nonsense about North Korea being closed and xenophobic, all you have to do is go as a tourist (it's not difficult) to see how absurdly wide of the mark such cliches are.

ADRIAN BRIGGS

Senior Tutor

St Edmund Hall

Oxford

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