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Balkans Turmoil

July 01, 1993

* Hugh De Santis states in his commentary "When Your Options Fall Between Bad and Worst" (Opinion, June 20) that Serbs are wrongly viewed as bullies who, like all cowards, would retreat if forcibly challenged. This is not true. Serbs thrive on this self-created image of themselves, fostered by the Western media for too long.

The truth is that they feel invincible and strong only when they confront a militarily poorly equipped rag-tag army and especially when they use long-range artillery and mortars to destroy whole cities and their civilian populations. It is time the world stops thinking of them as indestructible! They retreat when confronted by a stronger, though poorly, armed force like the Croatian militia. They have backed off when threatened by international military intervention, which unfortunately proved hollow. Force still has to be met by force.

LINDA SULLIVAN

Yorba Linda

* Now that the U.S. has committed over 300 troops to Macedonia, what happens if the Bosnian war spills over? We become embroiled in another Vietnam, which will only grow and escalate.

They are talking about a three-part partition of Bosnia; that seems worth trying. Let certain United Nations countries oversee the partition for different regions and share the responsibility. Stable governments--that is the key.

GARY TRAXLER

Port Hueneme

* One voice that I have not heard in the Bosnian tragedy is any great outpouring of concern by the Muslim countries for the fate of their Islamic brothers and sisters being systematically destroyed in the Balkans.

To the contrary, all I have heard on this subject is Iraq's perfidy in trying to sell oil to the Serbs in exchange for spare parts for its military machine.

With the Islamic countries longstanding position of support for the Palestinians, it is curious that they have apparently chosen to let the Bosnian Muslims face extinction alone. Or is it that there is no real concern for the Palestinians either, except to use them as a wedge against Israel?

DAN WITT

Studio City

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