Letter: Send In The Troops

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your headline, "World looks on as a family is cut down in Kosovo's deadly harvest" (26 January), together with your reported comment by the Secretary of State for Defence - "the problem has no easy or glib solutions" - brought back unhappy memories for me of the situation in Bosnia six years ago when we were told that military intervention was too risky and too complicated.

In the event, decisive military intervention on the ground brought an end to killings in Bosnia and a visit there last year showed me how much that intervention was appreciated by people of the different ethnic and religious communities.

Intervening to protect the powerless and to disable aggressors, I believe, is consistent with our Christian tradition and if Nato decided to intervene decisively on the ground in Kosovo I believe it would have the support of many in the Christian church.

The legal mandate to intervene is surely the UN Declaration of Human Rights recently affirmed and adopted by Anglican bishops at the Lambeth Conference - "The right of all people to live in safety and security; freedom of political self-determination and freedom from political, cultural and religious oppression."

I agree that there are no easy or glib solutions for Kosovo but this must not be an excuse for "passing by on the other side".


(The Rt Rev Roger F Sainsbury, Bishop of Barking)

Ilford, Essex