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1999 Friday 2 April I was very tired still, and starting to get that achy feeling that exhaustion brings. We were losing the propaganda battle with the Serbs. TB called early on, and wanted a real sense of urgency injected into things. He had spoken to Clinton about the timidity of the military strategy. He had spoken to Thatcher [Margaret Thatcher] last night who was appalled that the NAC and Nato ambassadors discussed [with each other] targeting plans. He wanted the message out that we were intensifying attacks. I said we said that on Wednesday.
I told [Nato secretary general Javier] Solana if he wanted me to come out again, he just had to say. He said he loved the way we had "tamed" the media. I said we hadn't, we'd just made them think we had.
We were having some effect with the strategy for the right, eg Charles Powell and David Hart [former Thatcher adviser] were both going up, but the rightwing papers and commentators so hated us that they were determined to do what they could to help anything fail. If this was a Tory war, they would support it every inch of the way.
But Milosevic [Slobodan Milosevic, president of Serbia] has total control of his media and our media is vulnerable to their output. So we can lose the public opinion battle and if we lose hands down in some of the Nato countries, we have a problem sustaining this.
I was up at 5.30 and got the 6.53 train to Brussels. [Nato communications director Jamie] Shea said he had been fascinated how we had changed our approach to the media as New Labour and he was sure there were lessons they could learn. I said we didn't have much time. I felt we needed more people, better integrated. We needed a strategic approach to communications, greater centralisation, so that all capitals felt involved in what we were saying and doing, and also felt obliged at least to know what the line here was, even if they then felt unable to toe it.
He told me of a bomb they were intending to use that could destroy an area the size of four football fields, and then grenades would go off, and spread further. He said the Serbs don't know we have it. The question is do we warn them or just use it?
He told me of a bomb they were intending to use that could destroy an area the size of four football fields, and then grenades would go off, and spread further.