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View Diary: I am so tempted to violate copyright (177 comments)

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  •  You seem to forget (0+ / 0-)

    that civilians live in large cities.  And that bombing large cities (like what happened in Belgrade) leads to civilian deaths.   And civilian deaths are never acceptable.

    •  "Civilian deaths are never acceptable." Darfur? (1+ / 0-)
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      (1) That is as much a call to action as a call to inaction. It is BECAUSE the deaths of Bosnian Muslim civilians and Rwandan civilians and Kosovar Albanian civilians are unacceptable that we should have acted militarily earlier in Bosnia and Kosovo, and should have acted at all in Rwanda.

      (2) Admittedly I could be mistaken, but I believe the vast majority of our bombs and bullets in Bosnia and Kosovo hit legitimate military targets. I recall the Chinese embassy, but that was a mistake. And yes, I know mistakes are inevitable.

      (3) What about Darfuri civilians? Are their deaths acceptable? One of the many great tragedies of our clusterf**k in Iraq is that it's left us with no military capacity and no credibility to act in Darfur. We should be taking stronger action there anyway.

      -4.25, -4.87 "If the truth were self-evident, there would be no need for eloquence." -- Cicero

      by HeyMikey on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 12:59:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not really (1+ / 0-)
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        The bombs on Belgrade killed many civilians and damaged the infrastructure of that city (electric utilities, etc).  Targeting such utilities was not a mistake.  It was deliberate targeting. The Kosovar Albanians also committed  war crimes against the Serbs, after they took control of Kosovo, but noone interfered then.    

        As for Darfur, I could not agree more that we should interfere and stop the genocide there.   My point is that in the Balkans things were not dones as  well as they were presented by Albright.   I agree with Jimmy Carter and Kucinich that we should not have bombed Belgrade.   And I think Chomsky is also right on that.

        •  You prompted me to do some research. (1+ / 0-)
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          Human Rights Watch estimates 500 civilian Serb casualties as a result of NATO attacks:

          Wikipedia says this about civilian casualties in the entire Kosovo war:

          The other major issue for those who saw no option but to resort to the use of force was the estimated 250,000 displaced Albanians, 30,000 of whom were out in the woods, without warm clothing or shelter, with winter approaching.


          President Clinton of the United States, and his administration, were accused of inflating the number of Kosovar Albanians killed by Serbians.[29] Clinton's Secretary of Defense William Cohen, giving a speech, said, "The appalling accounts of mass killing in Kosovo and the pictures of refugees fleeing Serb oppression for their lives makes it clear that this is a fight for justice over genocide."[30] On CBS' Face the Nation Cohen claimed, "We've now seen about 100,000 military-aged men missing... they may have been murdered."[31] Clinton, citing the same figure, spoke of "at least 100,000 (Kosovar Albanians) missing".[32] Later, talking about Yugoslav elections, Clinton said, "they're going to have to come to grips with what Mr. Milošević ordered in Kosovo... they're going to have to decide whether they support his leadership or not; whether they think it's OK that all those tens of thousands of people were killed...".


          Civilians killed by NATO airstrikes

             Main article: Targeting of civilian areas during Operation Allied Force

          Yugoslavia claimed that NATO attacks caused between 1,200 and 5,700 civilian casualties. NATO acknowledged killing at most 1,500 civilians. Human Rights Watch counted a minimum of 488 civilian deaths (90 to 150 of them killed from cluster bomb use) in 90 separate incidents. Attacks in Kosovo overall were more deadly - a third of the incidents account for more than half of the deaths.[39]

          [edit] Civilians killed by Yugoslav ground forces

          Various estimates of the number of killings attributed to Yugoslav ground forces have been announced through the years.

          In June 2000 the Red Cross reported that 3,368 civilians (2,500 Albanians, 400 Serbs, and 100 Roma) were still missing, nearly one year after the conflict. [40]

          In August 2000 the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) announced that it had exhumed 2,788 bodies in Kosovo, but declined to say how many were thought to be victims of war crimes.[41] Earlier however, KFOR sources told Agence France Presse that of the 2,150 bodies that had been discovered up until July 1999, about 850 were thought to be victims of war crimes.[42]

          Some of the missing civilians were re-buried in mass graves in Serbia-proper. In July 2001, the Serbian authorities announced the discovery of four mass graves containing nearly 1,000 bodies.[38] The largest grave was found on a Serbian Police training ground in Batajnica just outside of Belgrade.

          Although it far exceeds the 4,400 killings reported to human rights groups, statistical experts working on behalf of the ICTY prosecution estimate that the total number of dead is about 10,000.[43] Their higher estimate was based on the controversial assumption that most people wouldn't report the killing or disappearance of a loved one.[44]

          The estimate of 10,000 deaths is also used by the U.S. State Department, which cited human rights abuses as its main justification for attacking Yugoslavia.[45]

          A study by researchers from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia published in 2000 in medical journal the Lancet estimated that "12,000 deaths in the total population" could be attributed to war.[46] This number was achieved by surveying 1197 households from February, 1998, through June, 1999. 67 out of the 105 deaths reported in the sample population were attributed to war-related trauma, which extrapolates to be 12,000 deaths if the same war-related mortality rate is applied to Kosovo's total population. The highest mortality rates were in men between 15-49 accounting for 5421 victims of war as well as for the man over 50 accounting for total of 5176 victims of the war. For persons younger than 15 the estimates were 160 victims for males and 200 for females. For the woman between 15-49 the estimate is that there was 510 victims and for the woman older than 50 years the estimate is 541 victims. The authors stated that it is not "possible to differentiate completely between civilian and military casualties".

          [edit] Civilians killed by the KLA

             Main article: 1998-present persecution of Serbs and other non-Albanians in Kosovo

          According to a Serbian government report, from January 1, 1998 to June 10, 1999 the KLA killed 988 people and kidnapped 287; in the period from June 10 1999 to November 11 2001, when NATO took control in Kosovo, 847 were reported to have been killed and 1,154 kidnapped. This comprised both civilians and security force personnel: of those killed in the first period, 335 were civilians, 351 soldiers, 230 police and 72 were unidentified; by nationality, 87 of killed civilians were Serbs, 230 Albanians, and 18 of other nationalities.[47]

          Bottom line: I think NATO taking SOME military action was the thing to do, even if some of the specific targets NATO attacked were unjustified. The best information we had at the time was that military action would save more civilian lives than it would cost; and in retrospect, that appears to have been correct. And again, what we had to weigh in the balance was the consequences of our failure to act in Rwanda, and our failure to act soon enough in Bosnia -- against the same Serbian government attempting to crack down in Kosovo. At least give NATO credit for not repeating those mistakes.

          -4.25, -4.87 "If the truth were self-evident, there would be no need for eloquence." -- Cicero

          by HeyMikey on Thu Jul 24, 2008 at 02:43:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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