Where are the Bodies in Kosovo (III)? –
November 24, 1999
Please read the error correction statement, Comment # 334A.
 MICHAEL IGNATIEFF, "Counting Bodies in Kosovo," New York Times [Op-Ed], November 21, 1999.
 Nick Fraser, "How UN troops gave support to Serb genocide," Telegraph [UK], November 21, 1999.
 Press Release, "UN war crimes prosecutor reports 2,108 bodies exhumed from gravesites in Kosovo," UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), November 10, 1999.
 Steven Erlanger with Christopher S. Wren, "Early Count Hints at Fewer Kosovo Deaths," New York Times, November 11, 1999.
 Kenneth Bacon, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, "Pentagon On Kosovo, Letter to Editor, New York Times, November 17, 1999
Where are the bodies in Kosovo?
This question first arose late last summer when reports surfaced suggesting that the number of bodies buried in Kosovo’s killing fields was going to be far lower than NATO’s leaders had led their populations to expect. [see Comment #s 326 & 327]. Normally, such a finding would be greeted with sighs of relief, but in this case the, the prospect of lower numbers is decidedly unwelcome.
A lower body count is unwanted because it puts the credibility of NATO’s leaders into play. They had compared allegations of mass murder in Kosovo to the worst genocides in history. Perhaps this was due to faulty intelligence or perhaps the charge was made to whip up mass support for the war, but whatever the reason, it is clear in retrospect that the charge of genocide made it easier to silence political dissent, bypass legal requirements, and justify the bombing of civilian targets in Serbia.
The lower-than-expected numbers were confirmed on November 10 by the interim forensic results released by Carla Del Ponte, the new chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [Reference #3 is UN press release]. She revealed that inspections of 37% of suspected sites yielded only 2,108 bodies.
These new numbers, together with the deteriorating situation in Kosovo, are now fueling an overdue debate on the casus belli as well as the conduct and outcome of the Serbo-NATO War. But if the publication of Michael Ignatieff’s Op-Ed in the New York Times (Reference #1) is any indicator, this debate is about to turn ugly.
Shortly after after Ms. Del Ponte released her numbers, Michael Ignatieff weighed in with a two pronged argument in an Op-Ed published by the New York Times [Reference #1] evidently aimed at achieving two goals: First, to convince readers that genocide occurred or was about to occur in Kosovo, notwithstanding the ICTY’s results, and second, to prove that the real lesson of the Serbo-NATO War is that NATO had a moral obligation to intervene earlier than it did. But to make his case for the higher morality of second goal, he chose not to prove his first goal but to discredit the logic, integrity, and motives of the so-called "revisionists" who have had the temerity to question claims that a genocide was in process.
In so doing, Ignatieff has produced a nasty polemic in which he commits the same sins he accused the sinners of committing. My aim is describe the nature of his attack, because it is likely be only the first round in a dirty war of words, and being forewarned is being forearmed.
REVISIONISM & MORAL MCCARTHYISM
Included in the print version of Inatieff’s text [but not in the electronic version] is the following loaded phase which was printed in larger bold fonts separated by two lines:
"Revisionists distort facts and help Milosevic."
This characterization is name calling with a sinister touch.
"Revisionist" is a label implying a radical reinterpretation of settled wisdom or history, and its use generally connotes some biased ideological purpose. A deconstruction of the origins of the Cold War in which a left wing historian biases history to assign all the blame for starting the conflict on the West would be a revisionist history. An historical "analysis" that attempts to prove the Holocaust did not occur is revisionism.
In the case of the origins and conduct of the Serbo-NATO War, however, it is preposterous to claim that revisionists are reinterpreting anything.
There is no settled historical wisdom to revise. The history is only five months old and is still changing and mutating daily as new facts emerge. Ignatieff is simply attaching a pejorative label to honest efforts to understand and portray what took place. My guess is that he did this to soften the reader up for a further attack.
That attack comes quickly. By charging the "revisionists" are helping Milosevic, Ignatieff insinuates that these "revisionists" are traitors because they are aiding the enemy. This is the seedy rhetoric of intimidation. It would be more at home in the office of Joseph McCarthy than on the Op-Ed page of a major newspaper.
But the low blow is also revealing: That a writer believes it necessary to resort to this tactic to defend the conduct of the first moral war waged for "humanitarian" reasons, a war that sacrificed the rule of law in the name of a higher morality [see Comment #326], says a lot about the absence of moral clarity that is central to the growing credibility problem now facing the leaders of Western governments.
Equally outrageous are the rhetorical twists and analytical turns Ignatieff used to make his argumentum intimidatum. Two examples will suffice to illustrate his loose construction standards:
I. INGANTIEFF’S WEIRD ARITHMETIC OF DEATH
Mr. Ignatieff accuses the "revisionists" of distorting facts, but he distorts facts to prove his point. This can be seen clearly by analyzing the following passage which is extracted verbatim and printed exactly as in the printed version, except for the emphasis of CAPITAL LETTERS, which are his words but my emphasis:
--------[Begin Passage 1]-----
"Moreover, the revisionists have misinterpreted the Hague tribunal's numbers. The tribunal's total figure -- 2,108 bodies uncovered from 195 sites -- appeared at first to confirm the revisionists' claims. But the revisionists FAILED TO NOTICE that there are at least 334 other sites that the investiga-
------[Subtitle Phrase in larger bold font in Print Version at this point]---------
Revisionists distort facts and help Milosevic
------[end subtitle phrase]---------
-tors will turn to in the spring when the ground thaws and digging can resume. No one knows how many bodies will be uncovered from these remaining sites or whether more sites will be discovered.
The TRIBUNAL’S CURRENT ESTIMATE -- from Western intelligence sources, eyewitness statements and evidence taken from surviving family members -- is that there are 11,334 bodies at 529 sites. Instead of exaggerating the case, the British Foreign Ministry's estimate in June of 10,000 bodies appears, if anything, to UNDERSTATE it."
-----[End Passage 1]------
The assertion that the so-called revisionist literature failed to notice that 334 sites were not yet excavated is an outrageous fiction.
In fact, the overwhelming majority of the news reports and Op-Eds I have read have gone out of their way to emphasize this point. There are too many of these reports to distribute with this message, but I will distribute them in my next message so you can satisfy yourself as to the truth of my statement.
But a false premise is only the beginning of Ignatieff’s distortion. Note how he used the unexamined graves to argue that 10,000 bodies represents a probable UNDERSTATEMENT of the ultimate total.
His numbers are correct, at least in the sense that they are the same numbers released by Ms. Del Ponte. But his arithmetic is strange, and his argument is irrational and anti-empirical. To make matters worse, he twists wording and leaves out other information that was reported in the ICTY press release and the New York Times (of all places!).
To see why, let us compare what he said to Ms. Del Ponte’s words, the logical implications of her numbers, and the other supporting information.
On November 10, Del Ponte told the UN Security Council that forensic investigators from 14 countries had exhumed 2,108 bodies from 195 (or 37%) of the 529 suspected grave sites in Kosovo, before the onset of winter shut down operations [Reference #3 is the official UN press release obtained form the UN web site].
Ms Del Ponte also said there was evidence of tampering and concealment, including burning, so the precise number of bodies could not be counted. The current estimate, which is now the best information available, is therefore an interim number.
Ignatieff’s predilection for subtly twisting words to suit his needs is immediately apparent when one compares his words in Passage #1 to those in Del Ponte’s the Press Release [Reference #3]. First, note how Press Release says that the ICTY "has received reports of 11,334 bodies in the 529 grave sites" but Ignatieff the 11,234 bodies are the "tribunal’s current estimate." The phrase "current estimate" conveys a greater sense of certainty and analysis than is suggested by the phrase "received reports."
Why make such a slight change? To soften up the reader for the assertion that 10,000 is a PROBABLE understatement of the total body count.
But a little arithmetic shows why this assertion is both illogical and anti-empirical. This can be seen when we compare the ICTY numbers to his claim.
Based on the grisly statistics in the Press Release, Ms. Del Ponte’s numbers indicate an average yield of 10.8 bodies per mass killing site. To reach Ignatieff’s "understated" total of 10,000 bodies would require the unexamined 334 sites to yield an additional 7,892 bodies, or 23.6 bodies per site, or 2.2 times as many bodies per site as those investigated to date.
In other words, Ignatieff’s argument depends on a weird hidden assumption: namely, that investigators were guided by some sort of priority system that caused them to systematically examine the sites LEAST LIKELY to prove the allegation they set out to prove!
On the other hand, if investigators had examined a random sample of "average" sites, a yield of 10.8 bodies per site would result in 5,713 bodies for all 529 sites, or only 57% of the 10,000 bodies Ignatieff claims is an understatement of the death toll.
But it is highly unlikely serious forensic investigators, operating under the intense pressure of time in the spotlight of worldwide scrutiny, would choose to examine the "least lucrative" or "average" sites first. It is more logical to assume they were working hard to prove their case.
In fact, just 10 days before Ignatieff’s Op-Ed, Steven Erlanger and Christopher Wren of the same New York Times confirmed what is logical when they reported that unnamed sources told them that investigators examined the most serious sites first [Reference #4].
Furthermore, these officials suggested other factors might tend to reduce the results further. They cautioned, for example, that not all the bodies recovered were the result of atrocities; some may have been combatants in the Kosovo Liberation Army and others may have died naturally. Other reports indicate that some of the bodies may be the remains of Serbian Kosovars.
Given these uncertainties, which Ignatieff ignores, a policy of ‘examining the most serious sites first’ would therefore seem to suggest the probable yield of the remaining 334 sites will be less per site than the 195 sites examined to date, implying a non-trivial probability that the final number could be significantly less than 5,700.
On there other hand, there is at least one offsetting uncertainty that could push the numbers higher. The evidence of tampering suggests the Serbs may have hidden some of the bodies. One might be tempted to argue, therefore, that the absence of human remains does not constitute evidence against the charge of genocide. According to this line of reasoning, the Serbs learned how to hide the results of their grisly business from their experience in Bosnia, and therefore it will take years, if ever, to prove that a genocide occurred or was in the process of occurring in Kosovo.
But to make an argument stick when it is based on the assumption that evidence to the contrary does not disprove the hypothesis, the advocate must carefully explain why this conclusion is logical and provide sufficient inferential evidence to support that logic.
In this case, it is clear that the Serbs would have to hidden a very large number of bodies to make up for the differences between the claims and the results implied by the exhumations to date. While this is not impossible, disposing of such a large number of bodies with no trace is no easy task in the best of circumstances … and the Serbs were not operating in the best of circumstances, given that (1) they had only 40,000-50,000 Serb military and para-military troops and 78 days to do their dirty work while, at the same time, they were (2) busy driving 860,000 Albanians out of Kosovo, (3) fighting an escalating guerrilla war against and increasingly well-armed and organized KLA inside Kosovo, (4) digging in, laying minefields, and preparing fortifications to defend against a NATO ground invasion, and all the while (5) hiding from the constant surveillance and bombardment being dished out by NATO’s airplanes.
It is clearly incumbent for adherents of the anti-empirical inferential counter-argument to explain how the Serbs could kill all these people and hide their remains in these circumstances. Mr. Ignatieff didn’t touch this tar baby.
So, what can we conclude from the ICTY’s body count?
Based on the best information assembled to date, it seems reasonable to conclude that cumulative effects of priorities and uncertainties suggest 5,700 bodies is probably close to being an upper bound of the final total.
The true death toll may indeed turn out be much HIGHER than 5,700, but absent additional information, Ignatieff’s claim that 10,000 killed is a conservative UNDERSTATEMENT is clearly an unsubstantiated speculation based on an irrational and biased construction that was shaped more his desire to ‘prove’ the answer he wanted to prove than by a desire to get at the truth, whatever that may turn out to be.
II. A SLY RENDERING
There is a second example of Ignatieff’s sloppy argumentative standards.
A following passage reveals again how Ignatieff makes the same mistake he accuses the so-called revisionists of making. This one deals with his slick rendering of the Secretary of Defense’s comments to CBS’s "Face the Nation" on May 16.
-----[Begin Passage 2]-----
"Actually, the revisionists may have been the ones to get their facts wrong.
In Mr. Cohen's appearance on "Face the Nation," his statements were actually much more complicated. While he said that 100,000 were missing, he also CLEARLY stated that his reports showed that 4,600 Kosovars had been executed, a claim that has been confirmed by the FORENSIC TRAIL OF EVIDENCE uncovered by war crimes investigators since June."
--------[End Passage 2]------
Note first how Ignatieff casually inserts the claim that 4,600 executions have been confirmed by forensic evidence, but we just saw that Ms. Del Ponte said the ITCY forensic teams recovered only 2,108 bodies. What other forensic evidence is he referring to? He doesn’t tell us.
Rhetorical tricks aside, the real question is what did Mr. Cohen say and, more importantly, what did he mean to say?
It turns out that only four days before Ignatieff’s Op-Ed, on November 17, the same New York Times published the Pentagon’s official explanation of what Mr. Cohen meant to say on "Face the Nation." It took the form of a letter to the editor from Kenneth Bacon, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs [see Reference #5].
Bacon said, "In an appearance on the CBS News program "Face the Nation" on May 16, Mr. Cohen mentioned reports that 100,000 military-age men were missing. When asked if they might have been killed, Mr. Cohen did not discount the possibility, but he also cited reports that a lower number -- as many as 4,600 -- had been killed. … While conceding that the number might be "far higher," Mr. Cohen did not mean to suggest that it was as high as 100,000."
Now if we compare Bacon’s letter to Ignatieff’s claim in Passage #2, only one thing is clear: Bacon is NOT saying that "Cohen clearly stated that his reports had showed 4,600 hundred Kosovars had been executed."
If Cohen had said this clearly, Bacon would not have found it necessary to issue a clarifying statement. Ignatieff’s slippery insertion of "clarity" is obviously biased to make his point, but Bacon’s apologia for Cohen’s studied ambiguity makes it clear that Ignatieff’s statement misrepresents the tenor and context of what was really said. If we are to take Mr. Bacon at his word, Cohen’s claim evidently was a carefully nuanced statement made by a highly intelligent, skilled politician for the likely purpose of suggesting that far more than 4,600 may have been killed, while at the same time leaving himself a linguistic maneuvering room to escape from the implications of his words, should it be necessary to do so at a later date.
THE SLIPPERY LOGIC OF MORAL CLAIMS
The justification for using American forces in Kosovo has been and continues to be a moral argument that intervention was necessary because a genocide was in progress. The record makes it clear that this rationale was used repeatedly in March and April to justify the reactive escalating bombing campaign that became necessary when Slobo did not cave in after a few days of cosmetic bombing, as predicted [see Comment 318].
On March 28, for example, the Associated Press reported that NATO was ordering up more firepower in a race against time to smash Serb military units and head off what it called ''genocide'' against Kosovo. German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping emphasized this point, saying ''Genocide is starting,'' in a television interview with station ZDF. British Defense Secretary George Robertson made the same point in a separate interview, saying ''We are confronting a regime that is intent on genocide,''
On April 15, the American Secretary of State Madeline Albright testified to the House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, saying that "President Milosevic has unleashed a rampage of ethnic cleansing and genocide directed at the expulsion or total submission of the Kosovo Albanian community."
On April 24, in a New York Times Op-Ed, Tony Blair wrote that "Only NATO has the ability to oppose the Serb campaign of ethnic cleansing – a sustained campaign of brutality that has turned Kosovo into a slaughterhouse, with Mr. Milosevic’s death squads burning, raping, and killing.
A search of the internet (key words: Clinton, genocide, Kosovo) shows that President Clinton was more circumspect in his parsing of words, but he nevertheless liberally laced his speeches and statements with allusions to genocides elsewhere, creating the impression of linking without directly accusing the Milosevic regime of the crime.
A quick survey of the internet also suggests that the charge of genocide in Kosovo was usually raised in a context that includes one or more of the following: the brutally efficient mass expulsions and murderous atrocities of April and May, the demonization of Milosevic and his cronies or the Serbs in general, NATO's decision in late April to begin bombing civilian targets in Yugoslavia, or NATO's post-war policy of maintaining harsh economic sanctions against the Yugoslavian people until they get rid of Slobodan Milosevic.
Bear in mind, all these charges and claims took place against a background of questionable legality (1) The Constitution was bypassed and the War Powers Act neutralized. (2) The defensive nature of the NATO treaty was arbitrarily changed, without the advice and consent of Senate or national debate, by an offensive attack on a sovereign nation that did not pose a threat to any members of NATO. (3) UN resolutions that did not authorize the use of military force (UNSCRs 1199 & 1203) were used to justify bombing . (4) Bombing attacks aimed at changing one man's mind by deterring or weakening his military instruments of oppression IN Kosovo degenerated into attacks on an entire Serbian nation, with civilian targets, like shoe factories and general power supplies, being bombed in possible violation of the Geneva Convention.
Given this background of a questionable legal justification and a wild escalation that went far beyond the pre-war intentions of NATO’s planners, it is easy to see why apologists for the conduct of this war are struggling to justify what happened by charging their adversary with the patently evil crime of genocide.
Atrocities certainly occurred and continue to occur in Kosovo – first by Serbs and now by Albanians. But Ms. Del Ponte’s evidence suggests the total dead may be less than the 7,414 Muslim men and boys slaughtered in Srebrenica by the Bosnian Serbs in six days between July 11 and July 17, 1995 [see Reference #2]. That massacre did not result in formal charges of genocide against the alleged perpetrators the crimes. It did result in charges of war crimes. Like Srebrenica, there are grounds for charging some Serbs, including Milosevic, with war crimes and/or crimes against humanity in Kosovo. There are also grounds for making similar charges against those Kosovar Albanians who are now systematically murdering old women and cleansing Serbs and other minorities out of Kosovo.
Bear also in mind that a total body count of 5,700 Albanian Kosovars would represent three-tenths of one percent of the pre-war population of 2,000,000. People who question whether such a small numbers would amount to a genocide (a charge, by the way, that Milosevic was not even accused of in the May indictment) are not engaging in revisionism. Nor are they helping the enemy, as Ignatieff’s weird logic and sloppy analytical standards would have the reader believe.
I want to conclude this section with a brief discussion Mr. Ignatieff’s concluding remarks in Passage #3 below.
-----[Begin Passage #3]----
"The revisionist case could be turned on its head. They imply that we should have waited until the oppression turned into mass murder. But the point of interventions is surely to stop that deadly downward spiral before it begins.
The true lesson of Kosovo might be that we should have intervened in the summer of 1998 -- when the Serb offensive was beginning. We should have deployed troops on the Albanian and Macedonian borders and conducted an air campaign sufficiently robust to convince Mr. Milosevic that we knew where the line was between oppression and massacre, even if he did not. Had we done so, had we matched means and ends more adequately, we might not be arguing about body counts at all."
------[End Passage #3]------
Motherhood, with the benefit of hindsight, is easy. But before you buy into vague statements about "what might have been," consider the implications of making a decision in the Summer of 1998 to base large numbers of troops in Albania and Macedonia and to conduct a robust bombing campaign in 1998. It is true that fighting in Kosovo escalated sharply in February 1998 (but the KLA kicked it off, although the Serbs were also intent on resuming the fighting). By June, a crisis was building and at least 65,000 Kosovar Albanians had fled from their homes for safety in the hills (incidentally, fleeing to hills for safety seems to have been a recurring pattern in Kosovo since at least 1688 – see Noel Malcom, "Kosovo: A Short History," p. 142.)
On the other hand, when considering what should have be done, think about what Ignatieff did not say.
He did not say that the United States and Britain in fact tried to obtain approval of a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing NATO to use force against Serbia in the Summer of 1998. He did not say that Russia strenuously opposed military action. He did not say the threat of a Russian veto is why the language of UNSCR 1199 specifically excluded a reference to the use of force. When faced with the certainty of a Russian veto, Ignatieff did not say that U.S. officials took the position that such a resolution, while preferable, was not a necessary authority for NATO action – a position which was reflected in the bombing threats in the Fall.
Moreover, he did not say that NATO, in fact, began planning a bombing campaign – a process suggesting the obvious – namely, that it takes time to put together a robust bombing campaign. In fact, by the opening night of the Serbo-NATO War, on March 24, 1999, planners at NATO Headquarters had produced 40 versions of the coming air war [Wash Post, Sept 21, 1999].
Nor did he explore the moral implications of a bombing campaign in 1998 that would have taken place against the express wishes of the United Nations.
As for basing large numbers of combat-ready troops in Albania and Macedonia, Mr. Ignatieff did not say how NATO could have assembled sufficient forces in time to support a robust bombing campaign in the Summer of 1998, particularly in view of Greece’s resistance to NATO’s use of port of Thessalonika and Albania’s primitive transportation infrastructure which required major construction to support large scale troop movements. Apparently, he forgot the slow pace of deployment in widely reported Task Force Hawk fiasco last April.
The simple fact is that Ignatieff’s conclusion of "what might have beens" added nothing to his argument because the political, legal, and logistical lead times made it impractical to intervene in the Summer of 1998. The real point of his essay is to torch the so-called "revisionists" with a firestorm of distortions and irrational musings.
There is one "what might have been" that Ignatieff did not address which bears mentioning, however. Perhaps the war could have been avoided.
According to a report by Olivia Ward of the Toronto Star, the Serbian Parliament passed a second resolution on March 23, immediately after rejecting the Rambouillet "Accord." [comment #318 discussed the intolerable and provocative conditions of Annex B]. Ms. Ward said the second resolution hinted that Serbia might be willing to accept U.N. troops in Kosovo because it expressed a willingness to review the "range and character of an international presence'' in Kosovo after a political agreement on the province was signed [see Toronto Star, March 24]. Perhaps the Serbian overture was a propaganda sham, but we ought to ask if it would have been wiser, more law abiding, and less bloody to have to have taken a little time to explore the implications of the second resolution before than using Serbia’s the rejection of Rambouillet as a trigger to start bombing on March 24.
There may also be an important lesson to be learned from the events set into motion in the Summer of 1998. Consider the following scenario: The attitude that NATO could bomb Kosovo without UN authorization was born that summer, when American and British diplomats realized that Russia would veto any UN resolution that contained language authorizing the bombing. The hardening of that attitude was reinforced by the decision to authorize NATO Headquarters to begin planning of a bombing campaign. It was reinforced further by the bombing threats made in October. The hardening attitude is also evident in the unacceptable demands in Annex B of the Rambouillet "Accord" as well as in the intelligence appreciations that Milosevic would back down after a few days of cosmetic bombing [Comment #318].
One could speculate, therefore, that one lesson of this war was that operant conditioning took place over the time period between June 1998 and March 1999. This conditioning created a political blind spot that made it psychologically difficult, if not impossible, for decision makers to back away from bombing Serbia after it rejected Rambouillet, notwithstanding a possible Serbian overture toward a compromise. Then, the plan backfired when Slobo did not cave in to pressure of bombing as predicted, but chose instead to launch a massive ethnic cleansing counter offensive. Slobo’s early successes put the very existence of NATO at risk and backed NATO into a corner [see Comment #s 252 & 269]. NATO, an alliance of 780 million, on the verge of its 50th anniversary, could not afford to be humiliated by losing a war to Serbia, an impoverished country of only 10 million people with an economy only two-thirds the size of that in Fairfax County, Virginia. So, NATO had to escalate, but it needed an excuse to justify a brutal bombing campaign against civilian targets in Serbia that went far beyond what pre-war planners anticipated and what politicians had prepared their populations to accept. The massive expulsions, the obvious brutality, a large number of murderous atrocities, and the horrendous conditions of the refugee camps destabilizing Macedonia and Albania, together with the CNN effect, handed NATO a propaganda club to was too good not to use, and so exaggerated claims taking the form of the of genocide were a natural evolution for decision makers trying to dig themselves out of a hole.
Hypothetical … To be sure. Ridiculous … perhaps, but no more so than Ignatieff’s lessons of 1998.
The hypothetical scenario described above is intended to show why a serious effort to answer question of genocide is central to understanding and making a judgment about the origins as well as the conduct and outcome of the Serbo-NATO War.
A decision to go to war is the most serious decision any nation’s government can make, and accountability for that a decision must be the top priority for a representative democracy. The citizens of a representative democracy have a right, indeed a moral obligation, to demand a full accounting after the fact; otherwise the concept of representative government becomes a sham and the moral ideal of the rule of law based on a Constitution becomes a farce, a tragedy, or both, to paraphrase Mr. Madison.
Mr. Ignatieff demonstrated that he is highly skilled at entertaining unsubstantiated possibilities. He would be well advised to apply that same skill to his assessment of the motives of those he disagrees with. Included among these possibilities would be the idea that at least some of these "revisionists" are decent citizens and patriots who concerned about accountability, the Constitution, the rule of law, the UN Charter, and the Geneva Conventions.
My next message will provide a list of "revisionist" literature so interested readers can draw their own conclusion about why these people are saying what they are saying.
[Disclaimer: In accordance with 17 U.S.C. 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.]
[ Reference #3]------------------
UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)
UN war crimes prosecutor reports 2,108 bodies exhumed from gravesites in Kosovo.
NOVEMBER 10 -- Investigators have exhumed 2,108 bodies from gravesites in Kosovo, the newly appointed Prosecutor for the UN Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, Ms. Carla Del Ponte said today in New York.
She told the UN Security Council that this figure did not necessarily reflect the total number of actual victims from the sites so far investigated because there was evidence of tampering with graves. There were also a significant number of sites where the precise number of bodies could not be counted.
In the sites that were examined, "steps were taken to hide the evidence" and "many bodies have been burned", Ms. Del Ponte said.
After five months of investigation by forensic specialists from 14 countries, the Tribunal has received reports of 11,334 bodies in 529 gravesites, including sites where bodies were found exposed. Approximately 195 of those sites have been examined to date.
Ms. Del Ponte also stressed the importance of the Council's support for the Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda "The effectiveness and strength of international criminal justice ultimately lies in your hands," she told the Council. "I therefore urge the Council to put its full weight behind our efforts when we ask for your assistance, and to be creative in finding ways to bring to bear the sort of pressure that will produce results."
Citing Yugoslavia's "total defiance" in surrendering indicted accused persons, Ms. Del Ponte said she feared Serbia was becoming a safe haven for indicted war criminals who have been accused of serious crimes in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo. "This situation cannot be allowed to continue," she said.
New York Times
November 17, 1999
Letter to Editor
Pentagon On Kosovo
To the Editor: Articles about international efforts to determine the death toll in Kosovo frequently report that Defense Secretary William S. Cohen said that as many as 100,000 Kosovar Albanian men might have been killed ("Early Count Hints at Fewer Kosovo Deaths," news article, Nov. 11).
In an appearance on the CBS News program "Face the Nation" on May 16, Mr. Cohen mentioned reports that 100,000 military-age men were missing. When asked if they might have been killed, Mr. Cohen did not discount the possibility, but he also cited reports that a lower number -- as many as 4,600 -- had been killed.
While conceding that the number might be "far higher," Mr. Cohen did not mean to suggest that it was as high as 100,000.
Kenneth H. Bacon, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs, Washington, Nov. 15, 1999