A Response to US Airdrops Over Bosnia

The American airdrops of supplies to eastern Bosnia are an important and life-saving step. But after 10 months of siege, the Serbs are stepping up their attacks on the Muslim enclaves still holding out in eastern Bosnia. Without additional outside assistance, many will die. United Nations Gen. Philippe Morillon's decision to take a stand at Srebrenica - where 2,000 may have died already - is a clear sign of how desperate the situation has become. We must respond.

At a minimum, we urge that the United States help enable the medical evacuation of the severely wounded. The Serbs have prevented the evacuation of military-age men and have continued to shell civilians. Medical and surgical equipment in the enclaves is clearly inadequate.

Unless the UN convoys get through immediately and medical evacuations by land begin, we ask that the US take the lead in putting helicopter evacuations in place; Serb casualties without access to medical care should also be assisted. It should be made clear that any forces firing at or locking on to the helicopters will be subject to attack from the air by escorting aircraft. Diplomatic and other pressure should be put on both Serbs and Muslims to allow the airlift. Freedom of movement for displaced peop le, seeking to reach Srebrenica, should be assured by the Serbs.

We also urge that cargo airdrops be continued, and that they operate from lower altitudes during daylight hours. We commend President Clinton for ordering the airdrops. However, further measures are necessary if eastern Bosnia is to be spared massive loss of life. Lionel A. Rosenblatt, Washington Refugees International The Serbs' arms sale

Regarding the cartoon "Serbs Now Selling Arms to Somalis," Feb. 25: Jeff Danziger has captured the essence of what we in the American Bosnian community have been trying to express for the last year. The West has been forcing the Bosnians and the Croatians to fight almost unarmed against the Serbian Army, which has been unhurt by the arms embargo. Actually, not only are the Serbs producing and importing enough weapons for their own needs, but they have enough weapons to export.

President Clinton has now joined this great inequity on the battlefield. It seems that he will let this arms imbalance and ethnic cleansing continue - but as a public relations gesture he drops a few tons of food. With hundreds of Bosnians being killed and disabled every week by superior Serbian firepower, the dropping of food is a nice gesture, but it doesn't address the principal problem. Without weapons, the Bosnians are going to die anyway. Stjepan Balog, Warren, Mich. A five-point plan

Despite American airdrops, Serb massacres of Muslims in Bosnia continue. President Clinton must take action immediately, including the use of force. He should take the following steps:

(1) Enforce the no-fly zone declared by the United Nations last fall. Serbian planes violating it would be shot down and their airfields bombed. (2) Impose a cease-fire. After 72 hours, any forces violating the cease-fire would be heavily bombed. (3) Pressure the UN Security Council to remove the ban on arm shipments to the Bosnians. (4) Transport Turkish and other Muslim troops to Bosnia to take offensive action on the ground against Serb gunmen. (5) As a last resort, send American troops to help impose

a settlement.

The administration's undercutting UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's proposal is outrageous and gives comfort to the Serbs. Jon C. Billigmeier, Northridge, Calif.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
QR Code to A Response to US Airdrops Over Bosnia
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today