A question of sanction

Defenders of the vicious and unnecessary assault by Nato on Serbia and Kosovo tend to be personally abusive: a common characteristic of those without an argument. John Palmer's silly letter (6 December) is a striking example. He omits the essential difference between the "international military action" in East Timor and Kosovo. In the former not a single cluster bomb was dropped, not one civilian was harmed. Sanctioned by the UN, it was a peacekeeping operation. By contrast, the Nato attack was illegal and caused the deaths and maiming of thousands of innocents. It precipitated the stampede and expulsion of ethnic Albanians, leading to the stampede and expulsion of Serbs and gypsies. Palmer describes himself as "on the left" (I didn't know he was), as if this ordains his moral and intellectual contortions. It doesn't.

John Pilger
London SW4