Within weeks of the end of NATO’s 78-day bombing campaign against
Yugoslavia last June, reports began to circulate questioning the
authenticity of the U.S. and NATO “body count” of military hardware
supposedly destroyed by high-tech fighters and bombers of the combined
western air forces.
To an American public used to being spoon-fed any manner of drivel
from “official” government sources, including the Defense Department, it
was clear who “won” in Kosovo just by the “after-action” report given to
us by none other than those who embarked on this fiasco in the first
According to a
Newsweek report on Monday, Defense Secretary William Cohen declared, “We severely crippled the [Serb] military forces in Kosovo by destroying more than 50 percent of the artillery and one third of the armored vehicles.” Displaying colorful charts, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Henry Shelton claimed that NATO’s air forces had killed “around 120 tanks,” “about 220 armored personnel carriers” and “up to 450 artillery and mortar pieces.”
However, military investigators ordered into Kosovo to examine the real damage done by NATO forces bore far less fruit: 14 tanks, not 120, were destroyed; 18 armored personnel carriers, not 220; 20 artillery pieces, not 450. Out of the 744 “confirmed” strikes by NATO pilots during the war, the Air Force investigators, who spent weeks combing Kosovo by helicopter and by foot, found evidence of just 58, Newsweek said.
It was nice of Newsweek to finally catch-up. About a year ago, in July — just a month after the bombs stopped falling –
Hackworth wrote in the pages of WND that the numbers being presented by NATO and U.S. flaks and hacks were dismally over-inflated.
The most obvious problem with the Kosovo bombing campaign was noted early on by guys like “Hack” who said that you cannot reasonably expect to destroy an enemy just by using guided bombs and jet fighters lobbing munitions from 15,000 feet up. As it turns out — again — they were exactly right.
But I’m confused. You see, I foolishly believed that all of our “perfumed princes” (the higher-ups in the Pentagon, as Hack calls them) knew about the kinds of military tactics our foe (Yugoslavia) would use against us. Obviously not.
What all of our “well-trained” and “militarily superior” generals, admirals and civilian “military experts” forgot about when planning this whole fiasco was the fact that Yugoslavian forces had been trained in low-tech Soviet military tactics — tactics the Serbs ultimately used very well.
The tactics Serbian forces used — mock-up tanks, fake bridges, phony artillery pieces — is exactly how the Soviets have trained their ground forces to conceal valuable ground assets when confronted by a technologically superior enemy such as NATO and the United States.
And, boy, did we fall for it. It almost physically hurts me to hear guys like Gen. Wesley Clark and Gen. Hugh Shelton make the excuses they’re making to explain away these major numerical discrepancies.
When asked how many Serb military and artillery pieces were struck during the combat, the best Clark can come up with is, “Enough.” Shelton, along with Secretary Cohen, can’t even come up with that; they’re busy trying to bury the results of the latest on-the-ground fact finding mission to Kosovo, where lots of craters have turned up but no burned-out tanks, armored personnel carriers or artillery pieces. No mass Serb army graves either.
Oh, man, the things arrogance and smugness make you say and do when you get your assets whipped in what should have been anything but a fair fight.
You know, for eons American military planners studied Soviet military tactics to the letter. They knew them inside and out; they knew where the Soviet doctrine was strong, where it was weak, how to make the command-and-control structure fail, and where best to strike at the Soviet “beast” should it ever come to blows between “us and them.” As a lowly enlisted guy, I learned these tactics from military instructors and tacticians who obviously knew them well.
And, yet, as we went to war against a former Soviet client state, our arrogant and hubristic leaders in and out of the military completely forgot everything they’d ever learned about Soviet “bait-and-switch” tactics. Others who remembered and advocated an “all out” war against Yugoslavia — if we were going to fight them at all — had the right idea because it’s harder to conceal real tanks with fake ones when the enemy is on the ground watching you build the phonies.
This administration has so destroyed the integrity of every once-honorable government profession that even the military these days uses Clintonian lies to obfuscate, lie about mistakes, and avoid admitting they have ever done a damned thing wrong.
But, as usual, taxpayers are supposed to either forget about having had to pay for these blunders or just not consider them at all when the Defense Department comes a-callin’ for more dough for next year’s budget. Amazing.
What’s worse, we couldn’t seem to hit a real Serbian tank in Kosovo to save our souls, but we could sure lob a couple of cruise missiles through the windows of the Chinese embassy. No wonder Beijing thinks we’re lying our mouths off: we are.
Where are Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Gen. George S. Patton and Gen. Omar Bradley when you need them?
Well, heck! Maybe this besting of our “high tech military” is exactly what the American people and key congressional leaders needed to jolt us out of our belief that we have somehow “evolved” into fighting wars with video screens, whiz-bang “smart” munitions and anything but good old blood and guts.
Obviously — in this new “high tech” military age — we’re nowhere near as “invincible” as many of us would like to believe. Instead, we appear to be as vulnerable as we ever were.
Maybe this dose of reality will condition us to more thoroughly question our leaders in the future as to why they really want to bomb some third-world toilet — or even some first-rate country — in the first place.
Chances are, if hard pressed, these idiots won’t be able to come up with a good reason other than because “it’s the right thing to do.” Says who?
If, God forbid, war is our only option, then let’s do it right the next time. Meanwhile, let’s stop looking for countries like Bosnia and Kosovo to beat-up on. We’re not very good at that anyway.