Letter: Bosnia's slide into state of criminality

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The Independent Online
Sir: Correlli Barnett must have read my letter (31 December) very hastily if he thinks it contained a recommendation for 'the commitment of large (EC or British) military forces to an open-ended campaign in mountainous country'.

I fear, though, that we shall get just that unless other measures (ie, sanctions) are applied with a lot more enthusiasm than at present - not perhaps physically too difficult, if only the will was there. A couple of men at the Danube lock at the Iron Gates, backed by patrol boats - available just downstream at the Romanian base at Turnu Severin - could have a wonderfully restraining effect on riverborne contraband.

The point seems to be this. All peoples must be free to arrange their political affairs without interference, until matters slide into the state of criminality that has been reached in Bosnia and seems likely to spread. It was precisely Hitler's domestic crimes which should have given warning of what was to come.

If Mr Barnett believes that the Bosnian kind of trouble is no threat to our, that is, EC, interests, he must be living in another century indeed - possibly that of Walpole whose unedifying remark he quotes with approval, perhaps surprisingly, since Walpole - isolationist Norfolkman or not - got us into the War of Jenkins' Ear, and lacked the wit to get us out or the principle to resign when he could not do so.

Yours faithfully,


Thurlton, Norfolk

2 January