War Crimes in Kosovo

Most people will remember that until recently NATO was at war with Serbia, but few will be able to give the exact reasons for our military involvement other than "we couldn't condone Belgrade's dictatorial, expansionist politics resulting in grand scale ethnic cleansing, e.g. in Kosovo".

Now the costs of the war have been worked out - more or less - and the account is alarming (source: Jürgen Elsässer, Kriegsverbrechen):

To defeat Serbia's 14 tanks, 18 trucks and 20 guns NATO had to drop

23,000 bombs, missiles and rockets
31,000 war heads armed with depleted Uranium
1,000 cluster bombs, each containing 202 smaller bombs

Today Yugoslavia is a gigantic ruin, and millions of people suffer because of the NATO bombings.

The reports of the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo spoke of several hundred thousand "missing" Albanians, and there was much talk of mass graves.  Now it appears that the number is much lower, in fact perhaps as low as 1,000.

(Some mass graves have been found, but it's still unclear who killed these people, when, and under what circumstances).

However, one thousand innocent victims of an ethnic cleansing is more than enough to call for a reaction from the world - it's not the number in itself that matters - but on the other hand, there can be no doubt that the exaggerated figure of half a million victims was meant to swing the public opinion - and it did.

But the very people that the world wanted to save from the atrocities - and thus teamed up with - the Albanians, lead by the UCK guerilla, have now been proved to have committed the exact same atrocities towards Serbian civilians and other minorities in Kosovo after the war ended.

Thus the former Albanian ally (the UCK) against Serbia is now the future enemy.  On the list of crimes committed by the organization is: counterfeiting, illegal gunrunning, kidnapping, trafficking (international prostitution), heroin (40% of Europe's import of heroin goes through Albania), mob activities, organized crime, deportation and murder.

More than half the original population of Kosovo: Croats, Jews, Gypsies, and other ethnic minorities have been expelled or killed, their homes burned, but funnily enough this reversed ethnic cleansing has not been condemned by NATO.

On top of it all it now turns out that NATO calls on Serbia to help control the UCK.  Thus the roles have been completely reversed.  We may wonder why we went to war in the first place?  To enable the UCK Albanians to "clean up" Kosovo?  Or was it "just" to get rid of Serbian President Milosevic?  (if so there might have been other, better ways of doing it.)  Or was it because we were mislead, lead on by politicians who had made so many promises and overplayed their hands that they couldn't go back on their word without losing face?

If we wanted to stop one alleged ethnic cleansing, but instead helped along another, perhaps far worse crime, we might have thought twice before getting involved at such a grand scale.  At any rate I think it's fair to say that we overreacted - slightly.

March 2001
Erik Moldrup

P.S. Do you remember the young Kuwaiti girl who told the world about the atrocities she had witnessed in a hospital in 1990?  How Iraqui soldiers had murdered infants in the most horrible way?   I do.  And I also remember how it swung the general opinion in favor of instant retaliation which cleared the (political) way for the Gulf War.  I wonder how many people also know that that particular girl was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador, and that she was never near the said hospital?

The democracy "we" defended in Kuwait was never there, nor is it today.  Kuwait is not a democracy.  Still, we have to fight the aggressors.  But why?  I'm afraid we're never told the truth.

Now there's some speculation as to whether some allied servicemen have died in Kosovo becaused they were exposed to depleted Uranium from the exploded bombs.  Though their deaths are sad, it is interesting to note that nobody has mentioned the possible nuclear radiation inflicted on the many innocent civilians in Yugoslavia.

While the (undeclared) war on Serbia was on, some Danish politicians wouldn't even admit that we were, in fact, waging war on Serbia, but others wanted to compensate for the civilian losses by raising funds to ease the damage of the bombs.  In contrast to this, the suggestion was made to collect money for the bombs and let the state pay for the aid, but unfortunately, this motion from the anti-war movement was never taken seriously by the gung ho hype of the media.

Some of us will never forget how an English pilot had been instructed to lie at the daily press briefings where fabricated and tampered videos of the bombings were shown; lies they had to take back when the truth became known.  Similarly, unreliable spokespersons were seen through and replaced.  But what if we hadn't caught them in the act?

The most annoying thing about it all may not be whether we act morally correctly or not, but whether we are manipulated into thinking the way others condition us to.
In 1990 I heard the US Marines say they wanted the Gulf War because the US "hasn't had a successful operation since the Korean War ".  How convincing a reason is that?

The first victim of any war is the truth.