LETTER:Western guilt buried in Bosnia's mass graves

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Sir: Ron Brown's plane crash in Bosnia provides a rare insight into how America uses military facilities to establish an early civilian presence in the reconstruction business. The White House calls the passengers "business delegates", and they included representatives of construction, engineering and telecommunications firms.

Ever since the Second World War, the American Corps of Army Engineers has provided bridgeheads into war zones, not just for soldiers, but for US engineering firms and contractors. By the time peace breaks out, these firms have already surveyed the damage, designed solutions and prepared business plans for the World Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Development Bank and other relevant funding agencies. Firms from the UK and other countries pick up the crumbs.

For many years the UK Association of Consulting Engineers, among others, has made representations to the Government about this. As far as I know, the Government still fails to acknowledge the situation, let alone consider a remedy.

John Wilson

London W2