Cartoon by Hugh Macleod and commentary by Frederick Forsyth.
In 1999 five Nato air forces – US, British, French, Italian and German – began to plaster Yugoslavia, effectively the tiny and defenceless province of Serbia. We were not at war with the Serbs, we had no reason to hate them, they had not attacked us and no Serbian rockets were falling on us.
But we practically bombed them back to the Stone Age. We took out every bridge we could see. We trashed their TV station, army barracks, airfields and motorways.
We were not fighting for our lives and no terrorists were skulking among the civilian population but we hit apartment blocks and factories anyway. There were civilian casualties. We did not do it for 25 days but for 73. We bombed this little country economically back 30 years by converting its infrastructure into rubble. Why?
We were trying to persuade one dictator, Slobodan Milosevic, to pull his troops out of Kosovo, which happened to be (and still is) a Yugoslav province. The dictator finally cracked ; shortly afterwards he was toppled but it was his fellow Serbs who did that, not Nato.
Before the destruction of Serbia, Kosovo was a nightmare of ethnic hatred. It still is. If we wanted to liberate the Kosovans why did we not just invade? Why blow Serbian civilians to bits?
Here is my point. In all those 73 days of bombing Serbia I never heard one British moralist use the word "disproportionate".