An odd question, perhaps, and one which, in the light of much publicised equipment and manpower shortages, may seem counter-intuitive; but it seems to me that the performance of the Army (and the forces in general) grows more capabale and impressive by the day. I have never been in a military organisation (nor have I ever dressed up and played at paintballing) so this is as pure an outsiders view as you may get and is formed by reading and watching reports in the newspapers and on television. But even from such a second hand perspective, I have to say that the way in which the British military conducts itself is genuinely impressive. There is quite extraordinary courage (riding on the outside of helicopters to rescue fallen commrades) allied to a thoughtfulness about the nature and application of the sort of force that needs to be applied to achieve the required objectives (the difference between the British approach in Basra and that elsewhere in Iraq, for example, and now in Afghanistan). I've never doubted the professionalism of the British forces but wonder now if the experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have amplified and increased it, despite the unclear political aims and the shoddy resourcing. I guess what I'm asking is do you think the best have gotten better? I'd be interested in other people's views.