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Letters April 10 2019

See the world, pick up skills, kill people

“WHAT would you have done?” writes ex-RAF man Jonathan Williams (M Star April 1) referring to the Star’s front-page Iraq-conflict story headed Death in the desert (March 28).

But the question should be asked much earlier — before joining the armed forces of British imperialism. If by default one ends up in the forces and realises that behind the war propaganda is a pack of lies, then get back to civilian life as soon as possible.

Forces propaganda paints a happy picture of of foreign travel, the chance to pick up a trade and the satisfaction of fighting for one’s country and being a hero.

But who is attacking Britain? When Western imperialism bombs hospitals, schools, water works, libraries, museums etc, are these military targets?

When individuals or small groups seek revenge by acts of terrorism in their attackers’ countries, they are called terrorists. Well, who was the first terrorist?

When Western forces’ personnel see the damage and death they have caused and ask why, their conscience sets in. The crimes may be hushed up in phrases such as “collateral damage,” but post-traumatic stress ensues, and wounded and damaged servicemen and women are told to apply for charity handouts.

Until there is a stronger peace movement demanding an end to war, it will continue.

Britain has been at war somewhere in the world every day since WWII. I’d ask the potential recruit: “Do you still want to be a hero?”

DAVE COZENS
Swansea

Tribunal must put claimants at ease and avoid undue formality

FURTHER to my letter headed Plight of ex-service personnel (M Star February 27), I write to point out that those appealing to the first-tier tribunal against refusal of benefits such as employment and support allowance or personal independence payment are entitled to be represented at the tribunal hearing.

The representative need not be a lawyer and can be anyone who the appellant chooses (for example a welfare rights worker, Citizens Advice adviser, charity representative or social worker).

It is helpful to the tribunal, however, if the representative acquaints him or herself with the relevant statute law before attending the hearing and prepares some relevant questions to put to the appellant and submissions to make to the tribunal.

Many applicants — probably most — are unrepresented and in these cases in particular the tribunal is under a duty to enable the appellant to put his or her case.

One of the procedure rules provides that tribunals are under a duty to “ensure, so far as practicable, that the parties are able to participate fully in the proceedings” and a second enjoins tribunals to “avoid unnecessary formality and seek flexibility in the proceedings,” their overriding objective being to enable tribunals to deal with cases fairly and justly.

CHRIS PURNELL
First-tier tribunal judge

Our withdrawal would halt Saudi onslaught

IN CASE Morning Star readers missed it, the recent Channel 4 Dispatches documentary titled Britain’s Hidden War provided a couple of important quotes about Britain’s complicity in the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

An ex-forces technician formerly stationed in Saudi Arabia explained that if British support for the Saudi military was withdrawn, then “in seven to 14 days there wouldn’t be a jet in the sky” over Yemen.

An ex-Saudi Air Force officer concurred with this analysis, noting Saudi Arabia “can’t keep the Typhoon [fighter jet] in the air without the British.

“Without the Typhoon they will stop the war,” he noted.

IAN SINCLAIR
London E15

Captains in charge of a leaky boat

“LESS than 2 per cent of the water that falls from the sky each and which flows into the sea” is used, according to GMB national officer Stuart Fegan in the Star story headed Water fat cats have drunk our taps dry (March 20).

Perhaps he has been reading The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge:
Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.

JERRY STILES
Mitcham

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