Virtual War: Kosovo and Beyond
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For a decade, Michael Ignatieff has provided eyewitness accounts and penetrating analyses from the world's battle zones. In Virtual War, he offers an analysis of the conflict in Kosovo and what it means for the future of warfare. He describes the latest phase in modern combat: war fought by remote control. In "real" war, nations are mobilized, soldiers fight and die, victories are won. In virtual war, however, there is often no formal declaration of hostilities, the combatants are strike pilots and computer programmers, the nation enlists as a TV audience, and instead of defeat and victory there is only an uncertain endgame.
Kosovo was such a virtual war, a war in which U.S. and NATO forces did the fighting but only Kosovars and Serbs did the dying. Ignatieff examines the conflict through the eyes of key players--politicians, diplomats, and generals--and through the experience of the victims, the refugees and civilians who suffered. As unrest continues in the Balkans, East Timor, and other places around the world, Ignatieff raises the troubling possibility that virtual wars, so much easier to fight, could become the way superpowers impose their will in the century ahead.
In any event, partition impractical, is both because communities are distributed throughout the province, as are their cultural and religious sites. This leaves either Kosovo or a UN protectorate. If Serbs have to understand that them the As complete independence for it is it is to be independence, the their conduct that has lost territory. for the UN, the Secretary- General himself has said that the resort to force can be justified in Kosovo, because there You threat
you in the why did you do nothing to stop the Croats in the summer of 1995 when they drove 250,000 Serbs out of Croatia? And why have you done West were so concerned about ethnic cleansing, nothing to stop the expulsion of Serbs from Kosovo? 'Do you want crime.' 152 me say that's a crime? Yes, I think that's a Enemies and Friends He was in his stride now. Soon Kosovo would become independent and the Serbs century who had been there since the sixth ad would never return. would
ceases to be just becomes a turkey shoot. when it While our opponent in Kosovo was not prostrated - Serb air defenses continued firing until the last day of the air-campaign - the contest was so unequal that could only preserve its NATO sense of moral advantage by observing especially strict rules of engagement. 161 VIRTUAL WAR NATO presented these rules - which tried to limit civilian - casualties as a sign of moral superiority. But one could argue that their real purpose
they save the lives of pilots. itself as The navy held onto its destroyers and resisted the introduction of an arsenal ship, which who is manned by a relatively small number of technicians direct the firing of unmanned precision-guided munitions. 15 The most entrenched resistance to the revolution in military affairs came from within the army. The navy could turn itself into a Cruise missile platform; the air force could turn itself into the high-altitude specialists of the
muddy water. Kosovars stand huddling against the wind, crows wheel and turn in the Americans pass. Flocks of black dirty sky. Inside the Chevrolet Suburban, talking about his contacts with the guerillas. armed men committed them watching the Shaun Byrnes He Kosovo and to liberate sits is down with tries to persuade to back the American-led peace talks that will only give them autonomy. This about the When doesn't sound promising. asked being taken hostage, he shrugs.