Cheney warns against sending US troops

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SEATTLE (Reuter) - The US Defence Secretary, Dick Cheney, said last night that sending US troops to the former Yugoslavia would probably cause nothing but 'enormous pain and agony' both for Americans and Yugoslavs.

'How many Yugoslavs do you want us to kill in order to get them to stop killing one another?' Mr Cheney said in answer to questions from a civic group. 'How many casualties are you willing to accept in US forces?' Mr Cheney said such intervention would be a 'big mistake' because of the complexities of the situation, the lack of clear boundaries between warring factions and the lack of any straightforward military objective.

The seemingly easy victory in the Gulf war may have made some Americans think mistakenly that similar techniques should be used in Yugoslavia, Mr Cheney said. 'It is not the kind of situation that we faced in the Gulf, where we had clear-cut boundaries, you knew who the enemy was,' he said.

'We had a situation which (made it) easy to use our sophisticated capabilities to go destroy the Iraqi army. Unfortunately, we may have made it look too easy.'

Mr Cheney called for a diplomatic solution in Yugoslavia, including tightening of sanctions.