COLUMN INCHES

As Nato warplanes bomb Serbia, here is how some newspaper commentators responded.

THE TRUE lesson of Bosnia for Western politicians considering the Kosovan crisis is not, as some argue, that we should have intervened in the former Yugoslavia early on and in great force, but that the West should never have intervened at all.... Of course, governments now have to conduct foreign policy against a background of instant TV images of dead and wounded women and children.... From soft-hearted Western TV viewers the cry goes up: "Something must be done!"... Yet Kosovo is a far-off corner of the Balkans, peripheral to British security or prosperity. We are about to mire ourselves neck-deep in a swamp of unforeseeable political, religious, racial and military complications.... The calamitous farces at Rambouillet and Paris over Kosovo should surely mark the moment when the West, and Britain in particular, must begin to temper humanitarian emotion with business-like calculation of its own strategic and economic interest.

Corelli Barnett, Daily Mail

GIVEN HIS strong commitment to European institutions, Mr Blair was a surprisingly reticent European when it came to laying out the single binding reason why we are obliged to take on the risks of a long conflict in Kosovo: it is a part of Europe. The alternative to Western intervention is to accept that the Western ideals of basic human rights and freedom from persecution by the state do not apply to Yugoslavia. I do not believe that Europe should tolerate such ethical exclusion zones. A favourite argument of opponents of bombing is that since the West is neither able nor willing to use force to tackle injustice everywhere in the world, it should not do so in Yugoslavia. But Europe is the point: the Continent's future is our future. If we are not to fight a brutal aggressor after a delay similar to that which allowed the carnage of Bosnia, where would we fight?... There is no such thing as a "far-off corner of the Balkans" in a Europe that has a new Nato member in Hungary bordering on Serbia and in which refugees spill across open borders. The Iron Curtain is no longer there to shield us from such unpleasantness.

Anne McElvoy, Independent

NO AMOUNT of bombing will make Milosevic see sense in Kosovo. Why Kosovo? Why, of all the current civil wars and humanitarian horrors, is it Kosovo that now summons British troops to the colours? Or put it another way, why does a bloodstained shroud only have to wave over a Balkan village for otherwise intelligent people to take leave of their senses? ... The fact is, we should have left Kosovo's separatists to fight their own battles, as we normally leave separatists round the world. We should have offered such help as charity can supply. But charity no longer wins headlines. Only bombs do that. When the blood flows, we yearn to meddle. When the meddling is mixed with machismo, it gets out of hand. It has now brought Nato possibly and Kosovo certainly to a catastrophe. Of course the fault lies with the monstrous Milosevic, but not all the fault.

Simon Jenkins, Times

SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC is a murderous, bone-age buffoon, with the political vision of Sooty and the looks and charm of a lumpfish. But does that necessarily mean we should go to war with Serbia?... The Kosovo Liberation Army is fighting for independence, nothing less. And it wants our pilots and then our soldiers and our money to help it.... The Serb regime is morally repulsive but the suffering we are seeing is also the result of the KLA's decision to engage in rebellion. It, too, is responsible for its own people's misery.... We could and should declare Milosevic a war criminal and cut off Serbia from all international contact while he is in charge. We could turn the money we would have spent on military action into aid for Albania, Bosnia and Macedonia, trying to surround the Serbs with more powerful neighbours. None of this is heroic or neat. But then neither is lobbing missiles from a safe distance at Belgrade.

Andrew Marr, Express

OPINION IS being pre-empted rather than appeased. The public have not reflected on what is about to happen. The new world has yet to be explained to them. In this world, there can be war without victory, and military engagement for purposes other than national defence. What's right for one case doesn't need to be right for all cases. But if we have the power to divert the slaughter of the Kosovars, should we risk using it? Yes.

Hugo Young, Guardian

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Hosting Support Agent

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading web hosting pr...

    Recruitment Genius: Multi-skilled Maintenance Engineer - Electrical Bias

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in Grantham, Lincolnshire...

    Recruitment Genius: Data Centre & Systems Support Engineers

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This accelerated growth ISP company is current...

    Day In a Page

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003