Davida Kellogg

Department of Military Science

114 Armory

University of Maine

Orono ME 04469

207-866-2269 (home)

207-581-2194 (Geology) or 207-581-1121 (Military Science)

e-mail: tomk@iceage.umeqs.maine.edu

“For happily the government of the United States which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”— George Washington


In an earlier paper,1 I traced the genesis of the three foundational principles of the American military — civilian supremacy, just war tradition, and an absolutist rather than realist conception of military ethics — to its first Commander-in-Chief. The value of this moral legacy of George Washington’s is inestimable, for it is what makes it possible for us to pursue our Clausewitzian national aims with honor. But throughout our history, the civilian sector has repeatedly undermined the moral authority of our national policy through its failure to assume fully conscious and conscientious responsibility for the moral duties inherent in its consititutional right to control of the military. This psychological distancing of ourselves from responsibility for the instrument of our national power is expressed variously: in our irrational mistrust of the military, in our failure to educate ourselves and our children for the ethical exercise of our right to its control, and in our disinclination to discharge the duty implied in civilian control to intervene militarily in world events when such action is morally imperative. Each of these attitudes has been instrumental in our historical tendency to delay committing troops, as in WWII, until events forced us to take sides, when moral considerations would have enjoined us to an early and decisive intervention.2 In this paper, I examine their role in shaping the prevailing morally bankrupt American public opinion on the recent humanitarian crisis in Kosovo.


When Robert Heinlein imagined a nascent Republic of the Moon, the flag he devised for it bore the acronym “TANSTAAFL” for “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.”3 Much the same sentiment, if more grammatically phrased, went into the framing of our own

Constitution, especially the amendments collectively known as the Bill of Rights. We are granted unprecedented freedoms quid pro quo for the fulfillment of certain reciprocal duties that secure the same freedoms to all other citizens. In the case of the much-debated second amendment, for instance, the right to keep privately owned firearms is intrinsically tied to our readiness to take up those arms in the service of the nation. Even more so than these everyday privileges of ordinary citizenship to freedom of speech, association, and religious exercise etc., what we think of as our constitutional “right” to control of the military is actually a set of related charges to the civilian sector through our elected representatives in Congress,4 wrapped in the “power” to fulfill them for our common defense and other morally compelling purposes. In as much as Congress is necessarily a civilian body,5 these powers to raise, equip, and support our national armed forces, and the onerous burden of deciding which circumstances merit our sending them to war, devolve upon civilian shoulders. And bear them we must. Since the benefits of a common defense accrue to all, the Consititution, quite fairly I think, makes no provision for opting out of civilian responsibilites for it, no matter how conflicted we may feel about fulfilling them.

This conflict is reflected in a telling discrepancy between the educations we prescribe for military officers and cadets, and for the rest of us, with whom responsibility for them and their ethical employment ultimately lies. On the one hand, we require our cadets and officers to undergo a rigorous continuing education in military history, ethics, and law of war as a condition of service. These requirements stand even at a state university like my own, where individual colleges within the university may deny credit for many nationally prescribed ROTC courses, although the university assesses full tuition for them. Moreover, they may not be waived, even when cadets are impeded from fulfilling them by short-sighted civilian imposition of exceptional academic and financial burdens. On the other hand, we make no formal provisions specifically for the ethical education of our cadets’ civilian counterparts as aprerequisite for assuming civilian control with the exercise of their franchise at age eighteen, although one may well argue that that, and not 20th century social considerations, is the true and original purpose for the establishment of our very expensive system of universal education. While all university catalogs list political science and history courses which may (or may not) touch on issues of ethics in relation to our conduct of warfare, these are not universally required for graduation.6 The result is that, even among the most educated members of the civilian sector, few have any idea of how they might go about exercising control over the military more enlightened than the sentiment expressed on a popular bumper sticker that “it will be a great day when our public schools receive all the government funding they request and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a new bomber.” To embrace such dumbed-down “pop” philosophy is to indulge in the childlike magical thinking that, if only we shut our eyes and bury our heads under the blankets, the imaginary monsters under the bed will leave us alone. But the monsters are real, as the bodies of their victims attest.7 And as the failure of diplomacy to get them to cease their genocidal ethnic warfare against their neighbors demonstrates, they are not about to go away unless they are forced to.8 The naive notion that the most moral exercise of our right to oversee the employment of our armed forces would be to starve the single most powerful instrument in the world for countering aggression and atrocity into impotence has no basis in past, or present geopolitical reality.9

The tendency of the American public to hide from itsresponsibility for the judicious employment of our armed forces under the bedclothes of a policy of non-involvement was already a prominent component of our emerging national character even before we were a nation. As a young soldier during the French and Indian War, George Washington, the author of civilian supremacy, had some bitter, if impolitic, words to say about “Chimney Corner Politicians” who had “bowed to the people’s insistence on putting their personal freedom ahead of the order and regimentation essential to choke off the Franco-Indian peril.”10 The legend on the face of the first coins struck for the Continental Congress was not the lofty “IN GOD WE TRUST” with which we are familiar, but Benjamin Franklin’s homely advice to “MIND YOUR BUSINESS.” This sentiment has colored public opinion on American involvement in each of our major conflicts since the the War for Independence. In the 1960s, it took on a distinctly moralistic tone. This tone is still echoed in the passionate condemnation of our involvement in the Vietnam Conflict as the “protracted rape of a nation,” a “genocidal enterprise” of “extreme criminality,”11 without reference to the Law of War or recourse to rational argumentation.

The current Zeitgeist of cultural relativism, a socio-anthropological mutation of the “do your own thing” mentality, makes an even greater wrong out of intervening militarily in foreign conflicts: not only is it morally suspect according to relativist lights, but rude and insensitive as well. But in cases where “ethnic cleansing” is the cassus belli, to argue in favor of non-intervention is not value-neutral, but an act of the gravest moral consequence. And because the stakes are so high — the lives of innocent men, women, and children — in moral decisions of this weight, the criteria used must be rational ones. Emotions, as Sun Tzu cautioned 500 years before Christ,12 are too volatile, public opinion too easily influenced, to provide sound moral reason for going to war. Neither, I would add, do they provide sound moral justification for abstaining from it. At best, like Washington in the quote with which I prefaced this paper, our emotions remind us of the moral purposes for which we have been given control over the instrument of our national power. At worst, they help us gin up high-sounding excuses to cover the sort of venal or apathetic responses to atrocity and genocide,13 which Washington considered unworthy of American citizens.

Because it is exercised primarily through individual secret ballot, civilian control places ultimate responsibility for America’s decisions with regard to war on the individual voter, whether or not he chooses even to cast his ballot at all. Given the weight of such responsibility, it is no wonder that so many of us should seek to pass it along up the chain of command like the proverbial “hot potato.” If Vietnam was “immoral and illegal” in our eyes, that was the fault of “The Government” and some mysterious “Military-Industrial Complex,” in the machinations of which we claimed to have had no hand.14 In the words of editorial writers and my neighbor, echoing Rep. Tom DeLay, our recent military intervention in Kosovo has been “Clinton’s War.”15 Even a former Secretary of Defense, whose role in shaping this nation’s conduct of the Vietnam Conflict was orders of magnitude greater than that of the ordinary voter, has been decades too slow to acknowledge his personal responsibility in the decision to continue what he now tells us he himself considered a wrongful employment of American forces that claimed over 58,000 American soldier lives, and an unknown number of Vietnamese.16 In May of this year, a resolution sponsored by Senators McCain and Biden that Congress authorize the President to use “all necessary force” in Kosovo was blocked by both the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, thus “providing cover for “their members who,” according to columnist David Broder,did not want to take responsibility for a ground war with its inevitable casualties” and “enabling a commander-in-chief who [did] not want to prepare the country for the possibility that a sanitized low-casualty air campaign may not be enough to achieve his ambitious humanitarian and strategic goals.”17

I suspect that underlying this uneasiness with civilian control is a subconscious but disturbing inkling that conscious and conscientious exercise of our personal rights and obligations with regard to our military may to some as yet unfathomed extent blur our status as “innocents” in a moral, if not a legal, sense. This is a deeply troubling proposition, for it opens the question of partial innocence and fractional immunity from targeting. I would argue, nevertheless, that it is at least a reasonable proposition that the universally educated and enfranchised citizens of a Republic, with an indirect but clearly demonstrable Constitutional charge for the oversight of their national military, may be rather more morally answerable for its employment than, say, illiterate 18th century European peasants would have been for the employment of the personal foreign mercenary armies of their absolute monarchs. The difference in moral accountability of these two citizenries for their countries’ military adventures resides in their relative knowledge and power to participate in the shaping of national military policy.

One could argue that, in our case, our unprecedented accountability is mitigated to some degree by the fact that there is no Constitutional provision for opting out of the responsibilities inherent in civilian control, either individually or corporately. But even if such an amendment were to be put to the ballot, we are far too jealous of anything we consider our “right,” and so mistrustful historically of power,18 ever to relinquish our control of the military. Because the moral and physical consequences of holding such power may be as grave, or graver than I suspect, it’s exercise requires an electorate that is capable of making “responsible judgments based on relevant [ethical and legal] principles”19 as to when and over which issues to go to war, and how to fight it. Although there are no philosophical algorithms that can be applied with anything like mathematical precision to these questions, we are heirs to thousands of years of Just War Tradition that “provides some guidelines for when nations may resort to arms and how,”20 and forms the basis for an International Law of War. Use of these guidelines requires that we apply rational thought processes to a fairly sophisticated knowledge of the realities of modern warfare. Instead, we affect a willful ignorance towards all things military, and ,at the same time, profess enough knowledge of Just War Theory and Law of War to condemn almost all U.S. military intervention as “immoral” and “illegal,” in a transparent effort to maintain the pretext of isolationist “innocence.” But by trying to have it both ways, like the Congressman in a recent first amendment ruling who, while he hastened to assure the American public that he personally “didn’t know much about obscenity” wished us to paradoxically believe that he “knew it when he saw it,” we demonstrate only the poverty of our reasoning and our knowledge. Like the Honorable “know-nothing” in my example, we do not deign to know much about what constitutes just war, but we assure each other and ourselves that we’d fight one when, and if, we ever see one pure enough to suit our sensibilities.The tragedy of it is that, after all our impassioned rhetoric about the “injustice” of the Vietnam Conflict and the venality of our supposed economic motives for the Gulf War, when we were confronted with “the first war that was ever fought almost solely to stop human rights abuses in another country,”21 what we mostly did was make up more high-sounding excuses for not supporting it.


In my informal survey of American public opinion in the media, allegations of “illegality and “immorality” topped the list of reasons given for the prevailing civilian attitude of non-support for our participation in NATO intervention in Kosovo. Rather atypically, these came from both ends of the political spectrum. Regardless of their provenance, they have been for the most part poorly reasoned, and revealed a part of both the Liberal and the Conservative mentalities that is disturbingly mean-spirited.

Because it touches on so many of the so-called “moral” objections that have been raised to our military involvement in Kosovo, I would like to offer up for consideration a fairly typical editorial which appeared in my local newspaper on July 10 of this year22 (see also reference 23):

“I did not display my beloved American flag [on July 4]... Apathy and depression have replaced pride in being an American citizen. How could it be otherwise — living under the Clinton administration, which honors our Constitution and laws more in the breach than in the observance. Silently these wrongdoings are regularly condoned by our elected deputies in the Congress.

“Our second Balkan foreign policy failure is continuing unabated and unresolved. How many of these costly and illegal military interventions in pursuit of democracy and human rights will the American people tolerate? Covering these do-good adventures under the mantle of the United Nations and NATO fools no one. Both the Serbs and Kosovor [sic] Albanians are worse off than before NATO’s bombardments. Their lives, property, and infrastructure have been destroyed. Human rights remain in jeopardy and no political solutions obtained.

“So, where do American vital interests justify these impromptu military excursions? What are we trying to pre-empt? World War III? These affairs are more likely to precipitate it. The law of unintended consequences has not been repealed. Clinton’s spin-doctors are working overtime trying to convert failure into success. Likewise some NATO generals, bucking for promotion.

...“It is hard to understand how even the most partisan Democrats in Congress can turn a blind eye to he unprecedented corruption, immorality, and incompetency of William Clinton and his administration.”

Liberal editorialists argued many of the same points from their perspective 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, and 29.

Objections may be divided into two broad categories, legal and moral, although given the organic relationship that ideally exists between ethics and the Law in a democratic Republic, there may be considerable overlap.

Legal Arguments

The question of the constitutional legality of our participation in NATO airstrikes on Kosovo is technically, at least, no longer at issue, having been tested and resolved in court. At the end of April, Representative Tom Campbell of California, called for back-to-back votes in the House on two measures — one to demand the withdrawal of American forces from hostilities in the former Yugoslavia, and another to declare war on that fragmenting country. When these measures were both rejected, Campbell and a small group of other Congressmen brought suit against President Clinton in U.S. District Court, charging him with “unconstitutionally continuing an offensive military attack by the U.S. armed forces against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.” Although possible prolonged military involvement in Kosovo was projected, the Commander-in Chief was still well within the letter of the 1973 War Powers Act that requires him to seek congressional approval for the “introduction [of U.S. forces] into hostilities” for more than sixty days at the time that this lawsuit was filed, and had expressed his willingness to discuss the matter with Congress. The prematurity of legal action, and the predominantly Republican makeup of the group of congressmen who brought it, lent an distinct whiff of inappropriate partisan political motivation and personal vendetta against the President30 to the entire proceeding. The case was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Harold Greene on May 1. However suspicious they may be of William Clinton the man, the authors of the above editorial and other ad hominemattacks on the President, are going to have to accept the constitutional legality of his actions as Commander-in-Chief. The pity (and the lesson) in this is how a leader’s personal moral failures can degrade his ability to achieve humanitarian and other public moral goals.

The very existence of a War Powers Act, through which Congress may endorse a sitting president’s deployment of troops overseas, refutes the popular notion that there is some constitutional imperative to avoid all “foreign entanglements,” as some have argued.28

Sea lawyers28 arguing that our involvement in Kosovo violates Article 1 of the NATO Treaty,31 should read at least to Article 5.32 Moreover, recognizing that it “cannot remain a static organization [and ] must adjust to the new security environment,” NATO has begun “adjusting its force structure to meet the new challenges and threats which confront the alliance,” among which are “instabilities in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union; ... national, ethnic and religious conflicts; ... and other threats that may emanate from regions that have traditionally been outside NATO’s area of interest as defined in Article 6.” Among these areas is Albania, which was slated for future membership in the North Atlantic Cooperation Council at the 1991 Summit Meeting in Rome. In any case, authorization of the creation of an Implementation Force (IFOR) in Bosnia “as a means of enforcing the Dayton Peace Accords, designed to bring about an end to the ethnic conflict that had torn that former Yugoslav Republic during the preceeding four years,”33 would appear to have put such missions well within both the letter and the spirit of the Treaty. As for charges that NATO air strikes violate international law, the same provisions of the U.N. Charter intended to prevent and/or punish foreign aggression against a sovereign state could be narrowly construed as prohibiting foreign intervention to prevent and/or punish internally directed aggression by a sovereign nation against ethnic minorities living within its borders. But there are also the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Convention against Genocide. “The latter in particular, states bluntly that there are some crimes so heinous that even sovereignty cannot protect their perpetrators.”34 As to the seeming “innate contradiction between these rules,” the United Nations World Court in the Hague ruled in favor of human rights over those of states on June 2, when it rejected the Yugoslav government’s request for an immediate cease fire on the grounds that they violated its sovereignty.35 

Moral Arguments

Moral arguments against our involvement in Kosovo are either to the effect that we had no just cause for intervening in the first place, or that the means we have employed in that intervention have been unethical. In this, these arguments follow Just War Tradition, which divides its concern between jus ad bellum and jus in bello. But how well do the reasons quoted by the American public in the popular media stand up as ethical arguments in the light of Just War Tradition and Law of War?

Aguments from Passivism

In an earlier paper before JSCOPE,36 I considered extreme passivism at some length, and found that a desire to keep one’s own hands clean of blood does not constitute moral justification for non-intervention in cases of genocide. Briefly stated, what I foundmost objectionable about extreme pacifism, and still do, “is its insistence that innocents make sacrifices of themselves against their will and while the possibility of defending themselves successfully may still exist, especially if other nations can be counted on to unite in a strong U.N.-type constabulary defense of the victim. By ruling out all means of active resistence, extreme pacifism not only serves up the original victim to the aggressor on a silver salver, but invites him to indulge his appetite for any other free peoples who remain, since no disincentives to continued aggression are provided.” To re-name as “aggression” military intervention in defense of the victims of aggression24, 25 is an attempt to efface the distinction between the type and degree of moral burden incurred in committing aggression in the first place and fending such aggression off. This Spring, disgruntled Serbs scrawled Swastikas on the walls of the German and British cultural centers in Belgrade,37 and no less a proponent of human rights than Aleksander Solzhenitsin declared that he saw no difference between NATO’s actions and Hitler’s.38 This essential distinction, however, remains at the core of Just War Theory and Law of War, for there is a great gulf between the doing of good and the doing of evil in warfare, which no amount of double-tongued equivocation can ever paper over.

Diplomatic Arguments

Closely related to arguments from passivism, is the argument that we need to stand aside and “give peace [talks] a chance.” Proponents call for “efforts by the international community and the United Nations to negotiate a settlement which repatriates the refugees in safety, rebuilds their communities, brings the war criminals to justice, and works toward reconciliation of the Serbs and Kosovar Albanians.”27 The problem with this perfectly reasonable sounding solution is that it requires all parties to the peace talks to be reasonable themselves, and this is patently not the case with the Serbian leaderhip. Diplomacy has been tried, repeatedly. “In the months leading up to current Kosovo horror,” Lawrence Wechsler tells us, “Slobodan Milosovic’s hugely influential wife, Mirjana Markovic, steadfastly opposed any negotiated compromise over the province.”38“Most likely, [Milosevic] never negotiated seriously at all,” Michael Ignatieff has speculated.8 Ambassador Christopher Hill, whom Ignatieff described as thinking, “like most post-Vietnam Americans, ... that every alternative to war had to be exhausted, ... believes that it was. In Hill’s eyes, the inducements for Milosevic to settle at last February’s peace negotiations in Rambouillet, in France, were considerable: in return for allowing NATO troops on his soil and a measure of autonomy for Kosovo, Milosevic would retain sovereignty over the province and would see his mortal enemy, the K.L.A. disarmed.” Instead, “at Rambouillet, the Serb delegation played for time, while back in Belgrade Milosevic was positioning his troops for Operation Horseshoe — a decisive semicircular sweep around Kosovo designed to achieve the final solution to his ‘Kosovo problem.’” And as long as Slobodan Milosevic continues his stonewalling and non-compliance, none of the goals set forth in editorials like the one quoted above will ever be met, no matter how many American “old-time peace activists...veterans of the Vietnam War, middle-aged folks who never carried a sign, and young people” turn out for vigils at West Market Square in Bangor ME. Their well-meaning desire to re-route monies earmarked for the military campaign in Kosovo to humanitarian relief for refugees would have removed the only physical guarantee that Milosevic’s campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Kosovar Albanians would not continue under cover of endless fruitless “peace” talks.

Economic Arguments

Other arguments to the effect that we do not have just cause for military intervention in Kosovo include such non-starters as its price tag. That our part in the 78-day NATO campaign against Serbia cost close to $4 billion,39 or any other amount for that matter, is not immoral in and of itself. That we would begrudge this expenditure to interdict the genocide of the Kosovar Albanians, or any other peoples so threatened, is. The isolationist excuse for staying aloof from the conflict in Kosovo, that we have no vital national interest for intervention in the Balkans,22 is truly venal. And in fact, many Americans viewed our last foreign conflict with somewhat jaundiced eyes becausethey suspected that securing U.S. access to Middle Eastern oil was our only true object in fighting the Gulf War. Though unjustifiably cynical, their concern was well-founded in as much as economic considerations do not constitute just cause for war according to Just War Tradition. The liberal economic argument off the bumper sticker that tax monies spent on the NATO campaign could have been better spent on domestic social programs, is at least informed by humanitarian intentions. But, in advocating redistribution of limited funds to “worthier” causes than making war, its proponents have completely missed the salient point that it is not for possession of some “war chest,” but to interdict genocide, that we have been fighting in Kosovo.

Social and Political Arguments

In the isolationist argument that the war in Kosovo was “a civil war, and we should have stayed out of it,”29 the lives of the victims of genocide are reduced to the status of what the science fiction writer and social satirist Douglas Adams called an “S.E.P.,” a “Somebody Else’s Problem,” and thereby rendered conveniently invisible to the rest of us.40 So long as all is well with us, the W.W.II era editorial cartoon by Theodore Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss), in which the Uncle Sam behatted Cat in the Hat sits smugly in the comfort of his home “across the Pond” untroubled by the Blitz over London, we can tolerate any amount of misery coming down on theheads of others.41 Come at from the right, the sovereignty argument is an updated version of the old argument for staying out of W.W.II —that Germany under the Third Reich was a sovereign nation, and Hitler had every right under its jury-rigged laws to do as he liked with “his” Jews. Much breath and ink have been wasted in irrelevant debate over whether the hygienically euphemized “ethnic cleansing” in the former Yugoslavia is or is not another Holocaust, and Milosevic its Hitler, as though there is some threshhold of horrors that must be crossed before atrocity becomes terrible enough to merit our concern. Approached from the left, the sovereignty argument morphs into the cultural relativist cry that it is arrogance for outsiders to presume to interfere in conflicts between ethnic groups of a foreign nation. There is a kind of Star Trek “Prime Directive”laissez-faire to this one, but like its meaner-spirited versions, it too winks at genocide.

It is because the sovereignty argument makes sacrifical lambs of ethnic nationals, who are not formally considered in international law forbidding aggression on other sovereign nations, that I believe the U.N. must reconsider and update its policies on intervention in “civil” wars and wars of liberation. And the sooner the better, for there is East Timor and Tai Wan and a dozen other humanitarian nightmares waiting in the wings of future history, and it matters very much to the parties in these conflicts who ends up in control of the disputed territories. But however contested lands may be disposed of, international law cannot allow genocide to go unchecked under cover of a nation’s sovereign international rights.

Those who argue that, having failed to intervene when black Tutsis were being murdered in Rwanda, it would be racist, not to mention hypocritical of us, to do so on behalf of caucasian Kosovar Albanians would have us compound one sin of omission with another. Perhaps the most oddly reasoned argument I encountered in the course of discussing this paper with colleagues and friends was thatAmerican Jews ought to have demanded a halt to the NATO bombing campaign after an air raid destroyed a bridge which had been a memorial to Yugoslavian Jews massacred during W.W.II, and on Holocaust Memorial Day of all days! I do not see, however, how our failure to intervene in any one instance constitutes a moral justification for doing nothing in any other, or how standing aside for the slaughter of Yugoslavia’s ethnic Albanians could possibly comfort or render justice to the murdered Tutsis and Jews. Morally, non-intervention in cases of genocide is not even neutral; nor is our neglect of victims’ pleas for help benign, but rather tacit approval of their murderers’ actions. To stand by complacently while innocents die, when it is within our power to stop their slaughter, is to add our imprimatur to their death warrents.

Those who would tolerate genocide, like the “good” citizens of Third Reich Germany, forfeit their right to think of themselves, and to be thought of by others, as good people without quotation marks denoting irony around the words. Once lost, a people’s moral reputation is hard-won back. Perhaps that is why so many Serbs have beat a retreat into utter denial of the realities of their recent activities in Kosovo that borders on psychological pathology. There was something unspeakably creepy about the sight of Mirjana Markovic, Milosevic’s wife, and some say the motive force behind his crimes against humanity, staring into the camera with guileless eyes during a recent television interview and insisting that she knew of no Serbian perpetrated genocide in Kosovo, and that she had no idea why the West was attacking Serbia. Milosevic himself, when confronted by a member of Richard Holbrooke’s staff with documentation of his military forces’ complicity with “the most brutal paramilitaries in Bosnia,” turned his back on the incriminating report and walked out of the room without so much as touching it.42 At Rambouillet, “the delegations never actually talked. The Serbs were one floor below the Albanians, singing patriotic songs and carousing into the early hours, ‘they simply did not negotiate at all,’ [editor and political activist Blerim] Shala [told interviewer Michael Ignatieff]. Meanwhile Milosevic, back in Belgrade, had been boasting to everyone he met that all he needed was a few weeks to finish off ‘the terrorists’ ... What negotiation there was took place between the Americans and the Albanians, as Hill and Albright persuaded the Kosvars to defer demands for independence for three years and to disarm their guerrillas ... On the two occasions when Holbrooke went to see Milosevic in March, the Serb leader refused to negotiate and, instead, raged that the Americans were now siding openly with the ‘terrorists.’”And in early August, he “denounced his opponents as ‘the extended hand of evil’ in a Western attempt to undermine Yugoslavia’s stability.”43The bald-faced lying denials, paranoid self-pity, and sheer gall of the Yugoslav “first couple” in the face of growing evidence of Serbian atrocities44 has translated under their stifling control of the media into a culture of petulant, “in-your-face” victimization among their countrymen,45 some of whom insist absurdly that the Albanian refugees debriefed about their experience of Serb war crimes by humanitarian aid workers were actually hired actors. A resident of Belgrade complained of his tribulations in trying to replace a burnt-out kitchen light bulb.46 The director of the Belgrade zoo, outraged at the distress the NATO bombing has caused his precious animals, named a boa constrictor for Madeleine Albright and, in a jab at President Clinton’s taste in women, a baby chimpanzee for Monica Lewinsky. “I don’t understand,” this man told his interviewer, “why everyone hates us Serbs so much.”47 “In Belgrade this week,” observed Lawrence Wechsler in April of this year, “people who couldn’t get over the horror of having to spend a few nights in shelters, seemed defiantly oblivious of the far more gruesome fate being visited upon hundreds of thousands of Kosovars, let alone of their own role in that fate. What was wrong? Why couldn’t everyone see that it was the Serbs alone who were the victims?”38 Most likely, they still just didn’t “get it,” even when fourteen Serbian farmers were killed by returning Albanians outside the town of Gracko, and revenge killings started climbing into the hundreds with no end in sight. I suspect that Serbs would turn to those same foreign interviewers today and demand, “See. We told you those [expletives deleted] Albanians were out to murder us.”

Arguments from History and Biology

The expression of such attitudes lends credence to the fatalistic argument that intervention in the Baltics is in any case “useless and doomed.” The historical argument for nonintervention is based on what David Remnick48 called the portrayal of the Balkans as “a region in which eternal hatreds and immutable national characters are as vicious as they are permanent, a world in which battles of the fourteenth century are still waged at the end of the twentieth and will doubtless rage in the twenty-first.” This argument that down through the ages the peoples of the Balkans have been “conditioned to hate” was eloquently set forth in Robert Kaplan’s Balkan Ghosts,49 which according to Remnick so influenced President Clinton’s early Balkans policy.

Remnick claims, and I am inclined to agree with him, that Kaplan’s “was an essentialist account, a description of unchanging types and patterns [that] also turned out to be a marvellous alibi for inaction.” There are two problems with this argument as alibi, though. The first is that the so-called “history” on which it is based is mythologized out of all recognition. Bearing out the sixth century Greek philosopher Stephen of Byzantium’s dictum that, “Mythology is what never was, but always is,”50 much of Serbian national mythology, including the Battle of Kosovo Polje, to which Serbs date their grievances against the Kosovar Albanians, never happened the way it is presented in Serbian poetry, any more than our own Civil War was fought primarily to free the slaves. “Though Serbian myth and poetry have presented this battle as a cataclysmic defeat in which the flower of Balkan chivalry perished on the field and the Turks swept through the rest of Serbia,” wrote Noel Malcolm in his Bosnia: A Short History,51 “the truth is a little less dramatic.” In fact, “for a while the Serb and Bosnian forces believed that they had won. It was not the battle itself which brought about the fall of Serbia to the Turks, but the fact that while the Serbs had needed all the forces they could muster to hold the Turks to an expensive and temporary draw, the Turks were able to return, year after year, in ever-increasing strength.”

True, this did not stop a Slobodan Milosovic on the make from tapping into nationalist myth by proclaiming to Serbs gathered on the “Field of Blackbirds” outside Pristina for the 600th anniversary of the battle that “no one will ever beat you again,” fanning old resentments of the Albanian majority in Kosovo. But this only serves to point up the truth of Malcolm’s assessment of “the recent disaster in [Bosnia] to be the result not of irremediable blood hatreds but of the brutal political calculations of a thoroughly modern dictator — Slobodan Milosovic.”48 

Balkan bloodlines, for that matter, have not been all that “pure” for centuries. In Sarajevo prior to the Bosnian war, nearly one third of all marriages were mixed.38 As Kaplan himself noted (p. 182), “Nobody I interviewed in Timisoara [Romania] was pure anything. Every person claimed at least one member of another ethnic group as a relative. Many people I interviewed had such diverse parentages that it would be almost impossible to define what they were.” On this point, at least, Malcolm agrees with Kaplan that, “few individuals in the entire Balkan peninsula could honestly claim a racially pure ancestry for themselves.” While he adds that “nowhere is this more true than in Bosnia”(p. 1), even in mostly rural Kosovo, where the number of mixed marriages would be significantly lower than metropolitan Sarajevo, Serbs must share a very substantial proportion of their genetic codes with the Albanian targets of their “ethnic cleansing.” The truth is that we humans share roughly 95% of our genetic material with Chimpanzees, and that, according to Mormon geneologists, we are all related to each other within “six degrees of separation.” Given these facts, it would appear that there isn’t enough genetic difference in the entire human species to justify a “blood” feud between any of us.

The second problem with the historical/biological argument as an excuse for non-intervention in the Balkans is that it isn’t one. Even if all that historians and geneticists have shown to be myth were demonstrably true, it still would not constitute a valid moral reason for our standing aside and condoning the slaughter of innocents in Yugoslavia today.

Arguments Based on Human Costs

Recent advances in weaponry and associated targeting technology have fostered unrealistic expectations among the American public that have made us almost completely intolerant of both taking casualties, and inflicting them through collateral damage, in the course of waging war. Both conservatives23 and liberals26 made dire predictions that the introduction of ground forces into Kosovo would result in a nightly parade of body bags on the News at 6, and, echoing Bismarck’s assessment that “the whole of the Balkans is not worth the healthy bones of a single Pomeranian musketeer,” demanded that we pull out of Kosovo before it turned into “another Vietnam.” After the shabby way we treated our soldiers during the Vietnam era, all this public concern for their welfare is a welcome change of heart, but one that created formidable obstacles for those charged with accomplishing our mission in Kosovo, especially General Wesley Clark, who as SACEUR during the Kosovo campaign was acutely aware that “headlines announcing yet another downed plane would have brought the campaign to a close within days.” Hence, his decision to have bombing missions fly high in order to avoid Serbian anti-aircraft fire, which it was rumored was being called in by cell phone from hillsides outside Aviano Italy, where civilian spotters were listening in on our pilots’ radio transmissions as they took off for Yugoslavia. This decision, in turn, elicited the criticism we were sacrificing accuracy in the discrimination of military targets (and hence civilian lives) for the sake of pilot safety, putting General Clark and his troops ina “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation in which whatever they did would come under “friendly fire” from their own countrymen. To be fair, “in reality, pilots frequently flew below the fifteen thousand-foot ceiling but soon discovered that, ... breaking out below cloud formations in mountainous terrain at five hundred knots, [they] could focus only on staying airborne.” Nor could they take out the Serbian air defence system so long as the Serbs persisted in not activating their radar long enough for our radar seeking missiles to lock in on it.52

Given that it is the function of soldiers to “go in harm’s way,” and that technology can improve but will probably never be able to guarantee their chances of survival, Just War Tradition makes rather more realistic demands for their sake — that governments do not declare wars they have no reasonable chance of winning, and that commanders do not “waste” their troops in forlorn hopes, for instance. Over and above concerns for their safety, there are the core expectations from Just War Tradition that soldiers will be used honorably and in an honorable cause, like Kosciusko’s sword, on which the architect of West Point had engraved, “Draw me not without reason, sheath me not without honor.” This sword is, in my opinion, the single greatest treasure of the museum at West Point because it embodies the twin pillars of Just War Tradition — jus ad bellum and jus in bello. I would submit that, in the Kosovo campaign, we have had both.

Jus ad bellum requires that when the heirs to Just War Tradition fight, they do so in a just cause. In Roman times, the list of causes considered just included such things as retribution; in the Middle Ages, the spread of religion. Over time, the list has been narrowed down until the strictest interpretors of Just War Theory today53 would allow only one — defense in response to aggression. Even by these standards, the cause for which we fought in Kosovo was a just one. It is true that the Kosovar Albanians had been engaging in guerrilla activities in a bid to gain self-determination from the Serbs. And I have argued forcefully that it is precisely because guerrilla warfare indiscriminately brings down destruction on the heads of combatant and civilian alike that it is immoral, and should be declared illegal.54 “Following the adage that a guerrilla swims in the local population like a fish in the sea,” Michael Ignatieff8 observed,Milosevic dealt with the problem “by draining the sea, exposing the guerrillas of the K.L.A., the Kosovo Liberation Army, who were left behind so that they could be finished off.” There is also the vexed question as to whether under international law a sovereign nation can be said to commit “aggression” on members of its own population. Morally, none of these considerations can ever justify the commission of genocide or its toleration by those capable of defending its victims. As Ignatieff8 put it, in view of “the full measure of what [has] happened in the past eight years — more than a quarter of a million people killed, another two million driven from their homes ... only one thought seemed possible. This cannot go on. This must be stopped, Now. By persistent and precise military force.” That is what our forces in Kosovo did.

They did it in spite of the near impossible position in which jus in bello and political pressures placed General Clark — “being asked to wage a war that was clean yet lethal, just yet effective, moral yet ruthless.”52 Tragic errors in the identification of targets were made, most notably those that resulted in the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade and the destruction of a refugee convoy. Although they were trumpeted in the media, there were fewer such mistakes made in the Kosovo conflict than in the Gulf War, widely regarded as having been well fought. And contrary to uninformed public opinion, they constituted violations of neither the principle of proportionality nor the principle of discrimination of the Law of War. Initial bombing was delivered in what has been described as “homeopathic doses”8 and kept well below what could be considered proportional to the genocide they were intended to force an end to.

Though some equated the collateral damage inflicted during the course of NATO bombing raids on Serbian infrastructure with Serbian atrocities, there can be no moral equation between them in terms of human suffering or intentionality. Rhetoric aside, there is a world of moral difference between the pilot whose bomb goes astray because he has been given outdated or mistaken coordinates for a legal target and paramilitary groups deliberately singling out the homes of ethnic Albanian civilians for burning, and the Albanians themselves for mass murder. That difference hinges on the intention (and subsequent actions taken) to discriminate between legal and illegal targets. American strikes were targeted with a concern for the principle of discrimination that is unprecedented in the history of warfare, though the lack of NATO troops on the ground, and our decision not to supplyK.L.A. guerrilla fighters with the communications equipment to function as forward air controllers for our pilots, left them without anyone on the ground to call in air strikes. Honor- and legally bound as they were, they nevertheless accomplished their mission, with a minimum loss of life, and in the space of only 78 days. It is to our shame that, when this nation’s military fought in so just a cause and fought so justly, so many of us good people back home could not bring ourselves to do them the justice of supporting them.

It will be an even greater moral failure if we do not now exploit the moral and Clausewitzian advantages accruing to us through our military success in Kosovo to bring about the trial and conviction of Milosevic and other indicted war criminals for their crimes against humanity. Although we seem to have little to no interest in pursuing these criminals, there are two reasons for playing out this end-game. The first is that it is right and just that the perpetrators of genocide be punished. The second is more practical in nature, and has to do with the foreseeable consequences of the way, ever since Napoleon turned France into a “nation in arms,” increasingly active civilian political and personal participation in warfare55 has progressively eroded the monolithic civilian innocence assumed by Just War Tradition. That civilians resorting to guerrilla warfare or participating in paramilitary groups, for instance, may be said to possess only some fractional degree of that innocence is not only contrary but inimical to Just War Tradition. Since there is no way for the soldier in the field to make such fine judgments as to whom he may shoot, and since there is in any case no such thing as a fractional shot that may be fired at a fractional enemy combatant, once partial civilian status is recognized, Law of War goes out the window and the way is opened to indiscriminate targeting. Morally, this is a downhill road all the way to the sort of nightmare lawless Hobbsian combat of “all against all” that Just War restrictions are meant to forestall. Nevertheless, that civilians have, as in Kosovo, to some extent participated in warfare by joining paramilitary groups which carried out much of the “ethnic cleansing,” or by betraying their ethnic Albanian neighbors to such groups, or by buying into Milosevic’s propaganda that there was no genocide going on thereby relieving themselves of the need to take action to end it, is deeply felt by those who may have recognized the voice of a neighbor coming from under the hood worn by the militiaman who set fire to their homes and killed family members, or have otherwise suffered from civilian participation in warfare. It is because the consequences of victims’ acting on this perception, realistic as it may be, are so terrible that it is vitally important to apprehend and punish those who are most responsible for these war crimes before indiscriminate revenge killings of civilians like those at Gracko become established (and accepted) practice. There is only one way to stop this trade off of genocide for genocide, and that is to do justice fairly, fully, and above all quickly.

I am a teacher of American military history, and a theme that echoes down all 224 years of it is our repeated tactical failure to exploit military breakthroughs when they are made. I am heartened that the Army has recently seen fit to add Exploitation to the nine original Jominian Principles of War. But it is ourselves who would do well to learn to politically exploit our tactical gains, not only to achieve, but to secure our humanitarian aims. At the moment, it would appear that we have faint enthusiasm for seeing the justice done in Kosovo, which our military has fought so well and in such good faith to put us in a position to demand. “It’s pay me now or pay me later,” a Vietnam veteran I once interviewed told me. He was talking about the psychological fallout from unjustly waged war. But if we do not now insist on the apprehension of Milosevic and other indicted Serb war criminals for judgment according to the Law of War, we will soon find ourselves paying for our very public failure of resolve by having to intervene for the same aims in the former Yugoslavia once again. Next time, our ability to regain them will almost certainly be compromised, both tactically and morally, for neither the Serb perpetrators of “ethnic cleansing,” their victims, nor our NATO allies will be listening to a toothless lion urging them to put human rights considerations above their own narrow interests. In this paper, I have begun to explore the possibility that our constitutional right to civilian control involves us to an extraordinary degree in our nation’s military affairs as a universal duty of citizenship. Such a fundamental personal legal involvement in warfare cannot help but have grave moral implications for our status as noncombatants under Just War Theory. Moreover, the Constitution makes no provision for opting out of our duties for civilian control of our military. This does not, however, mean that we are left without options for moral action. We can, as Washington clearly intended, act as good stewards of the sacred trust he left us. I can think of worse ways to enter the 21st century than as the people who made the world safe from genocide.


1. Davida Kellogg and MAJ. Randy Clements, George Washington's Legacy of Civilian Control of the Military at the Intersection of America's Third Century and the Millennium, 4th Multidisciplinary L.S.U. Shreveport Deep South Conference on George Washington: Life, Times and Legacy, Sept. 18-20, 1998.

2. “Many Americans were slow to accept reports of the wholesale slaughter of Jews and others in countries under Nazi control. As late as January 1943, fewer than half of those surveyed in a Gallup poll believed reports that as many as 2 million European Jews had been killed. By then, the Holocaust had been under way for many months.” U.S. Knew About Early Nazi Asylum Killings: Historians Debate Inaction’s Effect on Holocaust, Bangor Daily News, July 31, 1999.

3. Robert A. Heinlein, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress , hardcover reprint edition, 1996, Tor Books.

4. I.e., “To raise and support Armies,” “to provide and maintain a Navy,” “to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia” etc.

5. This is because military personnel may not stand for public office while in uniform. This division between military and civilian is not absolute, however. Military personnel may and do vote for Congressional representatives, and have a long and honorable tradition, starting with Washington, of public service in elective office once they are retired from military service.

6. As for ethics, a one-course requirement recently instituted at the University of Maine may be fulfilled by taking “Human Sexuality.” Granted, the damage done to military credibility by scandals that have come to light in the past few years suggest that military personnel at all ranks could benefit from instruction in sexual ethics. But as the only ethics course a cadet’s university may require him to take, it falls far short of his needs as a prospective commissioned officer.

7. Mort Rosenblum, Refugee Picture gets Uglier, Bangor Daily News, April 15, 1999; Kevin Cullen, Serb Records War’s Atrocities, Bangor Daily News, June 2, 1999; A.P., Refugees Say Kosovo Terror Continues, June 9, 1999; GIlles Peress and Philip Gourevitch, Exile and Return, photo essay, New Yorker, July 19,1999, etc. 

8. “ ... for there was an an essential feature to Milosevic’s character which rendered him especially resistant to both democratic and miltary pressure. This feature was more than ruthlessness or lack of scruple. No one in the West quite understood what Baton Haxhiu — the editor of Pristina’s main Albanian newspaper, Koha Ditore, who is now in exile in Macedonia — called Milosevic’s ‘unbearable lightness of being,’ his blithe disregard for all human beings except himself, his wife, and his immediate family. We are waiting for capitulation from a man whose indifference to anything but his own survival is a matter of record.” Michael Ignatieff, Balkan Physics, New Yorker, May 10, 1999.

9. “Anyone who clings to the historically untrue —­ and thoroughly immoral — doctrine that ‘violence never settles anything,’ I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst.” Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers, 1987, Ace Books, New York, p. 24..

10. Letter to Lord Loudoun, Jan. 10, 1757, Papers of Washington, 4:79-90.

11. Geoff Simons, Vietnam Syndrome:: Impact on US Foreign Policy, 1998, St. Martin’s Press, New York.

12. “No Ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique. Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content. But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again. Nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.” Sun Tzu, 1988, The Art of War, p. 76, Dell, New York, NY.

13. “Visceral issues often evoke eloquence, which in turn can provide excellent camouflage for a moral void,” Kurt Muller,Toward a Concept of Strategic Civil Affairs, Parameters, Winter 1998-9, p.95. Consider the way in which emotion-stirring rhetoric fed the selfish economic ambitions and silenced the consciences of Depression era Germans.

14. That is, to misquote the Bard, “the fault is not in the stars, nor in ourselves because we are underlings.” Given civilian control, it is disingenuous, to say the least, for Americans to appeal to this argument.

15. John Day, Probably Too Late For Wartime Meditation, Bangor Daily News, April 10, 1999.

16. Robert S. McNamara, In Retrospect; The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, 1995, Times Books.

17. David Broder, Sad Spectacle of Weak Congress, Wobbly President., Bangor Daily News, May 10, 1999. 

18. “A Standing Army, however necessary it may be at some times, is always dangerous to the Liberties of the People” and will always have to “be watched with a jealous Eye,” Samuel Adams, quoted in Alan Millett and Peter Maslowsky, For the Common Defense, The Free Press, New York, 1984, p. 57.

19. Paul Christopher, The Ethics of War and Peace, 2nd ed., 1999, Prentice Hall, NY, p. ix.

20. Christopher, Ibid., p.2.

21. Gwynne Dyer, Lessons of Kosovo, Bangor Daily News, June 29, 1999.

22. Carle Gray, Do-Good Adventure, Bangor Daily News, July 10, 1999. Compare with Michael Ignatieff, “... as I watched a disposessed nation settle in for its first nights of exile [in Macedonia], the full measure of what had happened in the past eight years — more than a quarter of a million people killed, another two million driven from their homes — suddenly seemed insupportable ... The claim that there was no national interest at stake here suddenly seemed offensively beside the point. Both our interests and our values were at stake: we had taken far too long to realize it, and these people now settling in for the night in the camps below had paid the price,” Balkan Physics, New Yorker, May 10, 1999.

23. Wm. Robertson III, Worst is Yet to Come, Bangor Daily News, June 17, 1999.

24. Robert Ronco, Atrocities Aplenty, Bangor Daily News, April 10, 1999.

25. Duncan Dwyer, Brutality Wrong Response to Atrocity, Bangor Daily News, April 26, 1999.

26. Wayne Garthwaite, Pushed Into Tragedy, Bangor Daily News, April 28, 1999.

27. Education Committee of the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine, Stop the Bombing of Kosovo,Bangor Daily News, June 3, 1999.

28. Bruce Mitchell, Outright Warfare, Bangor Daily News, June 3, 1999. 

29. Harold Waltz, Vengeful Acts of War, Bangor Daily News, June 17, 1999.

30. “They [nearly all the leading congressional Republicans] didn’t hate the war so much as they did the President; whatever was bad for him was good for the Party — and to hell with eight hundred and fifty thousand refugees.” David Remnick, The Back Page, New Yorker, April 14, 1999, writing on ”the cynical gestures of the President’s opponents in Washington” with regard to his Kosovo policy. See also Act of War, editorial, Bangor Daily News., April 15, 1999 for the man-on-the-street version of this attitude.

31.“to settle any international dispute in which they may be involved by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered, and to refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force in any manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations”

32. In which the parties to the Treaty agree that “if armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.”

33. Rick Brix, AUSA Background Brief No. 81, The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Transition, April 1999., Institute of Land Warfare.

34. Gwynne Dyer, Is it Possible to Wage an Ethical War? Bangor Daily News, May 4, 1999.

35. Milosevic Recieves Plan for Peace,Bangor Daily News, June 3, 1999.

36. Davida Kellogg, Is Soldiering an Ethical Decision?: Reason vs. Public Perception or Alice’s Restaurant Revisited, JSCOPE, 1995

37. Stefan Lazarevic, Letter from Belgrade, New Yorker, April 19, 1999.

38. Lawrence Wechsler, Mind-Sets,New Yorker, April 12, 1999.

39. Associated Press, Campaign Against Serbia Cost the U.S. Up tp $4 Billion, Bangor Daily News, June 28, 1999.

40. Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Harmony Books, New York, 1979.

41. Reproduced in Art Spiegelman, Horton Hears a Heil, New Yorker, 1999.

42. William Finnegan, Wars and the Man, New Yorker, April 19, 1999.

43. Milosevic Reacts to Growing Opposition, Bangor Daily News, August 7, 1999.

44.Yugoslav Deserter Recalls ‘Cleansing,’ Bangor Daily News, June 8, 1999; Laura King,Horrors Uncovered in Kosovo, Bangor Daily News. June 18, 1999; Serb Ravaging of Kosovo is Horror By Design, Bangor Daily News, May 29, 1999; Kevin Cullen,Serb Records War’s Atrocities, Bangor Daily News, June 2, 1999, etc.

45. “As the independent Belgrade journalist Milos Vasic put it to an American audience, it [Radio Television Belgrade even before the recent conflict in Bosnia] was as if all television in the U.S.A. had been taken over by the Ku Klux Klan; ‘You must imagine a United States with every little TV station everywhere taking exactly the same editorial line — a line dictated by David Duke. You too would have war in five years.’” Noel Malcolm, Bosnia: A Short History, N.Y.U. Press, New York, 1996, p. 252.

46. Stefan Lazarevic, Letter From Belgrade, New Yorker, April 19, 1999.

47. Isabel Vincent, Belgrade Postcard, New Yorker, April 26, 1999.

48. David Remnick, The Back Page, New Yorker, June 14, 1999.

49. Robert Kaplan, Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History, 1993, St. Martin’s Press, New York.

50. Quoted in Kaplan, Ibid., p. 238.

51. Noel Malcolm, Bosnia: A Short History, N.Y.U. Press, New York, 1996. p. 20.

52. Michael Ignatieff, The Virtual Commander, New Yorker, August 2, 1999.

53. Michael Walzer, Just and Unjust War, 1977, Basic Books, New York,.

54. Davida Kellogg, Guerrilla Warfare — When Taking Care of Your Troops Leads to War Crimes, JSCOPE, 1997.

55. Albanian Kosovar survivors of Serb atrocities have testified that their Serb neighbors pointed out Albanian homes to Serbian paramilitary groups, were involved in looting Albanian homes and businesses, and actively participated in atrocities.