Letter: `Collateral' killing

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The Independent Culture
Letter: `Collateral' killing

Sir: Throughout the Balkan war, Robert Fisk has maintained a consistently high standard of news coverage. Refusing to curry favour with Nato, he has repeatedly exposed the horrific consequences of a bombing strategy that has resulted in the deaths and maimings of many innocent people.

This has been graphically illustrated in the latest reports in a long list of disastrous blunders by Nato; the bombing of a hospital, killing at least 18 patients in Surdulica, the destruction of the bridge at Vavarin, killing a number of people coming out of church, including the parish priest, as well as others shopping in the market ("Nato calls the bombing of a hospital collateral damage. I call it a tragedy", 1 June). The term "collateral damage" has a hollow, gruesome ring about it.

The widespread unease about the morality of continuing and, indeed, intensifying bombing attacks is more than justified. The cost in human lives is already far too high. Surely the time is well past for Nato to bring a halt to its bombing campaign and allow diplomatic negotiations to yield positive results.

The carnage at Vavarin was a bridge too far.

The Right Rev JOHN PERRY

The Bishop of Chelmsford