Letter: War propaganda cuts both ways

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The Independent Online
PHILLIP KNIGHTLEY argued that, in the context of war, people tend to believe the atrocity stories that suit their case. Hence we should be sceptical of some of the reports coming out of Kosovo. He might have added that people also disbelieve atrocity stories when that suits their purpose. In the Second World War the Allies persistently tended to disbelieve reports that reached them of the mass killing of Jews. Not only did they find these reports incredible; for a number of more or less discreditable reasons they simply did not want to believe them.

Those of us who supported Nato's war over Kosovo may be tempted to accept at face value the reports of Serbian atrocities. But opponents of the war may equally be tempted simply to close their eyes and ears. What does Mr Knightley mean when he writes that "mass graves reveal nothing". Nothing? People are not normally buried in mass graves unless they have died, or been killed, en masse. Whoever may have killed them, that is not "nothing".

ANTHONY ARBLASTER

Sheffield

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