The Short, Unhappy Life of Humanitarian War

Kosovo was a new kind of war, one fought for humanitarian purposes. It will be the last of its kind.

Issue: Fall 1999

When I ordered our armed forces into combat," said President Clinton in his televised victory speech announcing the end of the Kosovo campaign, "we had three clear goals: [first] to enable the Kosovar people . . . to return to their homes with safety and self-government." Return them? There were virtually no refugees at the time he ordered the attack. The mass expulsions occurred after NATO began bombing.

In fact, on the day he did order the armed forces to attack, Clinton gave this as the clear goal in another televised address to the American people: "We act to protect thousands of innocent people in Kosovo from a mounting military offensive."

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