Waco II -- Serbia

From: Gary Hunt at the Outpost of Freedom in Mesa, Arizona
Date: April 22, 1999 (published April 25, 1999)

We are not targeting Milosevic!

DoD News Briefing

Thursday, April 22, 1999 - 9:00 a.m.

Presenter: Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD PA

Also participating in this briefing are Rear Admiral Thomas Wilson, J-2 and Major General Chuck Wald, vice J-5.

Mr. Bacon: Good morning. Welcome to the briefing.

Normally at this time the briefing comes from NATO, but NATO is coming to Washington for the Summit, so Jamie Shea asked if we could fill this gap with a 9:00 a.m. briefing, and we"re doing that.

* * *

"You"ve all seen pictures of the strike against one of President Milosevic"s residences yesterday. It"s also a command and control facility. It includes security and military bunkers as well, and it is indicative of the increasing allied pressure as part of this campaign and particularly pressure on the very center of the central nervous system of the regime, the command and control system that controls the military and security forces.

[This, then, would make the White House and Camp David Military targets. Likewise, any federal (say Murrah) building is a legitimate target for forces engaged in conflict with another authority.]

Q: Belgrade has charged that NATO and the United States are now trying to kill President Milosevic. Is that true? Are you trying to do that? And doesn"t that violate the U.S. ban against attacking foreign leaders and their families?

Mr. Bacon: First of all, we"re not targeting President Milosevic or the Serb people. We are targeting the military and the military infrastructure that supports the instruments of oppression in Kosovo. We"ve been very clear about that from the beginning. There"s been no change of our policy, but we are going against the very nervous system that"s used to control the military and security forces.

[A rose, by any other name, is still a rose. This, also, includes any of the excluded heads of state in the included list, in a roundabout way, thereby nullifying the ban. These cheap rationalizations equate to Janet Reno protecting the Children in Waco.]

Q: But if you destroy his home, how can you deny that you"re trying to kill him or his family?

Mr. Bacon: As I said, this is a command and control system. It includes bunkers. Much of the military and security forces are run out of a variety of residences, office buildings, and other facilities throughout the country, particularly in the Belgrade area. They"re all interconnected. They"re interconnected with the political party as well.

[Conveniently, any residence, anywhere in the country, is now put on the list of potential ‘military targets’. The SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) manual sys (as near as I can remember) that a terrorist may be a disgruntled ex-employee, an ex-convict, a drug dealer or user, a foreigner or even your neighbor. This is the source of the ‘them or us’ mentality of law enforcement and the same tactic is now being used to soften, in the eyes of the press, the impact should residences be blown up. "It was a command and control center" will become far more prevalent as the ‘legitimate’ targets become less and less.]

"We have always said from the beginning that the price is going to be high in terms of degradation and damage to the military and security structure, and this is one example of that.

[Read: We are running out of targets and Milosevic is doing what we expected, therefore, we have to scare the shit out of him!]

* * *

Admiral Wilson:

* * *

"... 27 communications facilities include broadcast facilities, radio relay facilities, telephone switching facilities, all of which are important to the long term sustainability of this system -- they"re important to the redundancy of it -- and it is increasingly getting to where in various areas of the country we believe they are impaired and down to a smaller number of strands by which they can effectively command and control.

"The radio and relay facilities which have been destroyed, by the way, in many cases are dual use...

[Can you think of anything that a civilian might use that would not also be used by the military? In Waco, the FBI cut of the telephones. We could find no legal justification for this, but, well, the government can do no wrong. The cutting off of communications in Serbia, rationalized by the US government, is denying the citizens of Serbs the means to communicate, emergency services, etc. If anything, the military will have radio, field phone and other means of communication regardless of what effect it has on the civilians.]

* * *

"There is increasing evidence both among forces in Kosovo and among the Serbian army in general, that this campaign is having an impact on their morale. They"re concerned because of the inability of the air defense system to successfully engage NATO aircraft and prevent strikes. They"re concerned about the destruction of the infrastructure that supports forces both in garrison and when they"re in the field. All armies need a reliable supply and logistics network. And they"re concerned about the desertion rates, which are on the climb, and concerned about, I think, the response to orders for additional mobilization or callup of reserves which appears to be declining in terms of percentage response.

[This, in one form or another, has become a daily theme in the press conferences. I’m not sure who they are trying to convince – as you will see, shortly.]

* * *

The degree of damage to the infrastructure and particularly on oil storage and refinement capability, the production of ammunition, the storage of ammunition, and even now some of the industrial targets is having a negative impact on not only the sustainment of the force, but also, I believe, the morale of the force and the morale of the people as this infrastructure is increasingly damaged and destroyed.

[Note the "I believe". I would think that in this high tech war, something more objective than I believe could be used – unless, there is no evidence to support the conclusion.]

* * *

Q: Since one thing you can"t bomb is political will, isn"t there a good chance that without some kind of dramatic development, that a month from now, two months from now, we could be in this room getting the same kind of briefing with claims of NATO successes without any sign that the Serbs are willing to do anything except endure the attacks?

[Does it appear that the press corp. is beginning to catch on? In Waco, the foreign correspondents that I met were much more critical of what was happening than the American press. A member of the Australian press, for example, compared what the FBI/BATF was doing was comparable to what Hitler did in the thirties. The press has begun to see through the propaganda scheme that was successful in Waco, and ask harder and harder questions.]

Rear Admiral Wilson: It"s possible, I suppose. It"s very hard to gauge the level of pain that somebody is willing to endure, and I don"t know what President Milosevic"s level of pain is, but other parts of the society have a level of pain which may differ. It"s getting higher all the time, that"s all I can say.

[Pain? Where have I heard that word before? I think that maybe Clinton, by now, is beginning to feel some ‘pain’. I’m inclined to believe that the Serbs are beginning to feel some pride (national).]

Q: Admiral, could you tell us, did intelligence in fact show that Milosevic"s home was in fact some type of command center? And did intelligence indicate to you whether or not he or his family were there when the raid was conducted?

[Why must they keep going back to this subject? Is it a difficulty accepting the previous answer – that it was a military target?]

Rear Admiral Wilson: Our assessment of the facility is that it was a, it has a command and control capability as do many, many leadership locations and alternate leadership locations. I would not discuss our ability to track individuals as a matter of record].

[This answer is even more telling than the first. Why is it that such information must be classified?]

Q: Admiral, some barometers would be helpful to us. From that podium when the airstrikes were first begun about a month ago, it was announced that there were some 400 Serbian tanks in and around Kosovo. We"ve been getting from NATO and from here reports of "several" tanks, "a few" tanks taken out.

Can you tell us roughly how many of those 400 have been taken out and are no longer operational?

Rear Admiral Wilson: I think the number was probably less; I guess about 400 when you combine tanks and APCs in Kosovo and on the outskirts would be about right.

It"s a very hard number to come up with, and let me tell you why. Number one, they weren"t all deployed, number one. Some were in garrison. Some have been destroyed inside of buildings and inside of storage sheds, and those numbers, frankly, we don"t have.

It was probably a third of the tanks and APCs or 25 percent were not deployed and were in these garrisons. The number that we destroyed, we really don"t know as they were in covered storage probably. A few out and about.

[Boy, he had trouble spitting that one out. I’ll bet he was praying that no one would ask how much, per tank, it has cost NATO to take them out.]

* * *

Q: You mentioned the difficulty of gauging the impact of a bombing on the population, on the will. The history of air power from World War II, Vietnam, etc., indicates that the population gets stronger in their support of their regime as the bombings continue. Based on your all-source analysis of intelligence, is this trend continuing in Serbia? Is the population hardening in its resolve to support Milosevic?

Rear Admiral Wilson: I haven"t seen an indication. It was, I think, very hard to begin with. In the initial stages the resolve hardened. I haven"t seen any indication that it is getting stronger, and in fact some indication among the populace that it"s getting weaker. For example, I saw some reports this morning of people, some people being happy that Milosevic"s home was bombed. I"m not saying many, I"m not saying all, but some.

I think I would have more indications among the military of increasing concern and morale problems about what this campaign is doing and can do in the future and will do in the future to the institution of the military as well as the country.

[Note the ‘unsourced’ report? Probably an Albanian source. Perhaps it is difficult to explain the fact that the Serbs have been willing to make targets of themselves.]

Q: Admiral, to what degree would you say that all this damage and destruction that you"ve told us about today, that NATO strikes have incurred in Yugoslavia, to what degree do you think it has limited the Yugoslav army to resist a ground attack should NATO undertake that?

Rear Admiral Wilson: I would think it"s -- I haven"t done any quantitative analysis. My best hunch is that it would have been significant.

[Then, what are all of the intelligence personnel doing? I spent some time in Army Intelligence as a photo interpreter. Part of our job was to report troop strength and combat potentials. This, however, was thirty years ago. The equipment has only gotten more sophisticated.]

I haven"t mentioned this, but I should mention it, that the Serbs themselves in Kosovo are under increasing pressure from a resurgent UCK or KLA. They are back in there with more numbers than they had before. They"ve successfully recruited from refugee camps in Albania; and the army, which we had indications thought would have their mission finished in a relatively short period of time, is increasingly tied up with more counterinsurgency operations, not at the pace they were back in the middle of March, but higher than they were a week or two ago. There"s more concern about supply lines getting into Kosovo from northern Albania for the UCK. There"s more UCK fighters -- maybe not as well trained, but their numbers are increasing; their resolve is increasing.

So that fact combined with the destruction of the infrastructure, the reduction of the force structure, would make it more difficult in my view for a defense of the country.

Does this begin to sound as if NATO has taken the side of a terrorist organization? We seem to know a lot about the UCK and the KLA status. Must be a consequence of the cell phones we have probably given them – not as military equipment, mind you.]

* * *

Q: At the Yugo factory there are tens of thousands of Yugoslav workers that can"t work. I take it the tractor factory will put thousands out of work. Is that an intended strike against the economy of Milosevic?

Rear Admiral Wilson: The intent of the strike was to destroy their ability to sustain and repair military vehicles. It"s an unfortunate consequence of the leadership"s decision to pursue their policies that"s impacting the Yugoslav people.

[Yes, it is the Serbs that are promoting violence. Just like the bully that beats up the little kid cause the little kid won’t give in to the bully’s demands, and then the bully says it is all your fault for not giving in. Yes, a very likely story, if you control the media.]

* * *

Q: Admiral, can you just give us your best view on the mass graves?

Rear Admiral Wilson: I think that there"s a lot of areas of Kosovo that we need to examine when there is an end to this operation, and when the Kosovar Albanians can get back in their country. Most of the things I"ve seen thus far would not necessarily fall in the category of mass graves, in other words, big holes in the ground where a lot of bodies were just dumped in graves. I"ve seen evidence of individual graves freshly dug which probably means they were buried by their own ethnic group. But I think -- we just don"t know right now. There"s a lot of evidence of mass killing.

[Now, here is some real spin. There is, definitely, evidence of mass killings. There was the railroad train, the apartments in Pristina, the military barracks, and on and on. But, then, we wouldn’t expect the Serbs to bury their dead – after all, aren’t they barbarians?]

* * *

Q: Ken, you"ve said repeatedly that you"re trying not to kill civilians. I take it you"re denying that you"re trying to kill President Milosevic. How can you deny it when you"re hitting his home?

{Oops! Here comes that nasty old question, again!]

Mr. Bacon: Charlie, I answered that question earlier and I"ll give you exactly the same answer. We are targeting the head of this military regime on the one hand; we"re trying to cut that off and break the central nervous system, the central command and control system of the regime, and we"re also attacking the feet of the regime on the ground in Kosovo, the feet that are being used to stamp out or attempt to stamp out the Kosovar Albanians. This is an attack against both ends.

We made it very clear from the beginning that the attack is going to get stronger and stronger, and that"s what"s happening. It"s a systematic increase in the attack, and we will see it ratchet up further and further as it goes along. This is an air campaign that has solid support among the allies, and it"s going to get nothing but stronger.

[Well, NATO has not abided by its own charter (defense actions only), so who would expect them to abide by a policy?]

Q: Did you know whether he was there?

Q: Ken, Milosevic and a cell phone essentially constitute command and control. Was this command and control facility in that location any more extensive than that?

Mr. Bacon: I think Admiral Wilson pointed out that all of these leadership facilities have command and control elements to them; they also have security and military bunkers attached to them. They"re also tied into the propaganda system, and they"re tied into the overall nervous system of the regime, and they are fair targets in a campaign that"s designed to clamp down on the ability to control the military and the security forces and to degrade and reduce the ability of those forces to operate. These attacks will continue.

[Where does this put Ol’ Bill Bob Clinton? Is he fair game?]

Q: Was there a bunker in this facility?

Mr. Bacon: We believe there were bunkers in this facility and in many other facilities.

[Now, we are beginning to get a better idea of the sophistication of the NATO intelligence apparatus. Reach right in to anywhere – and develop a conclusion!]

General Wald.

* * *

We"ve talked about targets a lot and the amount of sorties that have been flown. Mr. Bacon mentioned some sorties earlier today. I think it"s probably a good thing to kind of look over what"s happened over the years and what a sortie today is in comparison to maybe what a sortie was years ago.

But in World War II -- and I"ll show you some pictures of some oil refineries and some other areas today that will point this out more vividly -- in world War II for one target it took 1,500 B-17 sorties and 9,000 bombs to destroy one target as we call it today.

In Vietnam that was down to about 30 sorties, F-4 sorties. It usually took about 176 500-pound bombs -- those are the equivalent of a GBU-12 laser-guided bomb -- to destroy one target.

In the Gulf War, nine years ago, we became very enamored with the fact that a laser-guided bomb could fly down a vent of a building possibly, and we had only nine percent of the bombs dropped in the Gulf War [that] were precision, but over 85 percent of the sorties, the strategic targets, were hit by the F-117 in the Gulf War. They can destroy two targets.

Today with the B-2, one sortie, 16 different targets, all weather.

So as you go through this and you start adding up sorties and numbers -- numbers are different than what they used to be, and certainly with 2,000 strike sorties today -- albeit all of those weren"t B-2 sorties -- those sorties are a lot different than they were even nine years ago, and the ability to hit targets is significantly increased.

[So, let’s do some quick math. Two thousand strike sorties. Each sortie is, say, 3 targets per sortie (16 targets per B-2 sortie and 2 targets for an F-117 sortie, this seems very fair – and, I don’t know if they count Naval ship launched missiles as a sortie). World War II, 1500 sorties per target. Two thousand (sorties) times 3 (targets) equals 6,000 targets. Six thousand (targets) times 1,500 sorties (per B-17 target) equals 9 million sorties. I don’t think that there will 9 million sorties flown in all of World War II. Five years of war, that would be 1.8 million sorties per year. That comes to an astonishing Four thousand nine hundred (4,903) sorties per day, if the same air power were used for all of Europe. Putting this in even closer perspective, we have been at ‘war’ in Yugoslavia for just thirty days. So, we have peppered Yugoslavia with more effective airpower in thirty days than we did all of Europe during World War II – with nearly absolute precision, I might add.]

* * *

Q: Ken, can you give us the latest, please, on the callup of the Reserves, the National Guard? Where does that stand now?

Mr. Bacon: It stands under continuing review. I don"t have anything for you on it now. When it"s done and sent to the White House and signed off by the President, we"ll have more to say about it.

[No comment necessary]

* * *

Q: Ken, you talk about the allied support for the campaign, but already the old burden-sharing question is being raised. It appears that we"re carrying about 60-70 percent of the load for the air campaign. That will get worse when the Apaches go into action and even worse if General Clark gets his 300 additional aircraft that he"s requested.

Why aren"t the allies picking up more of the burden of this air campaign?

Mr. Bacon: The allies are picking up a huge burden. Look at Italy. Italy is making many of its airports on the eastern coast available to these operations at considerable cost to its commercial business and tourist industry. It"s a major participant in terms of combat aircraft as well as humanitarian support. It"s allowed its ports to be taken over for the humanitarian effort in Albania and Macedonia.

The French are major participants. The British are major participants. I think there"s been very full allied participation in this campaign, and it"s going to grow. The General Clark request for 300 American planes is only part of this request. He"s also asking the Europeans to supply more planes. Every day we are seeing signs that the allies are in fact committing more. The British committed a carrier a week ago. The Canadians are committing six more F-18s, I believe. And we are seeing signs that the allies are putting more in.

[Knowing the United States policy, Italy is probably being paid, quite handsomely, for the rental of their facilities. Likewise, I’m sure most of the other players are receiving quite a benefit just for playing along with the game. We do know, however, that Russia has the IMF funding it so desperately needs, "still laying on the table", according to Madeline Albright.]

* * *

Q: In the first week of DESERT STORM the Air Force and the air campaign eliminated water supply, electricity, telephone -- tremendous shock to the Iraqi government system. A month later we haven"t delivered that kind of shock. So I address this to both of you -- general, from an Air Force point of view, and then a policy point of view.

We clearly are doing a graduated piecemeal sort of air campaign here. Quite different from what we did in DESERT STORM. Could you analyze that and comment on both of that?

Mr. Bacon: I think I"ll let my wingman who flew over Iraq answer that question.

Major General Wald: I think they"re different circumstances, first of all, and the objectives were different.

Once again, the objective here is to degrade his capability, also, a very big concern for the Serb population itself and collateral damage as we talked about before.

I think the fact of the matter is, after all that"s been said and even after Admiral Wilson"s briefing today, I think there"s a misperception of the amount of damage that"s been done to his army. I think if you start adding all that up and you look at Milosevic, he"s probably got to start wondering.

On the other hand, we continue to have all of our runways, almost all of our aircraft except for one that went down for unknown reasons. We have all of our ammunition; we have all of our food. None of our equipment is being destroyed. If you look on the balance of this thing, he"s got to start wondering what"s going on. The fact of the matter is, as Mr. Bacon mentioned earlier, this air campaign"s only going to increase in OPSTEMPO over the next weeks. So the fact that for a 100-day period in Iraq much of the infrastructure there was destroyed -- but much of the field force was destroyed because the fielded force was out in the open -- is a different situation entirely.

[Interesting that the F-117 went down for ‘unknown reasons’, as you will soon see. Bu, on to the issue at hand. Is it, perhaps, that the Iraqis did not understand the Internet? Suppose, for instance, that the sewer and water treatment facilities were targeted and destroyed in Serbia. As dysentery and other sanitation related diseases began taking their toll, outrage would develop in the European nations. Disease, induced by targeting these type of infrastructures, can best be equated to CBR (Chemical, Biological and Radiation) tactics. Most of us are not even aware that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died as a result of the destruction of the Iraqi facilities.]

* * *

Q: Can I go back to the F-117 downed, just for a minute? It"s been three weeks now, and obviously the driver has been well debriefed. He probably would have known if he took a SAM up the tail pipe unless there was an internal explosion. JSTARS and AWACS and others would probably have known if he was attacked by an aircraft such as a MiG. Why is it taking so long for us to at least get a theory, a decent guess as to how it was downed or why, what the circumstances were?

Major General Wald: It isn"t taking long at all. We"re not going to tell you what happened.

[So, ‘unknown reasons’ just turned in to a flippant ‘screw you, you ain’t worth it’! But, then, I suppose it is difficult to swallow when the unsinkable sinks.]

* * *

Q: Ken, other than innocent civilians, other than innocent civilians and collateral damage in Belgrade, are you now not ruling out any targets including the home of the defense minister, the home of the foreign minister? Any targets which may, as you say, have command and control?

Mr. Bacon: Charlie, I"ve made it a point not to discuss targets prospectively, and I"m going to stick with that point. I think that the trend of this air campaign is clear. We are going after a broader range of targets. We"re going after targets that are closer to the heart of the regime. And we"re going after targets that sustain the forces in the field. And we"re going after the forces in the field. All three of those campaigns will continue. It"s not either/or. It"s all and more.

[What is he saying? It sounds very much like, "get used to the idea. Just, don’t say so, yet. But, after all, we are running out of legitimate targets."]

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