Rebuttal to Nathan

Nathan Newman nathan.newman at
Thu Mar 16 14:41:41 PST 2000

>On Behalf Of Seth Ackerman
> Thus, the "500,000 missing Albanian men" ploy. The advantage of "missing"
> victims--rather than dead ones--is that you can always "find" them later.

> (WSJ 12/31/99: "We were all hamstrung," a NATO official
> says. As the war dragged on, he says, NATO saw a fatigued press corps
> drifting toward the contrarian story: civilians killed by NATO's
> bombs. NATO stepped up its claims about Serb "killing fields.")
>And it worked. The front pages of every newspaper carried the 500,000
> figure, along with grim pictures of huddled refugees.

I am not going to play the numbers game or rehash the arguments over the war, but the above figures and story conflates the number of refugees with the numbers of estimated killed. Again, you illustrate my point that opponents of the war continue to inflate the numbers estimated killed by supporters of the war. Now you are claiming that anyone even hinted that 500,000 people were killed; a few officials said it might go as high as 100,000, even as NATO officially kept the estimates at 10,000.

The 500,000 figure is the number of refugees (which grew) and it is completely accurate by every report, during the war and afterwards. And as Doug notes in his repost from last year, that was all I mentioned at the time, referring not to mass murder but to "cultural genocide" through depriving people of their whole country.

And as I said then and say now, the speed and coordination with which the ethnic expulsions were done shows that Milosevic had to have put in place plans to do it, showing absolute lack of good faith in any negotiations. I don't buy that anyone goes from seriously negotiating autonomy for a country to full-scale ethnic clensing. Those are not the kind of modal choices held in serious negotiations.

As for tarring anti-interventionists with one brush, I never did so. I always argued that there were grounds for people of good faith to oppose the NATO intervention (not that the opponents usually granted the same to those of us who supported it). What I objected to was no the opposition to the war but the continual downplaying of Kosovar deaths and oppression, which you continued to do in your post.

-- Nathan Newman

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