Lugar to Clinton: Change Bosnia Policy

SEN. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a senior Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, says the Clinton White House has allowed the Bosnian crisis to become a ``free fall'' that could spread the fighting to other parts of Europe.

``I don't think they're on the right track at all,'' Senator Lugar told a Monitor breakfast meeting with reporters yesterday.

Lugar says the United Nations, NATO, and President Clinton have unrealistically dealt with the war in Bosnia on two tracks: humanitarian and military.

The two tracks are ``antagonistic,'' Lugar says. UN forces, including troops from Great Britain, France, and Canada, have tried to keep the roads open and the people of Bosnia fed.

Those troops on the ground make it impossible to use the full military option, however, because intensified fighting would put them at risk.

Lugar says it's time to choose between these two courses by moving UN humanitarian forces ``out of harm's way'' and stepping up military action.

The senator would increase pressure on the Serbs by arming the Bosnian Muslims. And he would do that unilaterally if Europeans refused to go along. Although he sees no need for US ground forces, the US might have to play an active role in arming the Muslims, he says.

This war needs a ``stopper,'' a credible military force to slow the Serbs' advance, Lugar says. Unless that happens, ``this war could spread ... with the Greeks and Turks going at [each other].''

Lugar was particularly critical of those who use sophistical arguments to maintain the arms embargo on Bosnia at a time when its people are being slaughtered.

With some rifles, anti-tank weapons, and air cover, the Bosnian Muslims could at least defend themselves, though Lugar sees no chance of returning to the prewar status quo.

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