You carried a very forceful letter from Mr J Horne (March 24) on the 'carnival of hypocrisy' being conducted in our country and Western Europe about the killing going on in the Ukraine and how this should be acceptable to NATO because of the threat we pose to Russia and its fears of NATO enlargement and threats.

Mr Horne puts his points of view very strongly and was (perhaps) influenced by the recent article of a national newspaper columnist. However, we should all remember that 'the first casualty of war is truth'.

I think he was being very selective in his review of (even) recent history. True that over 25 million people were reported killed in Russia in WW2, but how many of those people were killed by the Soviet State or its allies? Finland fought Russia throughout WW2 and they aren't a fascist country. Also, we should not forget about Hungry in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968 and Romania under Nicolae Ceaucescu. As I understand it, nobody was ever shot dead crossing the Berlin Wall from West to East.

I agree that NATO has not been the perfect alliance, but members have joined it because of the threat posed by the Warsaw Pact and latterly by the Russian Federation, not because they wanted to spend billions on re-armament, just having fought a world war for six years, or come out of Russian suppression for 30 years. They would have preferred to rebuild Coventry, or Berlin.

I have always thought that you lose the political argument if you have to shoot your electorate to get them to vote for you. Democracy at least allows people to argue and disagree without fear of the Secret Police tapping your phone and reading your emails. I am sorry that innocent people are being killed by Russians in Ukraine, just as I would have felt sorry for Cuban people being killed by the American Air Force in 1962. And we should not forget the thousands of innocent people who have been killed in Afghanistan by both the Russian and NATO forces in the past 30 years.

I served as a member of NATO forces for 30 years but I didn't consider myself a fascist. My last tour was in Bosnia trying to stop Slavs and Chetniks killing each other. I considered myself to be a peace-keeper but one who was ready to fight back if someone attacked me or my country.

I wonder what Mr Horne would do?

Paul Emsley, ex-Army (REME)