19 JANUARY 2002, Page 27

Americans first

From Mr Michael L. Randall Sir: Anthony G. Phillips (Letters, 1 December) writes, 'Surely our morality does not deem the life of an Afghan peasant to be any less precious than that of a Westerner?'

This remark, which passed without notice in your magazine, represents a sea change of monumental significance. Up until about 1960 or so, precisely the opposite could be said, including the 'surely'.

We Americans do think that the life of an American is more precious than the life of anybody else, and I assume that, aside from Mr Phillips, Britons feel the same way about their countrymen.

ML. Randall

Florida, USA