2 FEBRUARY 2002, Page 27

Grand old morals

From Mr P. G. Urben Sir: Michael Randall (Letters, 19 January) suggests that, before about 1960, everybody would have acknowledged that Western lives are more 'precious' than Afghan ones. W.E. Gladstone's words of 1880, apropos the second Afghan war, demonstrate how little Mr Randall knows of history or of civilised attitudes:

The sanctity of life in the hill villages of Afghanistan, among the winter snows, is as inviolable in the eyes of Almighty God, as can be your own.

P.G. Urben

Pittenweem, Fife