I'll leave you with one last piece. It's practically already in logical form, because that seems to be the way Stephen Shalom writes. It's also from the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, a period where everyone had to reason very carefully.

On June 17, 1999, the editors of the New York Times explained that the "signs of mass killing and wanton destruction" throughout Kosovo "ought to give pause to those who fault NATO for confronting Slobodan Milosevic." "[I]t is not too soon to conclude." wrote the editors, "that the air offensive was just."

But why would further evidence of Serbian atrocities during the war strengthen the pro-war case? Principled critics of the NATO war did not doubt that Milosevic's forces had committed horrible atrocities before the bombing and even more monstrous crimes once the bombing began. Indeed, a major argument raised by these critics against the war was precisely that the bombing unleashed a humanitarian catastrophe for the Kosovar Albanians on a scale far worse than what was going on before the bombing. Inevitably and depressingly further evidence of post-bombing Serbian atrocities will come to light. Such evidence, however, will not weaken the anti-war case. On the contrary, it strengthens the view that alternatives to the bombing should have been pursued -- as imperfect as they may have been. It seems to me that the moral burden is on the supporters of the war to show that NATO's resort to violence mitigated to some degree the suffering of the ethnic Albanians. This is not a sufficient condition for justifying the war -- for the war surely had other costs -- but certainly it is a necessary one.

The war's supporters have tried to meet this burden by making three different arguments. First, they have argued that what was going on before the bombing was not significantly different from what came later. Second, they have argued that the accelerated ethnic cleansing began shortly before the bombing, so that the bombing was a response to the ethnic cleansing, rather than a contributing factor. And, third, they have argued that the post-bombing ethnic cleansing was going to happen in any event so the bombing played no role in causing it. Each one of these arguments is unconvincing. I will consider them in turn.


  1. Analyse this argument as we did the Wall Street Journal article.



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