|Atkins, before replying to that, counter the arguments relating to our discussion on geopolitical causes. I do not want this post to be your way of escaping an embarrasing situation.
Amnesty International (yes, again) believes that in the course of Operation Allied Force, civilian deaths could have been significantly reduced if NATO forces had fully adhered to the laws of war.
NATO did not always meet its legal obligations in selecting targets and in choosing means and methods of attack. In one instance, the attack on the headquarters of Serbian state radio and television (RTS), NATO launched a direct attack on a civilian object, killing 16 civilians. Such attack breached article 52 (I) of Protocol I and therefore constitutes a war crime.
"Collateral Damage" is the worst and most bastardly term you have coined to cover your ass (before that, you used the term "soft target", much more FRANK).
At the beginning of June 2000, the War Crimes Tribunal Prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, announced that she would not prosecute NATO for war crimes (due to subtle pressure from various NATO and political leaders). A week following that, Amnesty International released a report accusing it of committing serious violations of the rules of was and even a war crime. (And a "Berlin Tribunal" came to an opposite conclusion to Carla Del Ponte's.)
Even though there will always unfortunately be civilian casualties in any wars, there are still international rules of war that help define situations when civilian deaths count as violations of those laws or not. For over ten years, Amnesty has been reporting on human rights violations against ethnic Albanians.
Another issue that was also of concern before and during the bombing commenced was the place of NATO with respect to the UN Security Council. NATO bombing of Serbia, should have legally been performed with the authorization of the UN Security Council.
The fact that US/NATO broke international law and therefore once again undermined the UN seems to have been missed out in all the various press reports from mainstream media. Although International Law was invoked when three American soldiers are captured by Serb troops. Just love American hypocrisy...
And if international law was something that could be ignored, even the US Congress had not approved war and therefore this bombing was illegal according to US law as well as international law.
Regardless of by-passing the UN, it didn't stop NATO blaming the UN for any ineffectiveness in rebuilding processes -- even though it is normally ignored by those countries that lay the blame that they are often the ones who are responsible for reducing monetary funds or political support to the UN in the first place.