Talk:Legitimacy of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia

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NATO and UN charter=[edit]

Untitled[edit]

NATO was built as defence pact to protect its members from outsider attack so effectivly with operation Allied Force they have broken their own charter. Kosovo is province of Serbia (or de facto and de jure was in 1999) so if there was a refugee crisis, adequate response would be refugee relief aid (red cross) and not a military campaign. By UN charter or war rules of conduct NO country declared war on FR Yugoslavia and yet all NATO countries participated by logistics, airspace or forces. This makes them agressors and by UN charter they were to be sanctioned and ultimately expelled. How can these things be overseen? Today I can say that this is the model of NATO abuse to destroy UN: UN doesn`t have peace missions anymore and NATO installs itself instead. So there is no mediation and peacekeeping anymore. Serbia, deprived of Kosovo, was just first example. Not to mention the destruction of non military assets all over Serbia that are not in any way near Kosovo and collateral civilian victims Who is then the bad guy with exceeded use of force? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 77.105.54.146 (talk) 16:59, 21 February 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a soapbox where you spout your view on the war. - DetroitSeattle (talk) 00:27, 13 March 2013 (UTC)

General Discussion[edit]

expanding action threatening regional stability (for example, the flood of Albanian refugees presented a very real threat to the stability of the fledgling Rebuplic of Macedonia)

Is there any documentation for this claim? I was unaware of any flood of refugees predating the bombing campaign itself, and I have never even seen a claim that there was one, or any pre-existing threat to Macedonian stability. Nor does it square well with Macedon's and Greece's opposition to the NATO action.

There is no question that the flood of refugees during the bombing campaign frightened Macedonia, and they responded by closing their borders, which would seem to have been all that was necessary.

I don't like this article title - it seems by its very title to imply that it wasn't legitimate. Could this material either be integrated back into an article on the Kosovo conflict (under a subheading) or given a more neutral title, perhaps "NATO actions in Kosovo" and discuss the substance of what was done there as well as the morality or otherwise of it? --Robert Merkel
There's a more serious problem with this article, which is that the sum of its contents is shallow arguments, and detailed rejections of those, for NATO's intervention. I'm not familiar enough with the details of what went on to correct it, but a naive reading comes inescapably to the conclusion that NATO's intervention was not legitimate. There are loaded words like "NATO's agression". It's not NPOV at all; the author is arguing, not reporting on arguments. I think the title would be fine if the article was balanced enough for a reader to come away neutral, or accepting either side's arguments--JJ
I agree with JJ. There's no way this article is going to be NPOV, just by its title, and the content is hardly neutral. -- Zoe

"the legitimacy of" - something, as coming into question, belongs as part of the main article, in this case, the War to oust Serb troops from Kosovo, in defense of Muslims against Christian genocide. It its too big, then it belongs under a larger political context: Either "NATO - policy" or Kosovo War (political aspects).-Stevert Ps. people often have a problem with not generalising the context to an appropriate enough degree here on WP. It doesnt preclude the creation of such an article, provided attached people accept that the naming of articles must be general enough to cover varied aspsects. Even then articles may be poorly named, too wordy, etc. These can still serve as redirects to better titles. -sv

What about an alternate title: "Legality of..." - there are principles of international law that make it possible to analyze this more objectively - the imperative to prevent genocide, for instance. There are also precedents for international law sanctioning defense of breakaway states (like West Bank which is still legally part of Jordan).

However, one of the real underlying reasons for the NATO intervention seem to have been the will of the United States to assert NATO's right to Eastern Europe after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. - This is written as if it were proven fact. Please prove it. -- Zoe


See the last chapter of Gen. Wesley Clark's book Waging Modern War ISBN 1-58648-139-8 where he talks about NATO's justifications in keeping Russia out of Yugoslavia. Also the fact that within eighteen months of the cessation of hostilities, NATO had added seven former Soviet satellites (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Romania, Slovenia, and Bulgaria) to its member list. An invitation has also been extended to the Republic of Macedonia, conditional upon it ceasing fighting with its neighbors. The assertion of NATO authority in Eastern Europe has achieved its desired affect. Chadloder 05:17 Jan 27, 2003 (UTC)


Regarding the title, I would say an alternate title is needed for simplicity's sake. Maybe Alleged NATO War Crimes or Legitimacy of NATO Intervention in Yugoslavia ? Chadloder 05:17 Jan 27, 2003 (UTC)

"legitimacy" does not belong in an encyclopedia title, period, unless it's about something book, movie, or whatever... titled with legitimacy in it.-Stevert

What's wrong with NATO intervention in the Kosovo War? -- Zoe

Again, regarding the title. I didn't choose the title. I initially had this under the Kosovo War article until someone moved it here. I didn't choose the title and I happen to think the title should be changed.

Regarding the conclusions reached in the article. Are we not allowed to come to any conclusions in Wikipedia? I have written a detailed, documented and referenced article laying out the arguments on both sides, labelling the obviously false arguments (again, on both sides) and coming to the obvious conclusion that NATO acted in violation of the UN charter. If you have a problem with it, then start pointing out where I'm wrong. Don't just say you feel it's too POV because you're not comfortable with the content. I've done my part (documenting and I think fairly laying out the justifications). I've done the reading and the thinking. Now it's your turn to do your own. Chadloder 05:25 Jan 27, 2003 (UTC)


CHad -- I don't think the article should be here at all, so my attempting to repair it wouldn't be worth my time. I think the whole thing should be folded back into Kosovo War and worked on there and this thing deleted. -- Zoe


Zoe, go for it. I think it belongs there as well. Someone vandalized the Kosovo War article and took this section out, leaving a collection of NATO bombing pictures in its place. Chadloder 05:31 Jan 27, 2003 (UTC)


Regarding the question about refugees flooding into Macedonia before the NATO bombing. I was laying out NATO's arguments, not mine. The subject of whether the refugees were caused by NATO the bombing itself or by the ethnic cleansing by the Serbs is a contentious issue, with NATO and the refugees on the one side saying the refugees were fleeing the Serbs, the Serbs on the other side saying that the refugees were fleeing the bombing. All of the refugee interviews I've read say that the refugees were fleeing the Serbian shelling, etc. However, the timing of NATO's claims is suspect -- the flood increased dramatically after the NATO bombing started. We can expand on this section in the article, if you want, mentioning that the refugee problem was not a problem for Macedonia until mid April of 1999, after the NATO bombing campaign was under way. I imagine it will be difficult to get Macedonian officials to admit to this now, while their NATO membership is on the line. Chadloder 05:37 Jan 27, 2003 (UTC)

NATO has had many bombing campaigns, so a name change is in order: legitimacy of the Kosovo War, perhaps? That would have to also explain how the actions of other parties violated international law too, of course, but that could be a good thing. Martin
or, better, legality of the Kosovo War Martin
What other bombing campaigns has NATO had? Bosnia perhaps but certainly not many. Anyone know, I'm curious now. --rmhermen
My bad, I was thinking that some of the US campaigns were formally under the NATO umbrella, but I think that was wrong, in retrospect. :-(

I think "legitimacy" is a better word for the article title. It makes it clear that contributors are discussing the ethical (or moral) right and wrongs of the issue. This is preferable to discussing whether something is "legal", because the latter entails thorny issues of jurisdiction, etc. See the long, slow-motion edit war over genocide and you'll see what I mean.

Anyway, most people think that "right and wrong" should determine law -- not the other way around. Which of our readers or contributors cares whether the Nazi killings of 11 to 13 million civilians was "legal" or not under German or international law? Even if Hitler broke no law, people would say, "there ought to be a law".

No one really gets upset over massive law-breaking. What upsets people is seeing pain caused to their fellow man: that's what arouses such resentment, righteous anger, vituperous rage, etc.

Having said all that, let me suggest that we discuss moral/ethical issues in terms of a standard, such as:

  • "might makes right"
  • "the greatest good of the greatest number"
  • "lesser of two evils"
  • "my favorite race is better than your favorite race"
  • "it's the only way to build utopia"
  • "God told us to do it"
  • "The ends do not justify the means"

--Uncle Ed 15:55 Jan 31, 2003 (UTC)

Given the general consensus in the UK that any attack on Iraq should be consistent with international law, I guess that kind of debate on internation law does interest some people, including myself. It's not upsetting, but an article doesn't have to arouse righteous anger to be worthy of some time... I'm surprised you think it'd be harder to do: morality is notoriously personal, isn't it?
I definately agree with you that there doesn't have to be any kind of correlation between moral and legal military attacks, so whatever the result I think we should clearly seperate moral questions from legal questions. Maybe seperate articles, maybe clearly delineated sections of the same article... Martin
I don't have time to read carefully the whole article, unfortunately, but the three basic questions in the introduction clearly suggest that legality is supposed to be discussed! It's much better having separate discussions (within the same article or not) on legality and legitimacy, and leaving the relation between law and morality for other articles. (Just for a taste: Do I have a right to stop paying taxes if I think it's wrong? What if 40% of citizens think so? Or 60%? Do they have to wait till next elections or can they just stop paying taxes? - The conception you mentioned is called natural law. On the other end there is legal positivism, while the most widely accepted modern conception is of course in between, it's core being the title of a Gustav Radbruch's book, called Statutory Non-Law and Suprastatutory Law.) Messlo

After move[edit]

Ed Poor moved the article to NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia

I belive this page should be moved to "Legitimacy of NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia". The page called "NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia" should contain information about the actual bombing campaign (duration, what countries took part in the attack, motivation, efficiency, victims, etc.) -- Mihai

I totally concur. The way this article starts out seems like one has opened a novel in the middle. For an article with a title like this, we need a description of what this bombing campaign was, when it happened, the nominal reasons for it, and so forth, before getting into what intellectuals like Noam Chomsky had to say about it. -- Branden
Yes, it needs refactoring at the least, and is probably better split. Tannin 07:56 Mar 31, 2003 (UTC)
Some moron keeps moving the article. When I wrote it, it was originally called just that, "Legitimacy of the NATO bombing campaign in Yugoslavia". Chadloder 07:56 Mar 31, 2003 (UTC)

I found myself writting this comment just because I want to state facts about this NATO campaign, since I lived it):

- NATO is by definition DEFENCE ALLIANCE. Since none of NATO members has been

 attacked they had no right to interviene.

- There was no UN or any international agreement that would MAKE IT LEGAL.

- There was NO COUNTRY which claimed WAR against Milosevics Yugoslavia, so these

  wasn`t even an official WAR

- Kossovo isn`t even in 2005 country (and far from NATO member) so

 UN or any other intervention would be better than NATO

- Most of NATO targets in Serbia were CIVILIAN TARGETS - a bombed

 civilian train, destroyed brigde that stop all river trafic over Danube
 (damage to the whole Europe) and most notably destroying TV station
 with 16 dead civilians - employees, destroying TV towers, electric
 lines etc. Were little of army equipment was destroyed, so this
 is more a PRESSURE CAMPAIGN with acts against civilians
- Ultimately it didn`t brought Milosevic down - it strenghted him
  in Serbia without Kossovo. Only goal which was done was
  installing biggest NATO base in Europe. Even the Kossovo
  problem is not solved.
If you wish me to come with facts from Western sources on this
(web links) this can be done.

Please bear this in mind.

Not a very informative article[edit]

I was expecting to read an article about the campaign itself, not a list of justifications and (mostly) criticisms of it. This article needs a lot of reworking. -- ChrisO 23:59, 16 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Maybe if people would leave the original title intact instead of moving the article to a new title every month, people's expectations of what the article is about would be in line with reality. Chadloder 19:18, Feb 19, 2004 (UTC)

Just to say that I'm very glad that someone moved the article back to this name. Nikola 08:40, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

What a joke[edit]

This article is just an unsourced laundry list that criticizes NATO without providing counter-viewpoints. 65.185.190.240 22:57, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

The article provides BOTH NATO's argument for the legitimacy of the bombing AND counter-arguments on its illegitimacy.... I do not see your point. Stop The Lies 05:50, 17 December 2006 (UTC)Stop_The_Lies

[Forgive my Wiki-ignorance; I'm not sure where to put this] The original article stated, "The war option ... was pushed aggressively by US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and by NATO military leaders including SACEUR General Wesley Clark." It also stated: "Alternate view: the close neighbours of Yugoslavia, namely Italy, Germany, Greece, Romania and Albania, later joined by most other EU-countries, pressed for military action already in 1994."

According to a September 2002 article in Washington Monthly, General Wesley Clark stated, "Greece ... never opposed a NATO action, though its electorate strongly opposed the war and the Greek government tried in other ways to maintain an acceptable 'distance' from NATO military actions." Freebiegrabber 00:00, 28 February 2007 (UTC)freebiegrabber

Please don't comment within the article—either fix it (be bold!) or raise the issue on the talk page. The second part (close neighbours) is an utter nonsense; I removed it. The first part (the opponents allege that Madeleine...) is IMO correct, however, the entire section is unsourced and full of weasel words, like "some people...". Duja 12:43, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Article Deserves to be one on its Own[edit]

This is the topic of a very big controversy (it's NATO breaking the law for crying out loud!!!), with plenty of arguments for both sides. To put it as a subtopic in its entirety in any other article would not do it justice. Stop The Lies 05:56, 17 December 2006 (UTC)Stop_The_Lies

I'm not sure I understand the justification for putting this article on its own. It seems like it would be much better treated withing the main article on Allied Force. Just because it was an imporatant debate (and it is just a debate) doesn't mean it should get its own article. Dchall1 07:19, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

Synthesis tag[edit]

I have place the synthesis tag on this section as I believe that section cherry picks all the unsuccessful UN actions to show that UNPROFOR was completely ineffective. There were some successful UN actions as well judging from this. Pocopocopocopoco (talk) 03:44, 22 March 2008 (UTC)

Chetnik Cabal[edit]

Wikipedia: one of the few places in the Universe where the NATO bombing of Serbia is considered “a worse war crime” than the Srebrenica Massacre.

1) No it doesn't, and 2) No it isn't. The are tens of thousands of articles and reports from around the world on the web you can find where the NATO bombing is criticised. This is not the article where the harshness of ones criminality is the subject, it is about whether the act was legal or not. Other pages may discuss your sort of thing. User:Evlekis (Евлекис) 00:25, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

The intro[edit]

I have expanded the intro by placing all of the opening information onto the second introductory paragraph rather than the LEDE. The first reason is that the article needed a proper "welcoming" pitch. By diving straight into the "one side says this, the other side says that", a less familair reader is thrust into a dispute before knowing what it is all about. And that is another thing, the article needs a lot of work done to it. Many of the arguments on both sides of the coin are based on the morality of the NATO action and this has nothing to do with the article. The article is only about whether the act was legal, or was it illegal. It could be illegal yet moral, legal and immoral, legally moral or illegally immoral; legality is down to interpretation of the "rulebook", and morality is down to every individual's conscience. This is why I have added the guiding instruments to what would make something "legal" on the opening paragraph; the bickering which originally lay there now starts from the second paragraph and so on. User:Evlekis (Евлекис) 00:33, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

"Alternative explanations of the motivation behind the bombing campaign"[edit]

Basically, that's an interesting point of the topic that should be dealt with. However, this section doesn't contain any useful information: It states there are other explanations but doesn't say which, and it gives a lot of numbers without indicating a source for them. That section should be deleted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.34.148.56 (talk) 00:47, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

Resoltuion 12:3[edit]

What's the name (or number) of the resolution that was passed by 12:3? 76.172.76.170 (talk) 06:21, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

NATO's 2 arguments[edit]

..simply don't hold the water.

That NATO was justified in acting to maintain regional stability under Articles 2 and 4 of the NATO charter.

The articles nowhere support military interventionalism, on the contrary, quite the opposite. I'll remove it as it has got no source anyway.

As for the 3rd argument, it is, I think, a violation of the No original research rule, since it alleges that the two resolutions were NATO's argument, however the only sources are the actual resolutions. It also a misinterpretation. For instance, the resolutions in question demand ceasefire and peace from all relevant parties; which would include foreign parties, such as NATO Member States. It is also a logical fallacy; since when is non-explicit prohibition in a UNSC Resolution an argument in a military intervention?

More propoganda[edit]

It's painfully obvious that this page is nothing but a propoganda tract against NATO and its intervention in Kosovo. This is evidenced by both the number of (some quite contentious) unsourced statements, and the actual sources which are used. Here are some statements and sources in particular which I take issue with;

"More familiar people (i.e., locals) however realise that the result was replacing Albanian refugees with Serb refugees; and that Kosovo is far from a stable region, with insurgencies spreading into Serbia proper (Preševo Valley conflict) and the Republic of Macedonia (2001 Macedonia conflict) with crime and violence continuing for years after the bombing."

This is unsourced, and blatently POV, indicating that the people who supported the intervention were somehow "less familiar" than those who opposed it.

"Still others point out that before the bombing, rather than being an unusually bloody conflict, the war between the KLA and the Yugoslav security forces had in fact been one of the cleanest civil wars in modern history"

Not only is this absolutely ridiculous, and is contradicted by many human rights organisations which indicate that the conflict was certainly not "clean", but the source which makes this claim makes other claims such as;

Any serious scholar on the Yugoslav conflict and anyone who has actually read the Islamic Declaration will know that this is untrue, and a common propoganda line from Serb and Croat nationalists. Foerstel also seems to be claiming that the whole Yugoslav conflict was a conspiricy by the USA and the media . He also pushed the discredited and sinister conspiricy theory that Germany initiated the breakup of Yugoslvia. He doubts the existance of Serbian concentration camps and claims that the pictures of Trnopolje were doctored. He claims the Markale massacre was committed by the Muslims (p. 107).

Other things worth knowing is that he says that the KLA was a "local mafia which built its power through drug running, prostitution and extortion" while ignoring Milosevic's ties to organised crime, and focuses on the exodus of Serbs from Kosovo following the 1999 war while making no mention of the Serb's campaign throughout 1998-1999. The war in Kosovo is completely decontextualised, and the conditions in Kosovo which led to the emergence of the KLA in the first place are not mentioned.

Hopefully I don't have to explain why the above makes me doubt the authority and credibility of Foerstel on the wars in the Balkans.

the number of dead being less than 2000, which included around 500 Serbian civilians and police and 1500 Albanian civilians and KLA members in more than one year of conflict.

1,500+500 = 2,000, not "less than 2000." Not only that, but these figures are unsourced.

The total number of displaced people was 100,000 before the bombing.

This is unsourced, and the lowest estimate I have ever seen. According to the UNHCR, the number was around 460,000.

This has escalated to a total of 10,000 dead - an estimated 6-7,000 Albanians

This is unsourced, and lower than any reliable source I have seen, which claim 10,000 Albanians (absolute minimum). It contradicts Wikipedia's own article on the Kosovo War, which claims 10,000-13,000 Albanians killed.

3-4,000 Serbians killed in the war

Unsurprisingly this number is also unsourced. This is higher than the Serbian government's own cliams, and contradicts our own article on the war, which claims 2,238 Serbs killed. Thannad (talk) 16:54, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

I agree with your assessment. However, trying to clean stuff like this out of articles on Yugoslav history and human geography is an uphill struggle. bobrayner (talk) 17:30, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
True, I have tried to clean up some of the articles. I usually respect wikipedia, but its articles on Yugoslav history (especially Kosovo, the Bosnia article is decent enough) are a complete joke, and it is very clearly dominated by a small number of Serbian nationalist editors. Seriously, the Yugoslav articles on here use Edward Herman, Global Research, Novosti and Chossudovsky as sources. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.4.43.200 (talk) 18:44, 16 July 2012 (UTC)