BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Thursday, April 8, 1999 Published at 12:25 GMT 13:25 UK

Is Nato action justified?

Talking Point took contributions on the Kosovo crisis from all over the world on our LIVE webcast and radio call-in.

Click here to read reactions that came in before the programme

Click here to read reactions that came in during the programme

Click here to read reactions that are coming in after the programme

Read reactions that are coming in after Talking Point On Air

Bombing is an evil, but genocide is a greater evil. We walked into Auschwitz and all we could say was "never again." We will not stand idly by and watch one tribe degrade the whole of humanity.
Scott, USA

This bombing is a crime against humanity. I wish that your children could spend just one night in cold basement with heavy bombing over them so you would understand the horror of this stupid action.
Ivica, Yugoslavia

You can not justify an illegal action as "an exceptional measure". That was exactly how Stalin used to justify all his actions. The Russians remember from the history where you end up with such "moral" justifications. Bypassing law and sacrificing lives of people can not be moral. Even though their leader Milosevic is wrong. Tough negotiations, not bombs, are needed.
Alexander Bolshakov, Russia

Where is the proof of the massacre of Albanian ethnic civilians? Is there just one real photo showing what is being told about Kosovo? Where are American spy-satellite photos? Has anyone who is blaming Serbia actually and personally been to Kosovo? What do YOU know about crimes done to Serbian civilians during past 60 years? What about Serb civilians killed in Croatia during war operations "Flash" and "Storm"?
Andreja, Yugoslavia

NATO had failed to learn from Vietnam. Nobody won a war by simply bombing targets. The Serbian behaviour over Kosovo is clearly wrong but bombing will not solve the crisis. Anyway, I think NATO's policy is selective. It is not about helping those ethnic Albanians, it is all about strategic gain. It is the old game of imperialism.
Edlic Sathiamurthy, Malaysia

I am really horrified by the comments of those Europeans and citizens of other countries who approve unjustified NATO bombings! Why are they that cruel and blood-thirsty? Usually, when some citizens of their countries are killed by accident somewhere in the world they make so much fuss about it. They say its unbearable to think that people are still being killed. Why is their reaction on what is going on in Yugoslavia that different? It is a great shame for all nations on this planet that even at the end of the millennium we still think that war is a way to make peace! Don't you recognise that there are political reasons under the cover of peace-making motives? I prey that my country is not involved in the military actions or that will really be a world catastrophe!
Katerina, Russia

Killing human beings is WRONG, that's elementary. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. Milosevic has to be taught a lesson but that is possible only when he is the one who is directly being affected by the NATO air strikes - which is not happening. The strategy that Milosevich is taking now is that if NATO air strikes are going to continue anyway, then why not complete the "ethnic cleansing" and get bombed rather than do nothing and get bombed !! What will happen is that Milosevich will come to the negotiating table after his job is done.
Raza, India

The Serbs hold a rock concert in downtown Belgrade because they know that those bombing Serbia will not harm them. There were no such concerts during the siege of Sarajevo. The people of Sarajevo would have been shelled mercilessly had they tried the same thing in the face of the Serbian guns. The siege of Sarajevo ended only because force was brought to bear against the Serbian criminals. It is time to end the Serbs' disruption of peace. The world cannot tolerate criminal nations such as Serbia.
James Mason, USA

I have two children 4 and 2 years old. How can I explain them what is the war. I can't stand people crying suffering in Yugoslavia. PLEASE STOP THE BOMBS over innocent mothers and babies. I am terrified about all this violence. Always there are peaceful solutions. WHAT IS THE NEXT TARGET OF NATO???
Giannakopoyloy Bagia, Greece

The safety and detachment of a computer makes moralists of us all. For all the expatriate Serbians that are out "there" whether or not you support Milosevic, you can thank your God's grace that the people that currently govern you, do not regard your life as worthless. You are not been given the option of life or death. Have you ever considered that it is another nation's tolerance that allows you your safety? This is something you would deny Kosovo?
Patrick B, Hong Kong

In any German or Swiss City over the past few years, it has been possible to meet people who have, personally, been shelled out of their homes in Sarajevo, Vukovar and many other places by the Serb military. At one point in Bosnia, the Serb army was offering a bounty to any sniper who killed a western journalist because their activities were being reported to the world. Are we really to believe that the Slovenes, Bosnians, Croatians, international press, Kofi Annan and the fifteen nations involved in operation Allied Force are ALL conspiring to lie about Serbia in order to make it a US vassal state? Grow up.
Elliott Bignell, The Netherlands

Never was a war won by trying to beat your adversary into submission. It is therefore my opinion that we need to remove the problem, and that problem is Slobodan Milosevic... An incursion into the Serb stronghold should be undertaken immediately and with as much fire power as Nato can muster to bring those that are responsible for the genocide going on there to the international court
Hans Kaldenbach, Canada

I think it is breath-taking and exciting to see so many countries come together to address this problem. There is no doubt the UN has given its grudging and conditional approval with the Secretary General's statement and the vote to condemn the action being defeated at the Security Council. The world is in uncharted territory to intervene in a sovereign country for humanitarian reasons. Law parallels life, new law is being established here, with NATO's intervention. Humanity has to be very thankful for this day. To all the bullies of the world watch out! The world is but one country and mankind are its citizens.
Eric Mudasi, Canada

I was surprised that during the Bosnia conflict and now with the Kosovo crisis there seems to be no opposition in Serbia to Milosovic's murderous policies. The Serbs who phoned into you programme today seem to have no idea why they are being attacked.
John Roland, Finland

Appalled so many listeners think Serbia is in some way "innocent". For 10 years Serbs have committed genocide in former Yugoslavia. For 10 years Nato and the UN has asked the Serbs to stop their genocide of neighbours. Finally Nato acts and it is criticised. We should applaud that finally politicians and generals followed their consciences and act to stop the killing.
Julian Stargardt, Hong Kong

Nato aggression is the construction of the sick brains of "the new rulers of the World". It should stop (right away) and the leaders of Nato, USA, GB and DEUTSCHLAND, should be held responsible and prosecuted!!
M Ciric, The Netherlands

The Serbs engaged in a conflict with every ex-Yugoslav country in the past. I think that fact tells something too. I support Nato's action against the Serb dictator and I hope Nato will do it's job and put an end to the Balkan threat once and for all.
Marko, Slovenia

If the Serbs want the bombing to stop, then THEY should get rid of Milosevic and those in power who agree with the genocide that he is carrying out. The Serbs should try a sane, reasonable leader for a change, They might be pleasantly surprised.
Ranjan SenGupta, Germany and Antigua

I am a Slovak, currently staying in Patra, Greece, so the strikes are taking place right between my home and the place where I am now. I remember very well those desperate hot July days in 1995 when Srebrenica fell. Then I hoped that the Serbian leaders would once have to pay a heavy price for the brutal killing of those 6000 people there.
After what has happened in Kosovo in the past months and days, I think that the Serbs have completely lost a moral right to govern Kosovo any time in the future. I would propose to take it away from them, which, I think, would be the kind of lesson they really deserve.
Viliam, Greece

They are committing an act of aggression against a sovereign nation, which has not threatened anyone and which is just solving its internal problems. We are not doing an ethnic cleansing, we are just dealing with separatists and terrorists who want to reduce our territory.
Vladan Nikolic, Serbia

It worries me that we appear to be the aggressor. I am a child of WW2 and I hear the arguments about stopping something before it gets worse. However, we were able to retain the moral high ground in WW2 - we were defending world freedom. I am not so sure this time ... It would surely be a more even match if we had troops on the ground in Kosovo. Our efforts would be focussed on the area where these atrocities are taking place. We would not be involving the rest of Serbia and other innocent people. I am not sure that it is very moral to bomb from the (comparative) safety of the air, metaphorically 'keeping our hands clean' as it were. I am uneasy about our approach and I do not think it is actually going to harm the man responsible.
Jon, China

Does anybody ask US to be the policeman of humanity? 300 years of history is a drop on the ocean in comparison with 3000 years of Balkanian history. It is difficult to believe that war can save peace. BE HUMAN!!!!!
V.D. Andritsanos, Greece

How does a nation created by the tears, dreams and hope of innocents from abroad, made up of the poor and cast-off populations of the world sit by and watch the destruction of one people by another? The US has a duty to people everywhere to simply help. The USA is some of every one of you out there. We do care about people, in Serbia and everywhere. We are fortunate to be able to help many people. Hopefully in the end we will help Serbia return to the family of nations where it belongs.
David, USA

Where are has all the hope gone for an intelligent, balanced, just form of government for Britain. I am so ashamed to have voted for this government. When will we learn that the world is not ours. I am so sorry and angry at what is being done in the name of 'humanity'. Hypocrisy is rife: Indonesia, Rwanda, third world debt. 'Let him without sin cast the first stone'.
Kirsty Matheson, Scotland

Please RENAME NATO: North Atlantic Terrorist Organisation.
Boyan, Serbia

Well done Nato! The new paladins of justice. I am sure that as soon the smoke will stop from the Yugoslav ashes we are going to see immediate bombardment of Turkey, Israel, Croatia, Mexico and any other place on Earth where humanitarian catastrophes are taking place. Or something tells me that won't happen.
Andrea Barbier, Italian living in UK

Read reactions that came in during Talking Point On Air

Roksanda Nincic: "The action of Nato is despicable"
Roksanda Nincic, a journalist in Belgrade said, "Do you realise that for nights you have turned Belgrade into a city of cellar people? Children spend their nights in cellars and air raid shelters, shaking with fright from Nato bombs. . . What you have done is to create a unity of the Yugoslavian people behind Milosevic which has he has never ever had before. . .You are not targeting Milosevic in any way, you are helping him." ."

The usual argument is that Kosovo is sovereign Serbian territory. This may have been the case, but Serbia, under the unfortunate leadership of Milosovic lost its moral right to rule Kosovo. If Serbia cannot rule it's own sovereign territory and its peoples in a humanitarian way, resorting to scorched earth policy to drive ethnic inhabitants from their homes, it no longer in my opinion, has a right to rule there.
This opens the question of autonomy or independence for Kosovo, which I support. If Serbia will not rule Kosovo properly let them rule themselves. If this means Nato has to support Kosovo's autonomy from the brutal Serbian repression, then so be it.
Marc Bergvelt, The Netherlands

While I totally support Nato's intentions and objectives, I think the means are absolutely wrong, wrong because they have made Milosevic a hero, which he certainly is not, wrong because innocent Serb people are suffering, wrong because it has not helped innocent Kosovo Albanians, wrong because Nato's credibility and reputation has been permanently damaged. While I am disgusted with the Russia and China who have not tried to solve the problem, I think even from a military and political standpoint, the Nato action will be a failure. I am very sad to have said this because I totally support their objectives. I do wish there is a more focused and accurate way of making people like Milosevic pay!!
G.S. Kannan, Singapore

Truth is the first casualty of war.
Michael, Australia

Thomas Bergbusch: "Nato bombing may not be sufficient"
I am from Yugoslavia, studying in Paris. All that I can say is that I BEG the world to stop Milosevic, but THAT'S NOT THE WAY TO DO ANYTHING. Is there any politician able to realise REAL PEOPLE'S PAIN AND AGONY, or it's all just a cruel game of power and force? As long as it is force that commands there will be no peace. No where. One week ago, there was ONE people suffering. Today, it's TWO. Just ask yourself what's the goal.
Pejcic Nikola, France

This Nato action is NOT justified. Why Nato did not show force in Somalia, Rwanda, Turkey, Korsica, Catalonia, Northen Ireland... In Chechnya pour example? I never contend Milosevic and his friends, but Nato is taking the right position to consolidate his position.
Bogdan Belgrade, Yugoslavia

My worry is that I can see no end to this action. Now that Nato has pledged its protection to the Albanians, we can only hope that the Serbs give up Kosovo. The probability of the Serbs giving up Kosovo is debatable. Near the end of last century war in the Balkans ultimately lead to a century of conflict in Europe. And if the Serbs do not wish to give up Kosovo? Does Nato have the guts to finish what it has begun? Will it have the option of stopping?
Duston, Belgium

Verbi Kosumi: "It is always right to bomb criminals"
Verbi Kosumi, an ethnic Albanian living in Malaga, Spain said, "The whole of my family is in Pristina. Nato is bombing and is right to bomb, because it's bombing military targets, it's bombing criminals. Slobodan Milosevic is a criminal.Bombing should continue, if they stop now, the Albanians will be killed."

If Mr. Blair claims that Nato has to bomb Yugoslavia because the problem is to close to Britain, why doesn't British Airforce bomb North Ireland. That problem is even closer.
Sasa, Germany

As much as I regret that the bombing took place, I feel that the bombing was necessary as if it did not take place, the Albanians would die all the same. So now the situation is that even though Albanians are dying from the air strikes, more will die if the Serbs are allowed to continue their killing spree. So Nato must finish it quick.
Joel, Singapore

The dangerous think about this "war" might be that Russia will use it to react to their own internal problems. Whenever you're no longer in control a war might help. Nevertheless, I don't think the West will let this happen: Russia will probably end up receiving more [financial] help from America and Europe. By the way: on Dutch television a Dutch writer was quoted who decades ago travelled a lot through Yugoslavia. He then said of the Serbs: they would rather kill their own cow than see their neighbour flourish - it's exactly this they are now doing to Kosovo.
John Hoeve, the Netherlands

SHAME ON THE UNSECURITY COUNCIL and the UNO. I am always abhorred when the strong and 'civilised', USA, Britain, Germany, France at the end of the 20th Century see their military toys as a means of resolving conflicts between peoples. These militaristic societies have learnt little if anything at all from centuries of war.

At this moment at Liberty Square at heart of Belgrade there are 150,000 people dancing in the streets on rock concert "With Love and Music against Nato Bombs". Alarm for bombing (air attacks) is still on, but nobody cares. There are both people with young children and old people. Almost everybody have on their jackets and t-shirts, little paper with circles and title -"target".
Ivan, Belgrade, Yugoslavia

Send ground troops to Kosovo for God's sake! Europe failed to do this in Bosnia, we should not repeat the same mistake in Kosovo. Only this can bring a permanent solution (and I think it will happen sooner or later anyway).
Radim Tobolka, Prague/Montreal

This man is a monster. Decent people will never be able to explain their actions or forgive themselves if we do not stop him killing people in the name of Serbian honour. Ernest Renan, French historian in the nineteenth century, said "Misinterpreting history is an essential part of nation-building." Milosevic's actions are a perversion of history.
Richard Johnston, USA

Where was Nato when all the Krajina Serbs were at gunpoint expelled, mostly walking though Croatian territory over 400km?
Srdjan Nikolic, Australia

Just as the Nazi's in WW2 claimed to know nothing about the fate of the Jews, the Serbs now act victimised. If you want so desperately to hang on to 600 years of tradition rather than evolving for the future then you are doomed to repeat the past. We reap what we sow.
R. Roberts, UK

I think the Americans are overstepping the bounds. Why on earth are they insisting on Bombing Yugoslavia without first putting into place a workable method to protect the Kosovar Albanians. It is unfortunate that the Albanians are being killed now by Serbs without protection. Stop these bombings US!
Joe Ageyo, Kenya

I am a Lebanese resident in London and have been to Yugoslavia and have Serbian friends. I feel that I have some understanding of the psychology of the Serbians, and that anyone who understands this psychology would know that bombing was the wrong thing to do. The minute the bombs started falling on Serbians as a people, the Serbian paramilitaries - official or otherwise - would turn around and strike out at what they could - the Kosovars. This may not be logical, but is obvious. The bombing is supposed to protect the Kosovars, but has in fact made their situation much worse. The use of force by Nato is an act of frustration which will not achieve anything for the Kosovars. What should have been done, and what should still be done, is get an economic stranglehold on Serbia, and talk, talk, talk.
Marc Emile Shamma'a, UK

Do you really think that demonstrations against Nato strikes are supported by S. Milosevic? Most of us, from Yugoslavia, now spread all around the world, actually fled form Milosevic's regime. But now You seem to bring us together in disbelief, resignation, we want to protect our families, homes and hometowns. Milosevic is not important at all! Despite our different political attitude, in this irrational, lunatic moment, we share a deep feeling of being attacked. Nato brought us together although we are Milosevic's opposition: But now, there can only be ONE opposition: THE ONE AGAINST THE AIRSTRIKES!
Sasa, Germany

The sooner the Serbs are brought to justice for their crimes the better.
Mike Afia, UK

Yes, that is unfortunately only way how international community can deal with strongmen like Milosevic. Nato action is precondition of the deployment of troops, and those troops are precondition for peaceful resolution of Kosovo crisis as well as precondition of wider security mechanism in the region. The worst thing now would be if Nato aborts its action. Such thing would represent licence to kill more Albanians, to topple Montenegrin pro-Western leadership and give Milosevic new impetus for his dictatorship.
Nikola, Montenegro

Once again, my nation, the United States, beats the drums of war. It is my great shame to be a citizen of this country drunk with power, the self appointed Last World Superpower as it tries to put out a fire with gasoline. This mad country continues to increase spending money on the military, even at limits beyond what out Pentagon wants. And this was resulted in the Serbians being deprived of any outside observers, I fear we will discover that when it is all over, a new holocaust will have occurred.
Larry Beckham, USA

We Poles are very recent and proud members of Nato. However I am very much disturbed by the fact that the whole action is being taken WITHOUT THE CONSENT of UN. Furthermore the leaders of countries I respect, i.e. South Africa, India are opposed to Nato intervention. Is UN dead and the only source of justice and wisdom that remains is USA, which fortunately is for peace and motherhood?
Alex Bartnik, Poland

Read reactions that came in before Talking Point On Air

At this moment, Nato is bombing Belgrade (the city where I live and where I was born). I am 14 and I cannot go out for a walk because of Nato's bombs. World why are you supporting Albanian terrorists? Can't you understand that you attack PEOPLE OF YUGOSLAVIA (innocent people)? Because of war conditions I can not go to school. Many schools are damaged. Our and your pilots die every day. WORLD CAN YOU HAVE SENSE FOR A MOMENT AND STOP THIS TERRIBLE WAR!!!!
Nemanja Kordic, Yugoslavia

We will fight against Nato with all knowledge's we have. In ZASTAVA we decided to stay in our factory, and not to go away during the flight attack. Yesterday there were about 1500 employees in the factory. On Monday there will be about 8000. We will wait for our destiny. I hope that the people of Nato countries will never be in similar situation.
Vladan, Yugoslavia

I have heard that the fighting has been going on for many generations - so instead of the nations involved in Nato sending bombers and possibly backing them up with ground about getting together a humanitarian airlift of the people who want to leave, and have them resettle in other countries.
Bob Panek, USA

This air strike is a terrible mistake. We are innocent and brave people and bombs are all over our heads. Stop this chaos please.
Tatjana, Serbia

Where the hell does America get off trying to drag us Europeans into yet another potentially explosive situation within the Balkans? I am ashamed to be British when I read bigoted media backing so called comments backing this butchery. As I read the comments from the people of Serbia my heart went out to them! If America wants another Vietnam they can find one somewhere else!
Chris Moorcroft, UK

The Serbs have been demonised and blamed for every atrocity and "massacre" which has occurred in former Yugoslavia. This serves the needs of the politicians who need a really "evil" enemy to fight against.
Norman Ness, USA

All Macedonians are terrified by this barbaric air strikes. This is the biggest catastrophe since the second world war. Please stop it!!!
Aleksandar P, Macedonia

Yes, the people of Serbia are not equal to Slobodan Milosevic, just as the people of Germany were not equal to Hitler, but we all know which was the only way for the world to get rid of Hitler. And Milosevic has done what he wants ALL THIS DECADE, until now when the Nato is being brave for the first time in this decade.
Pedro Stancic-Rokotov, Chile

If Tony Blair claims that we have to bomb Yugoslavia because the problem is so close to us, why is that the Nato countries that are the closest to the conflict (i.e. Italy & Greece) are fast becoming the most sceptical of its justification?
Steve, England

If there would be any civil flight to Belgrade, me and my seven-month-old son will be there. Serbia today is the only place in the world where I can teach him to be proud and brave and honest even in the situation when the whole world is against him. Serbians, thank you for your courage in these days, which lights up our nights.
Vesna, Cyprus

Nato is apparently just a collection of countries ready to support US interests. Killing innocent people and creating conflicts between countries means nothing to them. They are much to far to feel the consequences. Serbs are heroic. It is a pity that the world forgets that easily who supported the Allies in the WWII. It is all about money isn't it? I feel sick....
Vasilis Smokovitism, USA

Sad, sad is the world we live in. Got to go to the shelter, bombs are approaching - I pray to God my three-year-old son is OK. Maybe his son will not experience war - my great grandfather, grandfather, father, myself and my son were not so lucky. But then again, we are only Serbs - so who cares ?
Dejan, Belgrade, Yugoslavia

I haven't heard a shred of concern from the Serbs about the Kosovans. Nobody is happy about the bombings but if you refuse to acknowledge your country's genocide I can't see any other option.
R Roberts, UK

If we want proof, that the air strikes are not against the people of Yugoslavia, we have to support the people as soon as the strikes are over. We need a medical, educational and economical co-operation, just as strong as the air strikes.
Karsten Neuhoff, Germany

Killing people is never the solution. I can't believe that there are people who vote for the war. Bombing counties far from our home it's an easy thing to do, but I'm wishing by my heart, anyone who is responsible for this parody, to pay for every tragic day the Yugoslav people go through.
Nina Baka, Greece

Nato is helping Milosevic to become even stronger. The Serbs are united now more than ever before. Nobody dares talk against Milosevic's politics on Kosovo. After this the Serbs as well as the Albanians will suffer even more than now.
Milena, Yugoslavia

Today we organise a rock concert in Belgrade. It will be held on open air on the Square of freedom right in the centre. One week from now is my birthday. Two weeks from now is our Easter. Are you going to spoil all of this? This is just what you are doing: spoiling everything you touch. Please take care of your problems. Oscar Wilde said: 'God, please save me from my friends I will take care of my enemies'.
Radmilo Simic, Yugoslavia

Send in the ground troops and do the job properly. Save these innocents from evil. Do not make the same mistake that was made during the Gulf War. Kill Milosevic.
Paul Mcloughlin, UK

World, PLEASE don't be blind! Nato is not bombing Milosevic! Nato is bombing PEOPLE of Yugoslavia! Can't you see that it is nothing but hypocrisy saying that bombs are falling to create peace?! World, do you know that we are almost day and night in bomb shelters, that our schools and hospitals are damaged, even our, CHRISTIAN, holy land-monastery of Grachanica (which is on Kosovo)? World, where are children and civil rights? I'm 18, do you know how I feel? I can hear alarm for air attack right now! WORLD, CAN'T YOU HEAR IT?!"
Nadya M (18), Belgrade, Yugoslavia

After all these strikes Milosevic will be stronger then ever. After 8 years under his dictature this is the worst thing that could happen to us. What can I do? Now I go home to wait for a next night and next strike with my wife and child. Bye....
Banica Miroslav, Yugoslavia

I think we must kill Milosevic because all our problems - it's his fault. I think that Nato must stop to bomb Montenegro because bombing may stop democratic process in Montenegro.
Boro Milovic, Montenegro

Mr.Clinton and Mr.Blair, you say that you are in "no quarrel" with the Serbian people. PEOPLE ARE DYING OF YOUR BOMBING RAIDS. You have the power, but have you got any logic, intelligence and honesty???
Vladan C, Yugoslavia

I wish Tony Blair could spend one night watching his kids crying with fright in an air raid shelter.
Roksanda Nincic, Yugoslavia

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Relevant Stories

08 Apr 99 | Europe
Belgrade counts the cost

07 Apr 99 | Europe
Nato targets armour

Internet Links


Serbian Ministry of Information

UNHCR: Latest figures

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In This Section
Focus on Kosovo - Join the debate
Imran Khan: From cricket to politics
China ten years on
Movies: Hype imitating art?
Should we have a right to die?
Do we have a moral obligation to help refugees?
What is Talking Point ON AIR?