CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

DEFENCE – TERRORIST CRISIS – 16 October 2001

Dr Julian Lewis: Is my right hon. Friend [Michael Ancram] aware that Mary Robinson has retracted the reports that were erroneously issued in which she requested a pause in the bombing? She hoped that aid could be delivered more efficiently and in a way that was more compatible with the necessary campaign.

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Dr Lewis: The hon. Gentleman [Alex Salmond] is right that bombing alone did not win in Kosovo, but does he not accept that there is a difference between what the Government were saying then and what they are saying now? There was an argument then that bombing alone might win in Kosovo; I am not aware that the Government have said that bombing alone will win in Afghanistan. I believe the Government's position to be that bombing is a necessary precursor to other military action to win in Afghanistan, and if that is their position I think that Opposition Members owe it to them to support it until we see whether that other military action is indeed effective.

[Alex Salmond: The hon. Gentleman makes a fair point. One mistake that I think would be generally acknowledged, even perhaps by Ministers in retrospect, was the announcement at the start of the Kosovo action that no other military intervention was being considered. That, I feel, is the equivalent of an announcement during the Second World War that only a bombing campaign against Continental Europe was envisaged, without a D-Day landing. I do not think that the Government would wish to make the same mistake again.]