Letter: Air power's victory

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Sir: One result of the Serb decision to cave in to all of Nato's demands is going to be an end to all the nonsense that has been written over the last 10 weeks about the ineffectiveness of air power.

Oceans of ink have been spilled by politicians and journalists who know nothing of military history, all agreeing that air power alone never decides anything. Indeed, using the Blitz, Nazi Germany and Vietnam as examples, they claim that bombing usually has the opposite of the intended effect, stiffening the resolve of those being bombed.

Now that Nato has proven the effectiveness of air power, it might be worthwhile to point out that but for bombing - including the use of nuclear weapons - Japan would never have surrendered in August 1945, and that it was the infamous Christmas bombing of 1972 that brought the North Vietnamese back to the Paris negotiating table and led to the agreement that allowed the US to pull out of Vietnam.

Saddam Hussein's forces were thoroughly routed by Allied air power in 1991, thus allowing coalition forces to enter Kuwait and Iraq with only minimal casualties.

It would be interesting to hear how it was going to be possible for Nato to win without sending in ground troops, all the while presumably strengthening the resolve of the Serb people. Perhaps the Serbs found the arguments of cruise missiles and cluster bombs more effective than did the armchair military strategists.


London N10