Bosnia is no place for U.S. forcesMay God grant me the...

the Forum

April 14, 1994

Bosnia is no place for U.S. forces

May God grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

As one who fulfilled combat assignments in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, I find the April 8 headline, "White House builds case for U.S. troops in Balkans," the most disconcerting I've read since Dec. 8, 1941, "Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor."

We all deplore what all three of the warring factions in that country are doing to the innocents on all sides, but Bosnia is in the back yard of the European Community.

None of its member nations will touch the problem with the proverbial 10-foot pole, because they know the Serbs, Croats and Muslims have been fighting each other for centuries, and that their individual or collective efforts are not going to stop the hatred.

The U.S. has no overriding national interest in the area, and the current administration lacks the understanding of the use of armed force to devise clear goals for our intervention or a way to disengage when the time comes.

There is certainly no strong consensus for such intervention among the American people.

All four of these conditions should exist before any military action is contemplated.

I have flown over that terrain a number of times and am convinced that effective military action on the ground or with air power would be all but impossible.

Are we ready to see our sons and daughters killed or wounded? I don't think so.

If Mr. Clinton wants to be remembered as the president who got us into an open-ended quagmire that would make Vietnam look like a Sunday school picnic, all he has to do is get the U.S. involved in the Balkans. Will we ever have the wisdom to know the difference?

Chuck Frainie

Woodlawn

U.S. policy drift

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the victory in the Gulf War there was a momentary euphoria.

The one remaining super power would, we hoped, lead its allies to a new world order that would promote global peace and prosperity.

What actually filled the void created by the end of the old world order was chaos.

There was and is Somalia, Nazi-like genocide in Bosnia, continued threats from Saddam Hussein and the military overthrow of the democratically elected government of Haiti.

Although there does seem to be some progress toward peace in the Middle East, inept responses to dangerous challenges -- combined with the lack of vision, leadership and initiative by the U.S. government -- creates such additional threats as Korea.

Specifically, the reactive and rudderless drift in U.S. foreign policy spawns destabilizing challenges.

Ironically, the failure to build and lead a strong international coalition, because focus on the economy doesn't leave enough time, produces threats that demand even more time. Not to mention the danger to peace and prosperity.

Roger C. Kostmayer

Baltimore

Learning to hate

Michael G. McFadden (letter, April 6) urges a focus on Louis Farrakhan's deeds, not words. In what ivory tower does Mr. McFadden dwell? Words are the precursors of deeds, the instigators of deeds. Words foment deeds.

What Louis Farrakhan, Khallid Abdul Muhammad, Leonard Jeffries and Tony Martin are doing is fueling the flames of hatred and prejudice which, if not contained, will inexorably explode into deeds.

The "Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews," claiming Jewish domination of the slave trade, is a vicious amalgam of lies and distortions and has been denounced as such by African-American Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., among other scholars.

When Farrakhan's Nation of Islam publishes such garbage, what is this if not anti-Semitic hate-mongering? When Farrakhan endorses Muhammad's rabble-rousing tirades and his incitement to South Africa blacks to kill all whites, what is this if not rabid racism?

It is outrageous that this inflammatory dynamite is being spread in our schools and colleges. Does academic freedom mean the abdication of all academic responsibility, the scuttling of all standards of scholarship?

If Farrakhan wishes to raise the self-esteem of African-Americans, that is laudatory. But that is done by building one's own self-worth. Seeking self-esteem by vilifying others is a self-defeating sham and dangerous to everyone concerned.

It is unconscionable that in our institutions of learning, what students are learning is to hate.

Rea Knisbacher

Baltimore

National Bohemian is a local beer, too

After reading the article by Jon Morgan (April 4) on the sale of local beers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I feel compelled to write to you in defense of the G. Heileman Brewing Co.

This letter is in no way meant to malign the microbrewers of Maryland. I am glad that the powers-that-be are finally willing to support this local industry.

However, the article did seem to denigrate National Bohemian beer while holding aloft these microbrews.

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