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Air war Kosovo Charles Schleininger corsair schleini@lemoorenet.com L. Prina - Sea Power, Nov. 99

"After every major armed conflict, the winners ... undertake a post action review to identify "lessons learned" & to determine what went right, went went wrong, & why. ...

Gen. Wesley K. Clark, NATO's supreme commander ... told the reporters that the conflict ended only when Milosevic realized that he faced an imminent ground invasion. I think he had ample evidence to conclude that, that he not conceded when he did, that the next step would have been the long-waited & much-talked-about NATO ground effort. ...

NATO's opening strategy was to plan for 2 to 3 days of bombing Serb targets in Kosovo & then await Milosevic's surrender. No official has explained how the alliance arrived at such a miscalculation ...

Gen. John Jumper, commander of U>S> Air forces in Europe ... at the time the war was launched, NATO's leaders were confident Milosevic would sue for peace after a few demonstration sorties, a few bombs on the ground. ...

Clark ... felt that he had to do what he could to stop the Serb atrocities in Kosovo but despite the effort, the looting, the raping continued. More than 1,000,000 Albanian Kosovars were sent streaming across borders of neighboring states, mainly to Albania & Macedonia. Most of the atrocities came after NATO launched its air war. NATO was not prepared to handle such a disaster for far too long.

Probably no military professional would dispute the view that the political environment effected every aspect of NATO planning & execution & led to incremental war instead of more decisive operations earlier in the conflict. Excessive concerns for collateral damage ... created sanctuaries & tactical opportunities for the Serbs ...

There is general agreement among the observers that President Clinton's decision to rule out ... the commitment of U.S. ground troops ... was a huge relief to Milosevic & his campaign of ethnic cleansing. NATO was willing to take the first step in commencing an air war, but was unprepared ...the last step that might be necessary to achieve its war aims. This was a serious strategic short coming. ...


Under the circumstances (Cohen) this was the best of a series of bad options. ...

Lt. Gen. Paul Van riper, USMC (Ret.) ... What really troubles me is that those who take an oath to defend others were held out of harm's way while the very people they to defend were in many ways viewed as expendable. What does this say for the Western warrior ethic for the future?"



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