Long Beach Press Telegram May 16, 1993
When that theater of the absurd in Greece ended, Lord Owen euphoric statements fell short of nominating Slobodan Milosevic for the Nobel Peace Prize. Among his statements, "no need for bombs," Owen continued his condescending teaching of foreign affairs to Bill Clinton. It is noteworthy that all bombs dropped thus far have been Serbian, and since the Serbs have attained all their territorial goals, there is no need for further bombings.
Even before the ink dried on Radovan Karadzic's signature and his Cheshire-cat grin faded, the slaughter of Muslim and Croatian civilians intensified. However, the real drama came at Pale when Milosevic's creations made their second mistake of the war in former Yugoslavia.
The first occurred when the Serbs started the bombardment and siege of Dubrovnik. The Balkan conflict, with its unpronounceable names, referred to by George Bush as a mere "hiccup," would have remained a backwater civil disorder.
The Serbs' second mistake was not ratifying the Vance-Owen plan. Had the self proclaimed Bosnia Serb "parliament" endorsed the plan, it would have played the way the Vance Accord did in Croatia over a year ago: not one item has been implemented. There has been no disarming of the Serb militia or recognition of the preexisting borders. After Milosevic signed the "peace" in Croatia, all the attention then focused on Bosnia. The continuing daily shelling of towns and cities in Croatia with death, destruction and ethnic cleansing of Croatians, has been ignored by media as a war that wasn't.
The new Vance-Owen Plan, guaranteeing Bosnian Serbs a secure connection between Serb-held lands gave them better terms than the original one. Implementing the plan by U.N. troops would have been de facto recognition of land that Serbs captured. Muslim troops would not be allowed to enter Muslim areas. The U.N. Russian troops, with their appalling record, as peacekeepers in Croatia, will "enforce" the U.N. mandate in Bosnia. The rejection would prove to be a blessing because its implementation is, in reality, a dismemberment of the legitimate Bosnian government.
Serbian shrewdness correctly interpreted the West as trying to avoid action at all costs. For the first time in the war, meaningful options were proposed - arming the Muslims and Croatian Bosnian and launching air strikes.
Clinton's proposals dismayed European diplomats. They hysterically lamented that they would not stop the war, but escalate it and inflict more casualties. Their proposal is further negotiations, which will only result in more dead Muslims and Croatians, who are the real casualties of the war.
Ninety percent of the casualties have resulted from high visibility artillery and tank guns. The U.S. Air Force has electronic surveillance capability of targeting and neutralizing these threats within seconds. Serbian gunners may be savage but they do not have a death wish. No rational person believes air strikes are going to stop the war, but they would go a long way toward reducing the Muslim death rate and destruction.
After lifting the arms embargo, casualties will then becomes Serbs, which for some reason is repugnant to British and French diplomats. Is this an injustice? The Bosnians had the misfortune when the war started to have Western leaders who were wimps. George Bush, John Major and Francois Mitterrand are the tragedians of this history.
Clinton characterized the destruction of Bosnia as a smaller version of the Holocaust. Doing nothing and allowing the slaughter to continue would condone Serbian policy.