Letter: Troops no answer

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The Independent Culture

Troops no answer

Sir, Philip Fry (letter, 17 May) says that those like Robert Fisk who do not support the bombing should answer the question, "How then do we help the Albanian refugees?" This implies that bombing Serbia is helping them, which it clearly is not.

A lot could have been done to help the Albanians (and the other Yugoslavs) had a fraction of the money now being spent on bombing been spent on development, such as has happened in former eastern bloc countries such as Hungary. The promise of massive investment is a far greater inducement to accept reforms than the threat of bombs. This lesson was learnt after the First World War and reflected in the very different and positive approach to Germany after the Second World War.

Finding a settlement to problems such as this can take years (look at Northern Ireland) and the possibilities of negotiation had not been exhausted. No settlement will ever work unless it has the support of both sides and so one day, hopefully soon, both sides will sit down and find the answer themselves.

Given that we cannot turn the clock back, the problem of finding a way to help the Albanian refugees is further complicated because it has to include a means for Nato to save face and for Tony Blair and Bill Clinton to save their jobs.


Wimbledon, London