GEORGE Kerevan’s excellent article of January 22 (Nato top brass are bent on scaring us out of our collective wits – here’s why) should help focus all our minds. There are, however, some aspects of his profound deliberation that miss some important and highly relevant wider issues, which are what a rather better qualified General Cavoli is referring to.

Given the inordinate lead time it takes to train, equip and put in place resupply manufacturing capabilities, it is entirely appropriate for military strategists to ensure that alarm bells are raised early. If a wide-scale war were to break out we would not have enough time to reconstitute what we have given up and scrapped. The obsession with the peace dividend and tax cuts/austerity economics do not align themselves with the first duty of a state being defence!

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We struggled to supply a viable contribution in Afghanistan, which was in historical terms no more than a complex “police action”. How on earth we would be expected to cope if the unthinkable happened is beyond understanding; our UK Government have become too used to their bulging wallets and fat offshore bank accounts. Where is our contingency “war chest” reserve if not notionally on some fallible hard drive in binary code?

Collectively the West struggles to help supply ammunition and equipment to a single country – Ukraine. What would we do if Russia decided to go for the Baltic States and Poland next, or Korea and China decided to take on the East Pacific region at the same time? To avoid war it is also necessary to prepare for war with credible forces. If the cost of maintaining peace means credibly being able to stand up to aggression then there is no alternative.

Nick Cole
Meigle, Perthshire

I WANT to endorse Steph Paton’s column in Monday’s National, regarding the West’s spin on the ICJ ruling, and their defunding of UNWRA (Western politicians spinning ICJ ruling exposes their intent). I strongly agree with everything in the article.

My first reaction to the allegation that United Nations Relief and Works Agency staff were involved in Hamas’s raid into Israel on October 7 was that the timing, hard on the ICJ ruling, was suspiciously convenient for Israel. Then, as many have pointed out, the allegation involves 12 out of I think about 13,000 UNWRA staff, which is a minuscule percentage and cannot possibly be said to taint the organisation as a whole.

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Lastly, the “intelligence” is said to have been obtained by interrogation of captured Palestinians by Shin Bet, so I think it’s safe to assume torture was involved. Leaving aside that what Israel says about Palestinian matters is routinely barefaced lies, everyone knows full well that torture never produces truth, only what the prisoner thinks the torturer wants to hear in the hope that the torture will stop.

What truly disgusts me is that so many Western powers have treated Israel’s claim as gospel and immediately defunded UNWRA. Between them I believe they account for 60% of its funding. Without UNWRA’s work in Gaza there would be no food at all, no medical services, no shelter. This can only lead to countless more deaths, for which the UK, USA, Germany and others will be directly guilty, going beyond their previous complicity in genocide to active participation in it.

Now Israel need not fire another bullet, and can return to the ICJ pretending to have complied with the order, blaming the continuing mass deaths on those who have sabotaged the work of UNWRA.

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And still they bleat on about Israel’s “right to self-defence”. As I pointed out in an earlier letter, the ICJ ruled in 2004 (in a case about the separation wall in the West Bank) that Israel as the occupying power has no such right against the occupied people. Our political “leaders” have to know full well that they are lying about this.

I long to see, with no expectation, these politicians prosecuted. The Genocide Act of 1969 incorporated the Genocide Convention into domestic UK law, so this would not involve international courts, just the UK’s own police and courts. I am absolutely certain that their actions are crimes, but no doubt the legal system will defer to the “establishment” as usual.

Later in the same paper, Alan Riach remarks “The world needs praying for.” Goodness knows, that’s urgently true.

Robert Moffat

EVERY day seems to reveal a new horror about the corrupt and immoral way the Post Office board, and Fujitsu, behaved from the inception of the flawed Horizon software. Their actions have been called criminal, and they certainly were. But noting the quite deliberate way subpostmasters were callously pursued through the courts, with full knowledge that Horizon was unreliable, to losing their livelihood, to jail, to mental trauma and suicide, I would call this an atrocity.

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If all the people who caused years of suffering do not eventually receive lengthy jail sentences, then we will know that the lauded British justice system is dead.

Richard Walthew