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The West and Bosnia, Serbia

January 16, 1994

* Your editorial on Jan. 8, "The West and Bosnia: What Now?" correctly presented the stagnation our policy has taken in that region. Last year the United Nations voted to use air strikes to protect residents in Sarajevo if Serb shelling did not stop. Apparently, the Serbs have correctly determined that this was just an idle threat, as shelling of Sarajevo has resumed, and instead of hitting them with air strikes as promised, the U.S. and U.N. merely condemn them verbally.

Your editorial advocates lifting the arms embargo against the Muslims. Clearly this seems like a fair thing to do, in light of the inequality of arms availability between Serbs and Muslims, but at the same time, this strategy is guaranteed to increase the fighting. Perhaps a better solution lies in more adequately cutting off arms to the Serbs. The international sanctions against Serbia are designed to do just that, but have failed miserably. The entire region is unstable, as surrounding countries brace for waves of Yugoslav refugees, but the ethnic Serbs are still receiving their supplies. Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is demanding the sanctions be lifted, even as his troops are active in Bosnia.

Milosevic says he no longer supplies the Bosnian Serbs. The U.N. should demand that U.N. troops be placed on all Bosnia-Serbia border crossings in return for easing or lifting the sanctions. If Milosevic is serious about wanting to end the fighting, he should have no problem with this idea, and U.N. troops at these points could effectively cut off all military supplies.


Laguna Beach

* If your Jan. 4 cartoon depicting a Serb sniper shooting a baby (Commentary, Pat Oliphant) did not deal with such a tragic matter, its poor taste would have been quite amusing. The cartoonists, of course, are entitled to their freedom of expression by the First Amendment. But actually, while your cartoonist was letting his imagination run wild, we received a news wire report from Serb Sarajevo of yet another instance in which the Muslim snipers killed a woman and wounded another person in the Serb district of Nedzarici.

The Muslims fired artillery shells at the Serb civilian and military positions on Kasindolska Street (Sarajevo) as another "attempt to provoke Serb artillery counteraction, in order to accuse the Serbs of attacking civilian objects." Yet, the gullible (or malicious?) Western media report only the alleged Serbian shelling.

The quiet genocide which the U.N. sanctions are inflicting upon the 10 million innocent Serbian civilians also goes unreported. During my September trip to Serbia and Bosnia, I visited several hospitals and saw with my own eyes empty medicine cabinets, and talked to many exasperated doctors and desperate patients.


Phoenix, Ariz.

* I seem to remember a threat made a while back that if the Serbs used artillery barrages on Sarajevo again U.S. warplanes would attack their positions. Well, the Serbs are shelling and I see no air strikes against them. Have Clinton, the U.N. and all the major powers in Europe lost every shred of honor, dignity, morality and decency?

It's as if they all stand on the bank of a river watching men, women and children drown in agony while they argue over how to launch the rescue boat without getting their shoes wet.


San Juan Capistrano

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