Letter: Nato action is legal

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Although, there is broad support in this country for the air strikes, increasingly people are beginning to question the legality of action against a sovereign state and the consequence of military action upon the population in Kosovo.

However, to say that we shouldn't intervene is to absolve ourselves of a moral duty to protect victims who are helpless. It is morally incumbent upon those who have the power to stop an injustice, to exercise that power. In the same way that I would expect a bystander to intervene when a woman was being mugged on the Tube, I expect Nato to intervene. This principle transcends national boundaries; values like justice are universal; national boundaries change.

Those that believe that the air strikes have exacerbated the policy of ethnic cleansing are absolutely right. But the Serbs always intended to ethnically cleanse Kosovo, which they regard as the heart of their country. If Nato hadn't intervened then we would have had periodic massacres and forced expulsions, with Milosevic using all the diplomatic initiatives that would have followed to play for time.

The air strikes have sent a clear message to Serbia that we won't acquiesce in atrocities. It is to Nato's eternal credit that we have refused to let an evil unparalleled since the Nazis prevail.


London E8