WE know that the British military establishment and its support organisations like the Royal United Services Institute are desperate to prevent Scottish independence because we are such a crucial bit of military real estate for their strategic (especially nuclear) ambitions.
However Malcolm Chambers (Letters, July 4) really goes over the top.
A simple fact. The United States failed to stop the 9/11 attack. There was some twisted rationale for that attack because of the dominant US position in the Middle East and the later attacks and failed plots in the UK were clearly linked to the British involvement in the Iraq and Afghan wars. A non-aggressive independent Scotland would hardly be at the top of any terrorist's hit list.
The biggest terrorist danger we have just now is because we have a major nuclear weapons base on the Clyde and this requires regular convoys carrying nuclear warheads travelling from Burghfield in the south of England to Coulport through our towns and public highways.
There is no great difficulty in identifying when these movements are taking place. The amateur group Nukewatch traces them regularly, so any terrorist group could also do so but this is a real risk that is never mentioned. The politicians and security experts will pontificate publicly on all kinds of other threats, but not this one.
It is not the military that is important in preventing terrorist plots succeeding. This is essentially a policing and an intelligence role. There is no way in which any society, especially an open one, can completely prevent those intent on terrorism. The best we can do is to have good intelligence, competent policing, public co-operation and positive programmes to involve marginalised groups. It also helps if we are not part of a state constantly engaged in aggressive overseas wars.
9 Knocklea Place, Biggar.
WHILE driving into Canterbury, I passed an Army barracks and was a little surprised to see it was the depot for The Royal Regiment of Scotland, 5 Scots, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Some time later I read in The Herald of a parade through Canterbury to mark the return of the battalion from service overseas.
I now read that this battalion will be reduced to company status and used for ceremonial duties at three locations in Scotland, one of which (Balmoral) will only require its attention when the Queen is in residence and that its "company barracks in Canterbury will be maintained ("Scots soldiers facing D-Day in Army cuts", The Herald, July 5)". Is there really no Army accommodation in Scotland for the 100 or so troops of the so-called public duties company? Why maintain 100 personnel in Canterbury to provide these services in Scotland if the main objective of the defence review is to reduce costs?
I appreciate that this is a very minor detail in the present defence cost-cutting exercise but it is surely one of the more ridiculous.
Chasser R Jessop,
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