Despite Doubts, Clinton Readies Bosnia Policy

PRESIDENT Clinton is preparing to unveil his new, tougher Bosnia policy, perhaps as early as today. Although polls indicate a majority of Americans are opposed to the use of United States military force to end the ethnic violence in the former Yugoslavia, White House communications director George Stephanopoulos says, "I think there is a general consensus for strengthened action" among Washington policymakers.

But there is no agreement either in Congress or in the Pentagon over what form that action should take.

Among the principal options Mr. Clinton is considering: air strikes against selected Bosnian Serb artillery sites and exempting Bosnian Muslims from a United Nations arms embargo so they can defend themselves against Serbs.

There is growing concern in Congress that the use of American military forces would get the US bogged down in a Vietnam-style entanglement with an escalating commitment of troops.

Many in the armed forces share those misgivings. "I'm really at loss to suggest a decent military operation," Lt. Gen. Barry McCaffrey, an assistant to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell, told the Senate Arms Services Committee on Wednesday. Line-item veto moves ahead

A diluted version of the line-item veto is moving through Congress despite the misgivings of both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans. The House of Representatives was expected to approve the measure yesterday after Democratic leaders had barely managed to cobble together a four-vote majority to win a procedural vote on the bill.

The bill, which would give the president "enhanced recession authority" to cancel some spending items, is opposed by Republican lawmakers who say it is too weak. Many liberal Democrats oppose the measure for the opposite reason: They say it would transfer too much power from Congress to the president, jeopardizing social programs they support. The newest fighters

With little fuss, the armed forces already are implementing Defense Secretary Les Aspin's new policy allowing women pilots to serve in combat.

By early next year, Air Force 2nd Lt. Jeannie Flynn is to become the service's first female combat pilot trained to fly the F-15 Eagle fighter-bomber, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Merrill McPeak announced.

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