October 23, 2002



Not that I disagree with much of what Steven Den Beste writes tonight, but his facts on Kosovo are a little skewed again:

After years of war in Yugoslavia, and countless deaths, and routine rapine and torture, a few weeks of bombing over European objection resulted in the end of significant hostilities there, and it's been relatively peaceful ever since. It's probably worth noting that most of that bombing was done by American aircraft. (Virtually all the rest was done by the British.)

Um, not quite, Steve. The actual figures on munitions dropped over Kosovo by strike aircraft, culled from a variety of sources, work out like this:

USA: c. 11,000 (not counting strategic bombers or cruise missiles), in 10484 strike sorties
France: 1132, in 1217 sorties
Britain: 1011, in 1008 sorties
Canada: 532, in 556 sorties
Other NATO: c. 1900 (Dutch and Belgian F-16s dropped about 500 munitions between them, and Italy another 500; the rest is odds and sods.)

The British contribution was also rather weak when one considers fully half of their munitions dropped were unguided cluster bombs, delivered by RN Sea Harriers. Only Canada and the US were able to make the majority of their close-support weapons drops with precision-guided weapons (a draining of Canadian Forces smart-bomb stocks that has still to be replenished.)

Germany is conspicuously absent; but that's because the Luftwaffe devoted their entire effort, a squadron of Tornadoes, to air defence suppression, flying 10 per cent of the total Allied suppression missions. France, meanwhile flew 21 per cent of the Allies' air reconnaissance missions, in addition to the strike missions above.

NB: I'm not saying the US couldn't have gone it alone in Kosovo. I'm just saying that giving the RAF credit for "virtually all of the rest" of the air effort over Kosovo is giving the Brits WAY too much credit, this once.

Posted by BruceR at 02:10 AM