Letter: If we do not help, Bosnia's blood will be on our hands

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The Independent Online
Sir: When I turned to your leading article on Bosnia this morning, I thought for a minute that I had bought the wrong paper. I am at a loss to explain why the Independent, for so so long a staunch upholder of the right of a free multi-ethnic Bosnian state to defend itself, now calls upon the Western powers to 'read the riot act to the Bosnian government'.

Neither - given the huge disparity in equipment - can I fathom your confident judgment that the Bosnians 'have been . . . out-generaled and outfought'. One might as well say that the Hungarians were 'out-generaled' in 1956. Are you trying to suggest that the Bosnian government deserves to suffer the truncation of its country?

Perhaps you could also explain why you accuse the Bosnian Prime Minister of 'sloganeering'. Is it because he continues to castigate the West for abandoning Bosnia to aggression, ethnic cleansing and dismemberment? As for 'squander(ing) Western sympathy', surely the Bosnian government has already done that by defying all predictions and refusing to curl up and die, or submit to a diktat peace?

The belated lifting of the arms embargo, provided it is accompanied by continued Nato air cover, is necessary to enable the Bosnian government to defeat Serbian aggression, or at least to force some kind of just settlement.

Of course, this will involve more fighting as the Bosnian government tries to reclaim land lost while fighting for two years while Western European governments tied their hands behind their back with an unjust arms embargo, and prevented the Americans from coming to their aid.

The blame for the coming bloodshed should therefore be placed squarely on those who have hitherto consistently blocked all attempts by the Bosnian government to defend itself.

Yours sincerely,

BRENDAN SIMMS

Peterhouse

Cambridge

12 September

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