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US Congressman Mission to YU finds Lies by White House/State Dept/Pentagon/NATO

     Essential Public Policy Points Relating to the ISSA
             Mission to Yugoslavia, April 18-21, 1999

The International Strategic Studies Association organized a fact-finding
mission from
Washington DC to Yugoslavia on April 18-21, 1999. The purpose was for the
Association and a
key US Congressman to determine to a greater extent factors important to
future policymaking
with regard to the war being prosecuted against Yugoslavia. ISSA worked
with a Yugoslav NGO,
the Institute for Geopolitical Studies, in facilitating the mission. 

US Congressman Jim Saxton (Republican, New Jersey), an ISSA Life Member
and Chairman of
the US House of Representatives Task Force on Terrorism & Unconventional
Warfare (and
member of the House Armed Services Committee; and Vice-Chairman of the
[House-Senate] Economic Committee), participated in the mission, along
with the Director of the
Task Force on Terrorism, Yossef Bodansky. 

The mission delegates met with key Yugoslav officials and politicians, at
the highest levels,
including the Foreign Minister. As well, contacts were made with
non-governmental individuals
in Yugoslavia, and an assessment was made of NATO bombing damage in the
greater Belgrade

               A. The Rationale Behind the Fact-Finding Visit 

1. The visit was principally undertaken to ensure that the US Congress had
sufficient independent
information on the conduct of the war (the Kosovo Crisis”) to be able to
fully debate proposals put
to it by the US Administration. The Founding Fathers of the United States
wished to ensure that
there were checks and balances in the US system. The Congress was
empowered to approve and
fund — or disapprove and withhold funding — the actions of the
Administration, and was charged
with the function of declaring war. It was, therefore, the responsibility
of Congress to satisfy itself
through the utmost diligence that courses of action to which it committed
its actions were
appropriate. It was never intended that the Congress should blindly
endorse the Administrative
Branch, but rather should support it or check it after due debate and

2. The commitment of US lives into a combat situation, where many lives
will certainly be lost, and
where the long-term strategic interests of the United States are involved,
cannot therefore be
undertaken without the most complete research and understanding. With
regard to the present
situation in Yugoslavia, Congress had until this mission been virtually
totally reliant on the
Administration’s view of events, and on the media, which has been greatly
influenced by the only
real source of information and opinion available: the Administration. 

3. It was necessary to determine far more objectively the real situation
before one-sided evidence
and jingoism was allowed to determine whether Congress threw American
lives, and the future
strategic position of the United States, into a war. This was the
underlying motive for the
ISSA/Saxton mission to Yugoslavia. 

4. It was also necessary to ensure that the United States did not
unwittingly commit crimes of its
own in pursuit of a just solution to the tragedy. 

                           B. What was discovered was: 

1. The Flow of Refugees: The international media, because it is largely on
the external borders of
Yugoslavia, has seen only the flow of refugees out of the country, to
Albania and Macedonia.
However, some one-third of the Albanian Yugoslav and other ethnic group
refugees appear, in fact,
to be fleeing further into Serbia, to avoid the Kosovo Liberation Army.
Yugoslavia has already been
burdened since 1992 with almost one-million refugees from Bosnian Serb
areas and Croatian Serb
areas, as well as Croatians and Muslims fleeing into Serbia-proper from
what is now
Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. 

2. There is no doubt but that the NATO bombings in Kosovo and in the rest
of Serbia have
contributed heavily — perhaps overwhelmingly — toward the outflow of
refugees, not only the
Kosovar Albanians but many other ethnic groups who have been forced on the
road with the
destruction of their homes or their livelihoods. 

3. There are some 26 different ethnic groups in Yugoslavia, and some 20
different ethnic groups
living in the Kosovo region. Within Yugoslavia, some one-third of the
population is not of Serbian
origin, and this makes it the most multi-cultural, multi-religious state
in the Balkan region. 

4. We saw extensive destruction of civilian targets, many of which could
not be justified by NATO
as military targets nor vital to the maintenance of a Yugoslav strategic
power base. Given the
widespread damage to these purely civilian targets which we saw, including
the direct destruction of
homes, it is not difficult to believe the claims of the Yugoslav
Government that some 400,000 to a
half-million people have been thrown out of work because of the
destruction of their workplaces.
This means that some 2-million Yugoslavs of all ethnic origins are without
income, out of a
population of some 10+-million people. 

5. Justification for bombing civilian targets has now been given that
these facilities were owned by
relatives of President Milosevic, but the vast majority of these factories
were either State-owned,
privately-owned by non-Milosevic family members or, for the greater part,
owned jointly by the
State and by the workforces of the various factories. As a result, this
has directly contributed to an
attack on the average Yugoslav family. 

6. There was no evidence to support the contention that the Yugoslav
warfighting capability has
been overwhelming broken by the sustained NATO bombing campaign. Rather,
the bombing has
driven the Yugoslav people to put aside their political differences and to
unite in the face of an
external threat, much as would be the case if the United States was
attacked. We met with people
who have, in the past, been totally opposed, politically, to President
Milosevic. Today, they are
working completely with Mr Milosevic to defend their country. So the
intention of the bombing to
break the Yugoslav people away from Mr Milosevic has totally failed, and
shows no sign of

7. The cost in terms of human casualties from the NATO bombing have
largely been civilian:
between 500 and 1,000 dead, with several thousand injured. Military
personnel casualties have been

8. There has clearly been significant damage suffered by Yugoslav military
assets, including
domestic oil refining capability. However, it would be a mistake to
believe that the real warfighting
capability of Yugoslavia has been degraded to anything like the level
where the insertion of ground
forces could be successful: that is, that it could militarily defeat
Yugoslavia without massive loss of
life and without destroying the one thing which the campaign intends to
save, namely a viable
restoration of Kosovars to their homes and livelihoods in the Kosovo
region. The net result of an
insertion of ground forces would be that a protracted war would continue
within the very rugged
terrain of the country, and that the lowland areas would be lain-waste to
in the process. It surely is
not our intention to achieve a victory without restoring the homes and
employment of the Kosovar
people (whether of Albanian origin or not). 

9. Apart from a costly, protracted war with the massive loss of life among
NATO states, including,
of course, the United States, there is reason for grave concern over a
wider war. Firstly, it is clear
that there would be retaliatory actions against major Western targets,
such as our own oil refineries
and nuclear power stations, etc., from Yugoslav special forces or from
non-government Serb
activists. So we could expect a major outbreak of anti-NATO terrorism,
perhaps on a scale not
before seen, if we choose to escalate the war into a full ground
operation. This must at the very
least be taken into consideration. 

10. We attempted to investigate reports that there has already been
considerable loss of life among
NATO forces, and we feel that we received some confirmation that this has
been the case. Clearly,
the cost to NATO in human and equipment terms has already been far greater
than anything which
has been announced. Just how extensive the NATO aircraft and personnel
losses have been remains
to be confirmed. What is clear is that already there has been a cost to
us, apart from the mere
monetary cost of equipment and consumables. This cost can only rise
significantly as the conflict

11. It has been stated by NATO that the Yugoslav Air Force has been driven
from the skies, with
half the Yugoslav fighter aircraft force lost, and that all defenses now
consist only of anti-aircraft
artillery and anti-aircraft missiles. It is more likely that the Yugoslav
Air Force is preserving its
forces to be used in any broader conflict. This is not Iraq, and we should
not make the mistake of
believing that the fight, or fighting capability, has been driven from the

12. There has, in fact, been considerable progress toward reaching a
political solution acceptable to
all moderate parties. And, of course, we except from the definition
moderate parties” the so-called
Kosovo Liberation Army, which derived from the communist origins of the
former Albanian stalinist
leaders and which today is funded largely by narcotic trafficking into
Western Europe and through
extortion. It has been a mistake for the West to support the KLA now, when
moderate Kosovar
Albanian leaders have been committed to a political solution to the
tragedy. Equally, attempts to
discredit moderate Kosovar Albanian leader Dr Ibrahim Rugova are
counter-productive to achieving
a peaceful and lasting solution to the problem. The fact that Dr Rugova’s
enormous courage in
remaining in Yugoslavia to seek such a solution is now being dismissed by
allegations that he is a
virtual prisoner” only serve to reinforce the hand of the KLA, which has
previously been labeled a
terrorist force by the United States, and remains so today. [The matter of
KLA terrorism and the
prospect of Yugoslav special operations in a wider war are both matters
which have been the
subject of considerable study by the US House of Representatives Task
Force on Terrorism and
Unconventional Warfare, chaired by Congressman Saxton.] 

13. We received strong indications from the very senior officials with
whom we met — and clearly
the messages which we received were sanctioned by Mr Milosevic himself —
that virtually all the
substantive demands for Kosovo’s future autonomy within Yugoslavia could
be met, and met
quickly, provided negotiations could resume. As a result, we need to
undertake a careful
step-by-step approach toward peace and we need to see some substantive
evidence of commitment
and goodwill on the part of the Yugoslavs. I believe that this will be

14. Without question, we need to ensure that Congress is totally clear on
the situation before further
escalation takes place, and before further funding is put in place to
continue a protracted war.
Congress needs to undertake this process of due diligence itself, given
the fact that the enormous
confusion which has taken place due to media manipulation on all sides has
only contributed to a
blood-lust which — if it is the only basis for decisionmaking — could lead
to a much longer and
wider war. 

15. Finally, it seems clear that if we accept that we must commit to a
broader war in Yugoslavia,
then we must also accept that US and NATO military preoccupation with this
conflict will open the
door to a range of other conflicts which could be of massive and lasting
consequence. In this regard,
we must expect that an expanded war would lead to an exacerbation of
Turkish-Greek tensions
leading to a separate war, in which the Cyprus issue would become a key.
We could expect North
Korea to take the opportunity to initiate a military attack on South
Korea, with Japan drawn into the
fray. We could expect that the People’s Republic of China would use the
opportunity to attempt to
invade Taiwan. We could expect a variety of new conflicts to arise in the
Middle East. And so on.
What is clear, not just to ourselves but to others, is that we have a
finite military force available to
NATO at present, and, because we have spent our post-Cold War peace
dividend”, others will
take advantage of the situation to launch their offensives, knowing the
West does not have the
capacity to fight on many fronts. 


                   ANDRE GUNDER FRANK
250 Kensington Ave - Apt 608     Tel: 1-514-933 2539    
Westmount/Montreal PQ/QC         Fax: 1-514-933 6445 
Canada H3Z 2G8              e-mail:agfrank@chass.utoronto.ca 

My Personal/Professional Home Page> http://www.whc.neu.edu/gunder.html
My NATO/Kosovo Page> http://csf.colorado.edu/archive/agfrank/nato_kosovo/       
My professional/personal conclusion is the same as Pogo's - 
            We have met the enemy, and it is US 

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