13 NOVEMBER 1999, Page 46

Ignorance is bliss

From Mr Brian Basham

Sir: I showed my wife John Laughland's article ('The massacres that never were', 30 October) which alleges that we were told a pack of lies about the scale of killings in Kosovo. She pointed me to the following passage from Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis:

I can hardly regret having escaped the appalling waste of time and spirit. which would have been involved in reading the war news.... To read without military knowledge or good maps accounts of fighting which were distorted before they reached the Divisional general and further distorted before they left him and then 'written up' out of all recogni- tion by journalists, to strive to master what will be contradicted the next day. to fear and hope intensely on shaky evidence, is surely an ill use of the mind.

The old boy had a point. Brian Basham

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