IoS letters, emails & online postings (17 February 2013)

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Interesting that all those nominating battles as "our finest hour" are men ("Battle of battles", 10 February). War is particularly disastrous for women, rape being one of the "weapons" used in military campaigns, and women are kidnapped to service men's sexual needs. After the war, they must pick up the pieces of their broken homes and men, often suffering domestic abuse from the traumatised men who return.

Today, with the advanced medicine available for soldiers, they become carers for appalling incapacitated men. In the US military, more died in suicides following the Vietnam war than in combat. Then there are the children, who have had to come through those wars, sometimes fortunate enough to have a shelter against the bombs, as I did in Second World War, but mostly screaming and terrified in rubble, if they have not been killed.

I am very suspicious of this move to mark and "celebrate" wars at a time when people are working on conflict resolution in the Middle East and Africa.

Anna Cheetham

Leicester

You report that "the National Army Museum... has fired the opening shot... and experts will announce the winner". After its excellent coverage of gun violence in the US, is The IoS turning war into a game show?

Anne Lenz-Young

Ayton, Berwickshire

Frances Andrade died after giving evidence of indecent assault by a former teacher, evidence she could easily have given via a video link ("Witnesses are not on trial", 10 February). This link would allow judges to consider a question asked by either barrister before it was transmitted to the witness: the inappropriate ones would never be heard by the witness. For the video link to work, barristers and judges will need to decide what is appropriate language, tone and volume in violence against women cases.

kartar uppal

West Bromwich, West Midlands

...

If Mr Gove were not in such a rush to advance his political career, he would listen to those who understand that you should prepare students for new exams ("Secret memo shows Gove's plan...", 10 February). In 2015, A-level students will begin a two-year course with an exam at the end of the second year only. They will have had no experience of such exams: the new GCSE courses that Gove intends to introduce, which have exams of this type, will not have been completed by any student before 2017.

Students and their parents must not allow themselves to be used just so Mr Gove can achieve his true aim – leadership of the Conservative Party and the premiership.

Martin Jeanneret

Newhaven, East Sussex

The purpose of language is to communicate to as wide a group as possible ("Saying no to 'gizit' is plain prejudice", 10 February). Sociolinguist Julia Snell should study the impact of encouraging non-standard forms of English may have on a Teesside child's prospects. I spent my teens in the Potteries, picking up the local dialect and expressions. After training as a teacher, I moved south and nearly lost my first post due to the head's concern that pupils couldn't understand my non-standard expressions.

Lynn George

King's Lynn, Norfolk

May I direct those who reject the value of local dialects for enriching linguistic fluency to the books of Hilary Mantel and Jeanette Winterson? Both distinguished writers grew up in dialect-rich cultures.

Elizabeth Burn

Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear

Having worked in the food industry, I am not surprised by the horsemeat situation. The reduction in research and laboratory services, on cost grounds, of course, has meant an increasing reliance on conformity certificates produced by others. As long as a box is ticked, everyone is happy.

Michael Skipper

Norwich

For the first time ever, I agree with Janet Street-Porter (Editor at Large, 10 February). There should be gender-specific areas. If she could persuade her deeply unfunny, hen-partying sisters with their low alcohol tolerance and over-loud voices to stay out of my gay bars, I would be eternally grateful.

Paul Harper

London E15

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Letters to the Editor, The Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF. Email: sundayletters@independent.co.uk. Online: independent.co.uk/dayinapage/2013/February/17

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