Kel Britvec [letters, Aug. 9] takes William Lind to task for claiming that during the Kosovo war "the military information coming out of Belgrade was generally more accurate than that coming from [NATO]" [letters, July 24]. He defies Mr. Lind "to find the more than 50 planes that Belgrade claimed NATO lost."

It's interesting that The Post reported on June 17 the little-known fact that U.S. forces lost at least nine unmanned aerial vehicles in Kosovo. Better known is that NATO lost five manned aircraft in battle and accidents, for a total of at least 14 losses. Thus, Belgrade's claims of 76 losses represent only about a five-fold exaggeration.

By contrast, NATO reported on June 10 that it had destroyed 122 tanks, 222 armored personnel carriers and 454 artillery and mortar pieces. Subsequent on-site inspection revealed, according to the July 12 U.S. News and World Report, that "NATO jets may have destroyed fewer than 20 Serbian tanks, a similar number of artillery pieces, and fewer than 10 armored personnel carriers." Thus, NATO's original claims represent up to a twenty-fold exaggeration.

While Belgrade clearly lied about its brutality in Kosovo, Mr. Lind's characterization of the relative accuracy of its reporting appears to hold up.


Research Fellow

Brookings Institution