Letter: Nato's blind, savage assault

NATO LAUNCHED its bombing campaign against Serbia in direct contravention of UN Charter Article 2(4) on the grounds that humanitarian concerns imposed a moral imperative which superseded the legal obligation for states not to threaten or use force against another sovereign state.

The Government made it clear at the time that these air strikes were intended to bring President Milosevic swiftly to sign the Rambouillet agreement. The limited nature of such air strikes made it seem less serious that no debate was held in Parliament or vote taken on this course of action. After 53 days of bombing, the destruction of the entire civilian infrastructure of Serbia, the resort to cluster bombs and unguided weaponry, the environmental catastrophe that is unfolding in the region, the deaths of at least 275 civilians and the maiming of thousands more, the moral integrity of this campaign is looking as slender as its legal status.

"We could not stand by and do nothing" is the slogan frequently invoked to justify the most savage bombing campaign in Europe since the Second World War. Intervening in the internal affairs of another sovereign state without UN authorisation is illegal; doing so at 15,000ft is both cowardly and immoral; continuing to bomb when it is clear that the campaign has united even dissident Serbs behind Milosevic is an act of barbarism and folly that will tarnish the name of both the United Kingdom and the United States, and undermine the rule of international law for decades to come.

A crime against humanity is now being answered by a crime against civilisation perpetrated by liberal democracies. How can we affirm our common humanity by dropping cluster bombs on market places and hospitals, missiles on bridges and buses, trains, embassies and television centres? The moral principle of double effect means that one cannot escape the known secondary consequences of a course of action. If I drop bombs, however smart, on a heavily populated country I must take responsibility for the death and destruction that will inevitably follow as surely as if I drunkenly drive a car at 160mph down a crowded high street.

In the name of humanity and of the Christian civilisation whose millennium we are about to celebrate, let us stop the bombing.



React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Thousands of Russian troops marched on Red Square in the annual Victory Day parade in a proud display of the nation's military might amid escalating tensions over Ukraine  

Once again, the West fails to understand Russia

Mary Dejevsky
Jamie Oliver joins children as they celebrate Food Revolution Day 2014 by cooking bread, making smoothies and creating salads at St Paul's Whitechapel CE Primary School in London  

Teaching children to cook at school is a recipe for self-respect

Grace Dent
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before