Nato bombing not working

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 April, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 April, 1999, 12:00am

I belong to the (dying) breed of romantics who believe that wars should be fought on battlefields between soldiers and every measure should be taken to avoid civilian casualties.

However, it seems that in spite of all the Nato rhetoric attempting to justify its bombing of Yugoslavia and the euphemisms used to downplay the bloody consequences of its campaign, the fact remains that many innocent civilians (ethnic Albanians and Serbs) have lost their lives as a result of Nato's action.

Moreover, judging from recent actions by Yugoslavian civilians who demonstrated at major bridges in defiance of Nato's air strikes, it is clear Nato's action will only lengthen the current impasse. If Yugoslavians are not afraid to die, they will certainly not be afraid of losing a few more radar sites or oil refineries. They will continue to rally around Slobodan Milosevic who will have no other choice but to maintain his current stance against Kosovo Albanians. The result will be more Nato bombings and more 'collateral' damage to Yugoslavian civilians.

Intensified bombing clearly doesn't work. The Kosovo crisis is now reaching its turning point and it is time for Nato to rethink its overall policy.

Unless it wishes to cause more 'collateral damage' (meaning kill or wounding) to Yugoslavians and prolong the impasse, it should stop the air strikes immediately and send an ultimatum to summon Mr Milosevic to the peace negotiation table. If that fails, swift and decisive military operations on the ground to drive out Yugoslavian forces in Kosovo may be necessary.