AS a twice-wounded infantryman whose most comrades died, I am as keen a peace-keeper as your correspondents Mrs White and the gallant bomber crewman Mr Simmonds.

But experience in war does not tell us about the causes of war. We must be practical, for uninformed idealism can be counter-productive.

Modern democracies don't normally fight each other, but doesn't the European Union make war more likely, not less? President Prodi boasts that his new EU Army is to "project the EU's power in the world"; one EU Commissioner has already threatened to "use force" if Britain "doesn't cooperate"; the American Civil War started because dissatisfied states left the Union; EU trade barriers and expansion plans make the Russians feel threatened; and a collapse of the Euro or of the EU's huge unfunded pension commitments could easily bring the kind of economic chaos that threw up Hitler.

Can anyone remember a federation of disparate nation states that has escaped a vicious civil war? The EU doesn't ease its members' differences. It brings them into collision. Let us hope that we escape the consequences.

A Hoyle