Thursday, September 16, 1999 Published at 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
Nato defends Kosovo campaign
Nato planes were widely criticised for failing to hit targets
Nato's supreme commander for Europe Gen Wesley Clark has revised downwards initial estimates of the damage inflicted by alliance planes on Serb military targets during the Kosovo conflict.
But he still maintained that the 78-day air campaign had been a success.
"We destroyed, we struck enough. The conflict ended on Nato terms," Gen Clark said.
During the air campaign, Nato said its planes had hit hundreds of Yugoslav tanks and other military vehicles.
And when foreign journalists were able to go into Kosovo, they found little evidence of damaged Yugoslav armour.
The details were given during a report on a Nato investigation into the air campaign, which ended on 10 June and paved the way for K-For to enter Kosovo.
Gen Clark flatly denied suggestions that Nato had lied about its effectiveness during the war, pointing to the stacks of strike report files and emphasising: "We have confidence in these results."
In an assessment of the campaign, Gen Clark acknowledged that only 26 tank wreckages - "physically documented catastrophic kills," in the evaluation jargon - had been found on the ground by inspection teams, but said the Serbs had removed the rest.
"There was extensive evidence that the Serbs quickly removed their damaged equipment from the battlefield," said Gen Corley, displaying footage of what he said were bomb-damaged Serb tanks and mobile artillery being hauled north out of Kosovo.
Investigators went back exhaustively over cockpit videos, pilot debriefings and aerial surveillance, as well as evidence later collected by teams on the ground.
"We intentionally destroyed decoys to prevent the Serbs from using them as ambush traps," Gen Corley said.
In other cases, questionable evidence ruled out claiming hits although pilots had confidently reported them.
A section of Gen Clark's report which is to remain classified deals with Nato's own deficiencies in the air campaign and the subsequent deployment of peacekeeping troops to Kosovo - and the lessons which should be drawn from them.
The BBC's defence correspondent Jonathan Marcus says most experts now believe that, while the attacks in Kosovo itself were necessary, the real damage to the Yugoslav leadership's will to fight was caused by the attacks on fixed targets in Serbia proper.