Letter: Why Britain is still in Bosnia

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The Independent Online
Sir: I know exactly how the Grenadier Guard Major Robert Adams felt when a Bosnian orphan clutched his leg and wouldn't let go ("Oh, what a lonely war", 14 December). I went into the Bihac pocket last summer, as a foreign correspondent under Unpro for protection, to write a feature for Cosmopolitan magazine on "women fighting back". Within days of my return, I was writing an obituary for the major who showed me how the enclave was being ceaselessly attacked from two sides, despite being a UN-decla red safe zone. I have reason to believe many of the 50 or so women I interviewed are now themselves dead, in the new onslaught - this after living for two years as refugees from their own homes and husbands and children.

What I find so disgraceful is not only that the Balkans are again driving superpowers apart but that the West does not have the will to intercede with force - though our soldiers, airmen and sailors certainly would - despite just about as clear-cut a case as this benighted century has thrown up. The last words to me of the Bosnian major, which I quoted in the obituary, were that if the West does not get the Bosnian/Serb war right, it will lead to conflagration over vast tracts of Europe and beyond, for years and years to come.

Yours sincerely, LESLEY ABDELA Conock, Wiltshire 14 December

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