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The US Is Appeasing Fascism and Genocide

1992'S TROUBLING LEGACY

By Frank McCloskeyRep. Frank McCloskey (D) of Indiana is a member of the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees. / December 31, 1992



A BALKAN dictator with a small army of cowardly thugs has brought genocide back to Europe, a half century after we defeated a much more powerful brand of fascism and swore "never again."

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The United States has flinched in its first encounter with post-cold-war fascism. We have betrayed the victims, hoping that appeasement would deter. But it has only strengthened the aggressor. We have emboldened hatred and intolerance throughout Europe and allowed Europe to regress to the era of the League of Nations, Munich, and death camps. We have put at risk the long-term security of the US. President Bush is responsible for this fiasco. President-elect Clinton will have to set it right. The genocide

Genocidal Serb aggression began in Croatia in the summer of 1991. It killed "only" 10,000 (proportionately equal to 650,000 deaths in the US), because Serb tactics and ambitions were still being developed and met strong Croat armed resistance. But the intent was clearly not just to conquer land, but also to destroy all non-Serb life in that land. In early 1992 the West responded with appeasement. Serb fascists went unpunished, and United Nations "peacekeeping" allowed Serb forces to consolidate their gai ns while protected from Croat counterattacks.

Genocidal Serb aggression moved to Bosnia in spring 1992 and escalated sharply. Serb forces had grown more fierce, systematic, and ambitious. Bosnia, heeding Western injunctions against military preparations and counting on Western support, has had little means to resist.

Serb forces in Bosnia have killed between 128,000 and 200,000 persons - almost one in 10 Bosnian Muslims. They particularly target educated, white-collar Bosnia Muslims in the death camps. This is "elitocide," or the sociopolitical decapitation of a people. Women of child-bearing age are also targeted for destruction in the rape/death camps. I know no name for this new horror. The UN predicts up to 400,000 deaths this winter, from Serb weapons and from equally purposeful Serb subjection of Bosnian Musli ms and Croats to freezing weather, famine, and disease. By winter's end the death toll is likely to reach a half million - a quarter of Bosnia's Muslims. Half of Bosnia's Muslims have already been forcibly displaced, and their homes and cultural institutions destroyed.

At the end of 1992, the West's response remains appeasement. Despite a trade embargo, the threat of an enforced no-fly zone, and eventual war crimes trials, the key Western message for Serb fascists is expressed by the UN/EC mediators in Geneva. The message, shorn of rhetoric, runs as follows: "We will continue to legitimize you as the spokesman for the Serb nation. We will stick to diplomacy no matter what you do. We will continue to hobble your victims with an arms embargo. You can achieve de facto par tition of Bosnia just as you did in Croatia. We worry about your next victims, Kosovo and Macedonia, but have no real deterrent threat to make."

We know that genocide is underway in the Balkans. Our television screens show us bits of it. The alarm is sounded by the press, human rights groups, political figures around the world, and many governments. Western leaders compare Serb fascists actions to those of the Nazis.