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U.S. Involvement in Bosnia

* Your April 20 editorial regarding The Times’ proposals for bringing peace to Bosnia literally cries out for response.

The pursuit and implementation of the policies you advocate are, make no mistake, an act of war. To remove U.N. peacekeepers and initiate a significantly increased tactical air operation, while at the same time lifting the arms embargo, ensures direct United States entry, however distant it may currently be, as an active participant in war. Unless you and those who would advocate similar policies are prepared to support the commitment of the full might of the armed forces of the United States, and the potential consequences of such events, it would be a wiser policy to minimize U.S. involvement in such affairs. The pages of history of the region are dripping with the blood spilled in ethnic and tribal civil wars. How many of America’s sons and daughters must be sacrificed before the folly of such actions is finally recognized.

DREW J. PHILLIPS

Carson

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* Four points about Bosnia:

* Since when can American blood and treasure be put at risk upon “request” by the U.N., NATO, Boutros-Ghali, or anyone else other than Americans?

* How can we bomb with a “limited” objective? If I start with the limited objective of punching you in the nose and you respond by hitting me on the head with a baseball bat, how “limited” can my objective remain?

* Before risking American lives, why are not the armed-to-the-teeth Arab countries rushing to the aid of their Muslim brothers in Bosnia the way we rushed to their aid in Kuwait?

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* The bottom line: Our government is lying to us about Bosnia.

ANDREW GULLIVER

Los Angeles

* Bill Clinton should be reminded that he was elected President of the United States, not king of the world. If he wants to go to war, let him begin at home just outside his back yard.

RUTH HOROWITZ

Los Angeles

* Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and, earlier, former President George Bush have raised the air of hypocrisy to levels never before seen even in Washington, which is famous for hypocrisy. If Bush and his apologists in Congress had not been deaf and blind to the developing tragedy in Yugoslavia we would not have the crisis today.

Their current criticism is merely a smoke screen to divert attention from the disastrous inaction of the Bush Administration at a time when non-military action could have helped. By seeing intervention only in military terms two and three years ago and dismissing all other actions to avert a crisis, they have created the disaster in Bosnia today.

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KEITH PRICE

Los Angeles

* As a specialist in South Slavic studies for over 20 years, I read Jack Valenti’s commentary on Bosnia (April 22) with interest. His primary illustration of the dangers of “ancient feuds and the surliest of landscapes” was that “20 crack Nazi divisions were still stumbling over Yugoslavia in futile frustration when the war ended.” I hate to toss a cold bucket of reality on Valenti’s point-making, but there are no ancient feuds in Bosnia. The Croatians and Serbs never fought a war in history until 1914, when Serbia assassinated Archduke Ferdinand, starting the Third Balkan War, which quickly became World War I. The war in Bosnia is about Serbian aggression, not ancient feuds. Croatia and Bosnia have some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. There were never 20 “Nazi” (I think he meant “German”) divisions in all of Yugoslavia during World War II. As for “crack” I’m not sure what that means, but the 369th, 373rd, 392nd, and 13th “ Handschar " divisions operating in Bosnia during the war were mostly locally recruited Croatians and Muslims with German officers. Most German forces withdrew from Yugoslavia well before the war ended.

C. MICHAEL McADAMS, Director

Central Valley Regional Campus

University of San Francisco

Sacramento


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