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Questions of warfare a century ago and in the present day

16 November 2012


From the Revd Josie Midwinter

Sir, - The year 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, and, in consequence, the Prime Minister has announced that the Government will allocate a substantial amount of money for schoolchildren to take a trip to the battlefields in France and Belgium.

I wonder if the Church has any plans to mark this important anniversary, and, if so, what those plans might include. The Church's input both for the Queen's Golden Jubilee and for the Olympics was first-class, and I think this centenary of the First World War will be of equal importance to the nation. So I would be interested to know if plans are afoot - and, if not, when things will begin to be planned, as the anniversary is only about 18 months away.

32 Barnes Close, Didcot, Oxon OX11 8JN

From the Revd Oliver Harrison

Sir, - The development and use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or "drones" is not as controversial as is sometimes claimed ( News, 26 October). So-called "remote" warfare - and killing - began when people first threw rocks at one another, and continued in a seam­less spectrum through spears, bows, catapults, artillery field pieces, and every type of gun.

Drones are only the latest manifestation of this phenomenon. As such, they may be con­sidered a development and an advance: no more carpet bombing from tens of thousand of feet above a target; no more indiscriminate naval bombardment from many miles off-shore; no more troops on the ground putting themselves and others in harm's way. Surely it is better to reduce deaths and damage to an absolute minimum through the use of this technology?

Against an enemy prepared to use suicide bombers to impose its fascist ideology, I would consider their use fully justified.

Holy Trinity Vicarage
64 Glascote Lane, Wilnecote
Tamworth B77 2PH

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