View Poll Results: Who Was Right?

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  • Gen. Clark -- NATO should have stormed the aeroport.

    1 11.11%
  • Gen. Jackson -- Clark was being foolhardy, and NATO should have negotiated.

    8 88.89%
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Thread: Pristina International Aeroport -- Right or Wrong?

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    Pristina International Aeroport -- Right or Wrong?

    Hey all,

    I thought I'd bring to the attention of DP the incident, at the end of the Kosovo War, which occured at Pristina International Aeroport. This isn't news -- it's been historical fact for more than a decade. But I've never seen a thread debating the rights and wrongs of it.

    Here's the story:

    Incident at Pristina - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



    Pristina International Airport, where the incident happened.
    Date 12-26 June, 1999
    Location Pristina International Airport, Pristina, Kosovo
    Result Russians gain airport

    Belligerents
    NATO Russia


    The Incident at Pristina was a confrontation between the NATO forces and Russian forces over the Pristina International Airport in the aftermath of the Kosovo War. The Russians beat the NATO troops to the airport and gained control of it.


    Incident

    The Kosovo War ended on June 11, 1999. The NATO commander-in-chief, Wesley Clark, ordered Sir Mike Jackson to take over the Pristina International Airport in Pristina, the capital city of Kosovo. On 1226 June 1999, Russian and NATO forces had a standoff over the airport. NATO forces were tasked with seizing the airport, however the Russians, of which there were approximately 200,[2] beat the NATO task force to the airport and thus gained control of the airfield.

    In response, American NATO commander Wesley Clark demanded that British General Sir Mike Jackson storm the airport with paratroopers, an order that is still debated. Jackson refused, reportedly replying, "I'm not going to start the Third World War for you".[3]



    Aftermath

    After securing an agreement by which Russian forces would be integrated into peacekeeping duties, independent of NATO, Pristina Airport was reactivated by 53 Field Squadron (Air Support) Royal Engineers as a military airbase on 15 October 1999 and then started to operate international air transport to several European cities. During that period of time the Russian KFOR along with other NATO forces were in charge for security of the airport. Airport Pristina initially began its operations with 45 employees.

    So, that's it. Was General Wesley Clark being too brazen in ordering an attack against the Russians? Was Sir Jackson right in refusing the order?

  2. #2
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    Re: Pristina International Aeroport -- Right or Wrong?

    whoa....this is really old stuff. I'd say this is one of the big reasons Clark got canned by the joint chiefs way back when.

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    Re: Pristina International Aeroport -- Right or Wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by StillBallin75 View Post
    whoa....this is really old stuff. I'd say this is one of the big reasons Clark got canned by the joint chiefs way back when.
    Yeah, well, it was certainly a debatable call. What do you think? Who was right, and why?

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    Re: Pristina International Aeroport -- Right or Wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Marteau View Post
    Yeah, well, it was certainly a debatable call. What do you think? Who was right, and why?
    I don't have all the details, so when you make judgment calls like that you really have to be able to put yourself in someone else's shoes, which we really can't do because we can't know what info or intelligence Clark and Jackson had at that time. That being said, given what we know in hindsight it seems to be that Wes Clark was in an overly aggressive mindset. Reportedly Jackson said to him "I won't start World War III for you."

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    Re: Pristina International Aeroport -- Right or Wrong?

    Quote Originally Posted by StillBallin75 View Post
    I don't have all the details, so when you make judgment calls like that you really have to be able to put yourself in someone else's shoes, which we really can't do because we can't know what info or intelligence Clark and Jackson had at that time. That being said, given what we know in hindsight it seems to be that Wes Clark was in an overly aggressive mindset. Reportedly Jackson said to him "I won't start World War III for you."
    That's the story. :P Great quote, too.

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    Re: Pristina International Aeroport -- Right or Wrong?

    Clark didn't order an attack on Russians in the typical meaning of the word. He wanted to land helicopters to block off the runway. While idiotic, he wasn't ordering a shooting confrontation. Clark was a moron for ignoring the accurate words of the field commander who had effectively neutralized the Russians their, in addition for risking a political ****storm with the Russians and damaging our relations with the Brits. Still, to claim that Clark was starting WW3 would be going to far.

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