Where are the Bodies in Kosovo?

October 18, 1999

Comment: #326


[1] Stratfor, "Where Are Kosovo's Killing Fields?" 0220 GMT, 991017

[2] PABLO ORDAZ in Madrid, "Spanish police and forensic experts have not found proof of Genocide in the North of Kosovo," El Pais, 23 Septiembre 1999 - Nž 1238.

[3] Reuters, "No Bodies at Rumored Grave Site in Kosovo," PRISTINA, Kosovo, Oct. 12

The justification for using American forces in Kosovo has been and continues to be a moral argument grounded on claims of mass murder and genocide. The Constitution was bypassed, the defensive nature of the NATO treaty was perverted by an offensive attack on a nation that did not pose a threat to any members of NATO, UN resolutions that did not authorize the use of military force (UNSCRs 1199 & 1203) were used to justify bombing [UNSCR 1199 excluded the use of force because Russia made it clear in the Summer of 1998 that it would veto a resolution that authorized force], bombing attacks aimed at changing one man's mind degenerated into attacks on an entire nation, with civilian targets, like shoe factories and general power supplies, being bombed in violation of the Geneva Convention. An now, K-FOR is pursuing policies in Kosovo that violate the spirit, if not the letter, of UNSCR 1244 -- the cease fire resolution.

All this lawbreaking was done in the name of a higher morality -- and that higher morality was based on direct and subliminal claims that Serbia was pursuing an evil genocidal campaign against the Kosovar Albanians.

A real threat of genocide is an evil that might justify a moral crusade that requires us to violate our nation's highest moral principle -- the rule of law, but this kind of tradeoff puts us on a slippery intellectual slope. One thing is clear, however. Special care must be taken to determine whether that threat of genocide is real before one trashes the moral principle that lies at the center one's national identity.

The three references to this message suggest (but do not prove) that the number of Albanian Kosovars killed by Serbs during Operation Horseshoe may number in the hundreds rather than the 11,000 claimed by Bernard Kouchner, the UN chief administrator in Kosovo. If this turns out to be true, this finding would demolish the claim of mass murder and genocide and raise profoundly disturbing questions about NATO's use of morality to trash the rule of law.

These questions should be addressed, and the obvious place to start is with an accurate accounting of the dead bodies in Kosovo, but as Reference #1 shows, this is not being done in a comprehensive manner.

Together, these reports raise real moral issues that should be resolved in a nation shaped by the rule of law. The current members of Congress have an obligation to our history, particularly to the Framers of the Constitution, as well as a current obligation to the people they represent to examine the legal and moral justifications of the Serbo-NATO War.

Chuck Spinney

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