Real Aid to Bosnia

April 16, 1993

It is time to exempt the government of Bosnia from the United Nations arms embargo on Yugoslavia. One must resist the temptation to say Muslims of Bosnia, because the defenders of Sarajevo and the Bosnian state have always included ethnic Serbs and Croatians. Reginald Bartholomew, the Clinton administration's special envoy to the region, is already talking of arms for Bosnia.

It is time to consider bombing Serbian artillery positions, particularly around Srebrenica and Sarajevo, which are slaughtering civilians. And almost time to do it. Even Lord Owen and his former mediating partner, Cyrus Vance, have suggested force such as air strikes unless Bosnia's Serbs agree to their peace proposal.

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has caused an uproar in Britain by condemning the government of her successor, John Major, for not doing these things. This manages to confuse the issue with her disappointment in Mr. Major, old Thatcher jokes and fears of Serbian reprisals. But everyone knows her description of the European Community as behaving "a little like accomplices to massacre" is true. The British and French peace-keepers who accompany the beleaguered food and medicine convoys in Bosnia might have to be withdrawn for their own safety. It is questionable whether they do as much humanitarian good as air strikes on artillery positions would.

Germany's government is fending off demands from its own Christian Democratic Party for German pilots to intervene to save Bosnian lives. The French government is planning to remove Gen. Philippe Morillon from command of peace-keeping forces in Bosnia because he is too dedicated to saving Bosnian civilians, which offends the Serbs.

Clearly, Slobodan Milosevic, political boss of Serbia, and Radovan Karadzic, boss of Bosnia's Serbs, don't believe the West will do anything to stop their fulfillment of "all Serbs in one state" on the bodies of dead Muslims. They need to be disabused.

Tougher economic sanctions on Yugoslavia, radio broadcasts to hammer home the truth of Serbian atrocities, exemption of Bosnia from the arms embargo, arms to Bosnia's defenders and air strikes against Serbian artillery positions in Bosnia should be implemented in quick order. If the message gets through, the air strikes won't need to. Without this, the West is acquiescing to atrocity on a scale designed to destroy a people.

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