Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Proportionality & Hypocrisy: NATO in Kosovo vs. IDF in Gaza

NATO bombing Kosovo

Martin Sherman
26 January '10

"There is always a cost to defeat an evil. It never comes free, unfortunately. But the cost of failure to defeat a great evil is far higher."
-Jamie Shea, NATO Spokesman on BBC News, May 31, 1999

The international furor over the Goldstone Report and the ongoing censure of Israel over its conduct of "Operation Cast Lead" refuses to die down, even against the backdrop of the country's remarkable humanitarian efforts in earthquake-stricken Haiti. It is this unending maelstrom of condemnation that imparts particular pertinence to the words with which the official NATO representative chose to respond to criticism regarding the numerous civilian casualties incurred by the alliance's frequent air attacks during the war in Kosovo between March and June 1999.

Shea insisted NATO planes bombed only "legitimate designated military targets" and if civilians had died it was because NATO had been forced into military action. Adamant that "we try to do our utmost to ensure that if there are civilians around we do not attack," he emphasized that "NATO does not target civilians...let's be perfectly clear about that."

Hundreds of civilians were killed by a NATO air campaign, however, code named "Operation Allied Force"-which hit residential neighborhoods, old-aged sanitariums, hospitals, open markets, columns of fleeing refugees, civilian buses and trains on bridges, and even a foreign embassy. (See Table for summary of some of the undisputed major incidents.)

(Read full report)

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