Rebuttal to Nathan

Brett Knowlton brettk at
Fri Mar 17 08:39:06 PST 2000


The main point is not whether or not NATO officially estimated 100,000 dead Albanians or not. The point is NATO, or at least the US which was running the show, encouraged wild speculation on the POSSIBLE crimes of Milo. I remember reading articles about all the missing Albanian men, and the unmistakeable implication was that something horrible was happening to them (hauled off to concentration camps, executed, etc.).

The reason for this is clear - create an image in the public consciousness that Milosevic is a genocidal maniac (there was also plenty of column space devoted to how evil Milosevic was/is) who is responsible for outrageous crimes in order to whip up and maintain public support for the bombing.

It worked too. While you may or may not have been immune to this sleight of hand, most people were not. I remember arguing with my parents and aunts and uncles over this issue. THEY were convinced that Milosevic was committing genocide, and their support for this claim were the media reports. They believed there were at least tens of thousands of dead Albanians. They were completely snowed.

In fact they basically regurgitated whatever Clinton had said the night before. They had zero background information on the region and therefore no comprehension of the historical context of the conflict, they didn't even know the KLA had been waging a terrorist campaign against Serb police.

According to them, the Serb crackdown materialized out of thin air (more evidence that Milo is simply evil incarnate). We didn't try to reach a diplomatic settlement because, well, there's no dealing with a man like Milo (forget the fact that the US considered him the guarantor of the Bosnian settlement).

Apart from bringing home just how effective propaganda can be, this illustrates that the official NATO estimate is not important. The crucial point is the climate that NATO and US spokesmen created in the media, which was aimed at painting Milo as a genocidal monster in order to maintain public support for the bombing campaign.


>Again, you distort the facts. NATO made no estimates of 100,000 deaths.
>They continued to estimate that deaths were, as of April 19th, only 3200
>dead. Some officials, notably David Scheffer, the US ambassor for war
>crimes, said on that date, "We have upwards of 100,000 men that we cannot
>account for," in Kosovo, the US ambassador-at-large for war crimes, David
>Scheffer, told Fox News Sunday. As Agence France-Presse reported, "He said
>that NATO estimates of some 3,200 deaths in Kosovo were "very low.""
>You continue to falsely claim that NATO along with all supporters of the war
>were claiming 100,000 deaths. No doubt some like Scheffer stated a worry
>about the possibility, but it is flat distortion to keep claiming that NATO
>was basing its intervention on such numbers.
>By your logic, the most extreme pro-Serb statements reflect the whole
>antiwar movement.
>Find one sentence anywhere where NATO made an estimate anywhere in the range
>of 100,000, or quit repeating this distortion.
>-- Nathan Newman

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