Military Times quotes Brent Scowcroft Center Resident Senior Fellow for Defense James Hasik on Canada’s air campaign in Iraq:
The U.S. military was under severe restrictions to avoid casualties and collateral damage, so the U.S. strategy was to bomb targets in order to harm Serbia’s economy to pressure then Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to agree to withdraw his forces from Kosovo, Hasik said.
“In other words, they kinda figured out that they weren’t killing anybody on the ground, really, because the Yugoslav army was really good at hiding stuff; the weather was really bad and they a dictum from [President] Bill Clinton that said, ‘I want to try to fight a war without actually getting anyone killed,’ ” Hasik said.
The French and Italians were very uncomfortable with this approach, Hasik said. As a result, the French refused to bomb certain targets and the Italians threatened to stop allowing NATO to use Italian airfields.
But unlike the Kosovo campaign, most of the targets that the U.S.-led coalition are military, not economic, he said.
“Bombing a radio station in Belgrade is a really questionable target — and would be, even if you hadn’t killed anybody in the bombing,” Hasik said. “Bombing a Humvee in the middle of Mosul is not a questionable target, even if you accidentally kill a bunch of civilians in the process — that’s legitimate collateral damage. It’s the way we adjudicate how wars will are fought.”