Letter: Moving Bosnia's ethical boundaries

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The Independent Online
From Mr Zoltan Rae

Sir: There is much in Germaine Greer's article ("War is hell. We can't get enough of it," 1 September) with which I can agree but, for those of us who enjoy the powers of analytical thinking, it is not the case that we read newspapers for emotional entertainment but because of a stark bewilderment as to the kind of irrational world we live in. Nato's actions over the past few days raise a number of obvious issues, namely, those of killing and the value we place on human life.

The idea that air strikes are a legitimate method of installing peace is ludicrous. First, surely we have learnt our lesson of blind, consequentialist ethics from the atrocities committed in Nagasaki and Hiroshima for example? Apart from a spectacle of technological supremacy, what are air-raids apart from a reply to blood with blood? Secondly, the possible justification for such actions, that of deterrence, could be undermined as it may do nothing to deter the Bosnian Serbs - the act of "legal" vengeance may strengthen nationalism and succeed in winning a hideous fame for certain war criminals.

The idea of a world peace-keeping force that sets itself up as a supreme judge with the power to move the boundary between defensive/offensive strategies at will, is such a sleazy rationalisation that it has outraged my sense of logic.

Yours sincerely,

Zoltan Rae

Bath, Avon

1 September