BOSNIA: THE DISGRACE
first posted in October of 1996
One would think that after the disaster of appeasing Adolf Hitler in
the late 1930's the Western democracies would have learned. Once again,
however, the world watches the West vacillate and fail to prevent a naked
slaughter in its own back yard. As an American, I could hardly contain
myself at the time reading the newspaper and knowing that my country had
the power to stop this conflict and did nothing. How ironic it is that
when President Clinton finally decided to move seriously with an extensive
use of military air power the killing ended almost overnight. Why he did
not act years earlier I have no idea!
Will democracies ever learn how to deal effectively
and decisively with thugs with guns?
A reader took issue with a few of my assertions on this page.
You read his e-mail and my response and make up your own mind!
"I would like to express my views..."
A U.S. soldier stationed in Bosnia-Herzegovina rejects the above response.
"I volunteered to come, feeling it was my duty
to use my skills to help bring peace to this world."
photo by Christoper Morris
A child cries for his father a young policeman killed in Bosnia
on August 11, 1991.
Bijeljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, April 1992
Ron Haviv, Saba Press Photos for TIME
Look at the above photo!
A Serb irregular in 1992 kicks the body of a Muslim woman executed seconds
after coming to the aid of her husband. During the war Muslims were routinely "cleansed" from
their homes by Serb forces.
There is perhaps nothing more honorable than
a soldier faithfully doing his duty and serving his country to the best
of his abilities. However, there is nothing worse than a thug pretending
to be a "soldier" wearing a uniform and wielding the power a gun gives
him. Such an individual is a bully plain and simple. In the best sense
of the word, I have always believed in the warrior who can fight with
honor. A warrior does not kill prisoners. A warrior does not kill children.
A warrior does not rape women. We will never know how the "warriors" in
the above photo would have fared in open combat with professional soldiers
from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces. They seem to be good
at shooting defenseless civilians, though.
Vukovar, Croatia, November 1991
photo by Ron Haviv
Serb irregular militiamen kick the corpse of Croatian civilian.
Employing "ethnic cleansing" and "scorched earth" tactics, Serb forces
expelled Bosnia Croats and Muslims from their homes and villages by terror.
Methods used in ethnic cleansing include mass murder, torture, pillage,
abuse in detention, rape, castration, and other forms of violence. I doubt
there were many Croats left at the end of the war in the village pictured
above. Although atrocities were committed by all sides during the Bosnian
conflict, it is generally agreed that the Serbs performed most of them
- if only because they had the preponderance of guns and power.
During all the years that this happened the
West basically just watched. The United Nations was involved, but they
were worse than useless militarily serving as targets in their baby blue
helmets and vehicles. Jesus!  When will we learn? Why does
it always take us so long?
* Sources and facts can on this webpage can be corroborated at the
"If we fear so much a country the size of Ohio
armed with antiquated Russian weaponry, then we deserve all the
scorn and shame the Albanian Kosovars can heap on us for having
involved ourselves in the region in the first place!"