To: All Msg #89, May-29-93 04:29PM Subject: Troops to bosnia? Senator Barbara Boxer, Senat
From: Paul Kienitz
To: All Msg #89, May-29-93 04:29PM
Subject: Troops to bosnia?
Senator Barbara Boxer,
Senator Dianne Feinstein,
Congressman Ron Dellums,
Enclosed is a copy of a letter I have sent to president Clinton, regarding the
situation in Bosnia and what I see as our duty to prevent genocide. Please
consider it addressed to you as well. I know that for you, as for myself, a
decision to use American military force may be difficult, even repugnant, but
I hope you can support such action if the President undertakes it. This time,
I believe the alternative is far worse. Thank you.
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From: Paul Kienitz
To: All Msg #90, May-29-93 04:29PM
Subject: Troops to bosnia? 
Dear President Clinton,
For nearly the first time in my life, I find that I must advocate the use of
American military force. As someone who has opposed almost every military
action the U.S. has taken in the last 25 years, from Vietnam to Iraq, this is
not an easy decision to reach. But I can see no other legitimate choice. I
am speaking, of course, about the war in Bosnia.
Many people warn against getting involved in "another Vietnam." But the Balkan
situation is in no way comparable to that. In fact, it is much more
comparable to the situation in Kuwait after Iraq invaded -- except that this
time, there is far more justification for outside intervention than there was
By all reports, the level of atrocity perpetrated on the Moslem population in
the area reduces the Iraqi behavior in Kuwait to an insignificant trifle by
comparison. The Iraqi army took over, it killed some people, it stole
valuable goods, but it certainly did not try to obliterate the Kuwaiti
population. It did not try to starve entire cities, it did not concentrate
its full military destructive power on civilian targets, and though rapes in
wartime are routine, it certainly did not organize rape on a mass scale.
This last crime is particularly heinous. For many victims of even a single
rape, let alone repeated ones, the psychological aftereffects are equivalent
to those of torture. For many, the phrase "a fate worse than death" is no
empty cliche, but a plain statement of fact. This atrocity will inflict
lasting damage on its victims that will affect their lives and the lives of
those around them for many years, and in all likelihood the harm done will
reverberate through several, poisoning the lives of people not yet born.
So what can we do? Doing nothing will lead to genocide. Our present policy
of trying to keep arms out, while the Serbian forces have uninterrupted
sources of supply, will lead to genocide even sooner. Air strikes will not
stop the fighting unless they are raised to a scale such that, as in Iraq, our
own forces create far more bloodshed than they are preventing.
There is only one course of action that can actually _stop_ the destruction,
and reduce the bloodshed rather than increasing it. That is to send in a large
military ground force and physically interpose it between the Serbian forces
and their enemies. If such a force appears with decisively superior strength,
the fighting will in all likelihood end at once wherever it appears. What
should be done with the Serbian and other armies in the area -- drive them
back to their own borders, or surround them and capture or destroy their heavy
military equipment, or some other course of action, I must leave to others to
But whatever we do, we _must_not_ allow genocide to continue unchecked.
What's at stake is not just the lives of the Moslem population of Bosnia-
Hercegovina, but the risk of other attempts at genocide around the world.
Hitler knew well that the world had done nothing about the slaughter of
Armenians in the early years of this century; had he known otherwise, who
knows how he might have changed his murderous plans.
Naturally, we must make every effort to have a united policy with the members
of NATO and, if possible, Russia. The latter may be difficult because,
according to Hamid Algar, professor of Near Eastern Studies at Berkeley,
conservative elements in Russia opposed to President Yeltsin's reform policies
are the main suppliers of the Serb forces with military goods. This could
make it very awkward for Yeltsin to involve any Russian forces. But even
verbal support from him would help a lot. As for western Europe, we managed
to drum up their support on far poorer grounds for the war against Iraq;
surely it's not impossible to do at least as well this time. Whether their
reluctance to act is influenced by the anti-Moslem feeling that is becoming
widespread in Europe, I would not care to speculate. But as professor Algar,
who is himself an Englishman, points out: it would be hard to imagine them
acting this same way if the situation was one of Moslems committing genocide
In summary, I urge you to pursue whatever policy you can put together that
brings an _immediate_ halt to the slaughter and atrocities in Bosnia.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank