strategy executed by the United States (U.S.) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) met the criterions for a just war as defined below. Both the U.S. And NATO did not fight this war in order to overthrow the Yugoslavian government nor to give the Kosovo Albanians a country of their own. Rather, the war was fought to stop the needless ethnic violence against the Albanians living in Kosovo and allow the return of all refugees, and that is just what both the U.S. And NATO did during this military operation. The U.S. And NATO had no intention of any major military operation, they only wished to use the minium force required in order to achieve their stated goals. This paper examines the strategy formulation, coordination, and execution, that lead to NATO's war to save Kosovo. How the U.S. And NATO reached their goal could not be described as perfectly executed, or even well thought out. In the end, when the dust settled, "the alliance was able to reverse most of the damage" (W.U., p. 4)
that Serbia had caused during the early stages of the war. In fact, practically every one of the 1.3 million ethnic Albanians who were pushed out of their own homes and land returned to their communities a few weeks after the war was concluded. So both the U.S. And NATO were justified in their reason for taking military action.
This paper examines the strategy formulation, coordination, and execution, that lead to NATO's war to save Kosovo. How the U.S. And NATO reached their goal could not be described as perfectly executed, or even well thought out. In the end, when the dust settled, "the alliance was able to reverse most of the damage" (W.U., p. 4) that Serbia had caused during the early stages of the war. In fact, practically every one of the 1.3 million ethnic Albanians who were pushed out of their own homes and land returned to their communities a few weeks after the war was concluded. So both the U.S. And NATO were justified in their reason for taking military action.
Just War Theory
Eshtain ( 2000) outlines a procedure for determining whether an armed conflict is a just war. The first part of the just war framework is devoted to determining whether or not a resort to war-or intervention-is justified. War, for example, should be fought only for a justifiable cause of substantial importance. The primary just cause in an era of nations and states is a nation's response to direct aggression. Protecting citizens from harm is a fundamental norm, and it scarcely counts as protection if no response is made when one's fellow citizens and women are being slaughtered, hounded, routed from their homes, and the like.
But there are other justified occasions for war. Aggression need not be directed against one's own to trigger the just war defense. The offense of aggression may be committed against a nation or a people incapable of defending itself against a determined adversary. If one can intervene to assist the injured party, one is justified in doing so, provided that other considerations are met. From St. Augustine on, saving "the innocent from certain harm" has been recognized as a justifiable cause -- the innocent being those who are in no position to defend themselves. The reference is not to any presumption of moral innocence on the part of victims; nobody is innocent in the classic just war framework in that sense. In our time, this saving of the innocent is usually referred to as humanitarian intervention.
This does not mean, of course, that any one nation or even a group of nations can or should respond to every instance of violation of the innocent, including the most horrific of all violations, ethnic cleansing. The just war tradition adds a cautionary note about overreach. Be certain before you intervene, even in a just cause, that you have a reasonable chance of success. Do not barge in and make a bad situation worse. Considerations such as these take us to the heart of the so-called in bello rules. These are restraints on the means to be deployed even in a just cause. Means must be proportionate to ends. The damage must not be greater than the offenses one aims to halt. Above all, noncombatant immunity must be protected. Noncombatants historically have been women, children, the aged and infirm, all unarmed persons going about their daily lives, as well as prisoners of war who have been disarmed by definition.
Knowingly placing noncombatants in jeopardy, knowingly putting in place strategies that bring greatest suffering and harm to noncombatants rather than to combatants, is unacceptable on just war grounds. Better by far to risk the lives of one's own combatants than the lives of enemy noncombatants. Just war thinking also insists that war aims be made clear, that criteria for what is to count as success in achieving those aims be publicly articulated, and that negotiated settlement never be ruled out of court by fiat. The ultimate goal of just war is a peace that achieves a greater measure of justice than that which characterized the ante-bellum period.
Historical Background of the Kosovo Conflict
Yugoslavia was created after World War II by the Allies at the treaty of Paris. The component nations of could not be farther apart in racial origin, psyche, temperament, culture, language, religion, philosophy of life. Before it began to splinter apart by default of cohesion, Yugoslavia held together by raw force several nations of six races: five variants of Slavs (Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Bosnians, Montenegrins, Bulgars), neo-Latins (Italians), Germanics (Swabs), Hungarians, Greeks and Albanians, all shackled into the confines of one stiff, unaccommodating state. One million Albanians of mainly Muslim (Sunni) religion, mixed with their own brand of Christianity, constitute 90% of the population in Kosovo province, adjacent to Albania.
In 1989, Milosevic "stripped Kosovo of its autonomy" (W.U. p. 8) in an effort to take away any political or geographical power that Kosovo had enjoyed as part of the Yugoslav Federation. In the same year, in response to Milosevic's actions, the Albanians established parallel state structures to officially go head-to-head with the Serb power grab, an idea of pacifist leader Ibrahim Rugova and the Democratic League of Kosovo (DLK).
NATO intervention in Kosovo
The American administrations of both George Bush Senior and Bill Clinton vowed that the United States would become militarily involved in Kosovo if Milosevic actually carried out a "violent crackdown" (W.U., p. 9) against the ethnic Albanians. In 1992, Bush noted, " ... In the event of conflict in Kosovo caused by Serbian action, the United States will be prepared to employ military force against the Serbs in Kosovo and in Serbia proper." In 1993, Clinton's administration re-stated a similar threat, noting that the concern of the U.S. And Western allies was not self-determination for Kosovo, but the protection of human rights of ethnic Albanians.
On 12 June 1998, the North Atlantic Council began looking at action that might have to be taken in order to stabilize the deteriorating situation in Kosovo. With events in Kosovo getting worse, on 13 Oct 1998 NATO authorized activation orders for air strikes. This move was designed to support diplomatic efforts to make the Milosevic government withdraw forces from Kosovo, cooperate in bringing an end to the violence and facilitate the return of Albanian refuges to their homes. At the last moment, following further diplomatic initiatives including visits to the Yugoslavian capital by both NATO and U.S. diplomatic envoys President Milosevic agreed to comply and the air strikes were called off. The UN passed Resolution 1199 which expressed deep concerns about the excessive use of force by the Yugoslavian military and police forces, and called for a cease-fire by all parties involved in the hostilities. This resolution helped bring about negotiations that called for a limit on the number of Yugoslavian military and police forces in Kosovo, and limiting their action in the region. It was also agreed through negotiations that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) would maintain an unarmed Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) to observe compliance as to the use of force and placement of both military and policy forces in Kosovo. Both NATO and the U.S. then went to the UN Security Council to have resolution 1203 passed. This gave UN backing for the placement of the OSCE mission in Kosovo. NATO and the U.S. recruited several non-NATO countries to contribute forces in order to ensure unbiased verification. NATO then established a special military task force to evacuate this mission if renewed conflicts would endanger the safety of the force.
As Milosevic continued his repressive policies toward ethnic Albanians, NATO considered a series of options, including putting political pressure on Milosevic, military action that included ground forces, and strictly air power actions. In August, after Milosevic's forces pushed 100,000 Kosovars from their homes, the UN finally passed a resolution demanding Milosevic cease his actions…