Would I work in Iraq? Absolutely not.

One of the main reasons is unintentionally revealed by a quote in your article (8 October, page 11): “Siddons said: ‘At the moment, fees for unskilled workers, such as security staff, are very cheap.’”

Anyone who thinks that security work is unskilled is putting their employees in grave danger. Proper and appropriate security work requires highly skilled personnel with a great deal of motivation and dedication. Motivation and dedication, in spite of risk to life and health, are rarely associated with minimum-wage employees, especially when they are treated as such.

Even where this is recognised, private sector companies simply will not have the resources to gain access to or obtain sufficient external intelligence data with which to plan and implement appropriate security measures. Nor are they likely to take the measures necessary to recover employees kidnapped, in the way that the US company Electronic Data Systems, under the leadership of Ross Perot, did in 1979-1980 when two of its employees were kidnapped in Iran. To my knowledge, this remains the very rare exception.

Gene Peters, via email