The threat to use armed force to deliver food and medicine to victims of the Bosnian war is doing some good. One sign was the agreement to allow mothers and children to leave Sarajevo unmolested. The defensiveness of Serbian authorities about reports of starvation, torture and murder in their detention camps appears to be ameliorating conditions in camps. All this is accomplished before the U.N. Security Council votes today on a U.S.-sponsored resolution authorizing "all measures necessary" for humanitarian aid.
These small gains do not mean the atrocities of "ethnic cleansing" are ended. The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees can spotlight the Serbian local authorities' planned forcible eviction of 28,000 Muslims from northwest Bosnia -- but cannot prevent it. The doctrine of ethnic cleansing, which includes the detention and starvation of military-aged men, is reminiscent of Nazi-era atrocities. It has no place in a civilized world.
Lest Americans think to prevent aggression by rushing in to stop it, a general dispatched from the Pentagon told Congress the humanitarian mission would take 60,000 to 120,000 ground troops, and that imposing a cease-fire would require 400,000. That is more than this or any other nation is willing to send, or to fund.