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U.S. Shouldn’t Abdicate Its Duty Stay Involved U.S. Credibility Is At Stake

Remember the hand-wringers who said U.S. forces would suffer bloody debacle at the hands of Saddam Hussein? They were wrong.

Remember the isolationists who said Hitler’s blitzkrieg wasn’t our fight and that his Holocaust wasn’t our concern? They were terribly wrong.

So are the gray-haired hippies who say the United States has no interest in the Balkans. What were they doing in history class? World War I ignited in Sarajevo. Europe is neighbor to still-unstable Russia and is home to America’s oldest and most important economic and political allies.

Critics of U.S. involvement in Bosnia claim Bosnia’s “ancient” feuds couldn’t possibly yield to peace. But the settling of older, bloodier feuds - in Palestine, South Africa, Ireland - shows peace is possible for those with courage to make it. Contrary to widespread myth, Bosnia’s ethnic groups generally have coexisted since the 15th century, except for bloodbaths incited by outside invaders - Croatia in 1941, Serbia in 1992. It is Bosnia’s combatants who now plead for U.S. involvement, for they are weary of death and recognize this imperfect peace plan as infinitely better than a continuation of war.

Certainly, the United States could abdicate as a force for human rights. We could go back to a yuppie version of 1930s isolationism. We could leave our talented, all-volunteer military on the shelf, for ceremonial use in campaign commercials. And as the GOP’s neo-isolationists offer the Pentagon $7 billion more than it wanted, we could smile and call it a jobs program for weapons plants in their congressional districts.

But the United States has a higher calling. Americans rightly were incensed when Serbs attacked Bosnia with a genocidal ethnic-cleansing campaign: concentration camps, mass executions, systematic rape, eradication of villages and the shelling of civilians. Our president acted rightly when he finally ordered serious air attacks against these killers, prodding them toward this fall’s successful peace negotiation.

Having led in the push for peace, having convinced allies to join a U.S.-commanded peacekeeping force, the United States must not cut and run now. Without credibility, a peacemaker is doomed. The world’s would-be Hitlers are watching.

, DataTimes MEMO: For opposing view, see headline: Why now in Bosnia? Any why so late?

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From Both Sides CREDIT = John Webster/For the editorial board

For opposing view, see headline: Why now in Bosnia? Any why so late?

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = EDITORIAL, COLUMN - From Both Sides CREDIT = John Webster/For the editorial board



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