Letter: I didn't vote for war in 1997

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The Independent Online
IN THE last general election I cheered with passionate optimism as Labour ended 18 years of Tory dominance. Thatcherism was out, along with "no such thing as society", "corruption", "sleaze", "arms deals" and warmongering. In its place, I felt, I had voted for a party with strong social policies in health and education, and a respect for international agreements, based on principles of social equality and humanity.

I have been proved wrong.

The most recent outrageous act of bungling neo-Tory imperialism is the bombing of Kosovo, driven by the illogic that this would stop the "ethnic cleansing" of the Kosovan Albanians and topple the Milosevic regime. It hasn't and it never would. It has achieved the reverse: increased genocidal acts upon the very people we sought to help; increased numbers of refugees, including the Serbs; a strengthening in the support for Slobodan Milosevic; the creation of an economic and human disaster area within Europe; and a threat to the stability of Europe by driving a wedge between the UN member states.

More gravely still, Nato is contravening its own principles by violating the Helsinki and Geneva protocols. The scant reporting of the use of illegal cluster bombs on civilians, the taking out of bridges, the bombing of factories and of water and power supplies, all show that Nato is prepared to commit "war crimes" when they are in its own interest.

I am disgusted and ashamed that our "civilised" society can be perpetrating these barbaric acts. Tony Blair and his reckless and belligerent government will have more to answer for than lost electoral seats if he continues in this madness.