Sir, – The wearing of poppies should not be demonised. However, there is a real danger that in this centenary of the first World War, one of the most stupid and unjustified wars in human history, the wearing of poppies and the jingoism surrounding this centenary will be used by militarists and our modern-day economic imperialists to justify totally unjustified wars, especially the wars the US and Nato have inflicted on the peoples of the Middle East since 2001. It is important to remember those millions of young men on all sides who died so needlessly, and who may have killed so thoughtlessly. It is important also to try to achieve some historical accountability towards all those who led and drove so many young men to their untimely deaths. Issues of morality and bravery are often attributed to those who fought in this most immoral of wars. There was no bravery in taking up a rifle and blowing someone’s brains out a mile away, or ordering an artillery barrage that often included chemical weapons from the safety of 10 miles behind the front lines.
By all means let us remember those who died so needlessly but let us neither glorify nor justify crimes against humanity. – Yours, etc,
Veterans for Peace Ireland,
Sir, – I wear the white poppy of the Peace Pledge Union. – Yours, etc,
Killaloe, Co Clare.