NATO's battle plan would involve air and cruise missile raids on Serb positions in Kosovo. "If that fails to force Milosevic to withdraw, NATO would follow up with attacks inside Serbia designed to cripple the Serb military," says Waller. Then again, nobody in Kosovo would be surprised if the West failed to act on its threats. "There was an almost identical massacre back in March with an almost identical Western reaction," says TIME Central Europe bureau chief Massimo Calabresi. "Given the West's record, it's perfectly possible that they end up doing nothing again."
Horrific images of mangled civilian corpses in Kosovo will weigh heavily on the minds of diplomats at the U.N. Security Council Thursday, especially since they reveal a massacre that occurred after the Serbs were warned such behavior would trigger military reprisals. Still, the best the U.N. is likely to produce is another resolution condemning the Serbs. "With the Russians fiercely opposed, the Security Council is unlikely to expressly authorize the use of force," says TIME correspondent Douglas Waller. "But if Kofi Annan reports that the Serbs are not complying with U.N. demands, NATO may take that as a go-ahead for a military strike as early as next week."