The road to Hell may be paved with good intentions, but Mr. Clinton is sending our troops to a hell in Bosnia on a road that is paved by Bob Dole.
Now, I don’t agree with those who say that we have no interest in Bosnia. As members of the human race we have a responsibility to do what we can to stabilize the region and end the wholesale slaughter of the innocent, but sending our troops over there to support a peace that doesn’t exist with no clear cut goal in mind other than “being there” just doesn’t make any sense.
“Peace through strength.” That was our motto during the Reagan Administration, and we would do well to remember it. The instability in the region is due to primarily one factor — the weakness of the Bosnian Muslims. When Yugoslavia spit apart the Serbs had access to the military equipment of the former Yugoslavian army. The Bosnian Muslims had no heavy equipment, and we helped institute an arms embargo to keep them defenseless. It was an exercise in international gun control, and we stood idly by and let it continue until the Muslims lost most of their possessions, their land, and a good part of their population. We’ve gone well past the point of no return.
If the Clinton Administration wanted to send in the troops to enforce an agreement to return property to the rightful owners, punish the legitimate war criminals, and immediately begin equipping and teaching the Muslims how to defend themselves that would be understandable. A years commitment under the right circumstances would make sense. But, no, according to the Dayton deal no weapons will be delivered for 90 days and no heavy weapons for six months.
So just exactly what are we going to do over there? We can’t take sides. What if fighting breaks out? We’ve got to stay neutral. How do we do that? Shoot at the Serbs for awhile and then shoot at the Muslims and the Croats? It’s not that easy to tell them apart. Truckloads of uniforms have been stolen, so what do we do? Ask them to stop long enough to see their passports, check their American Express cards or run for cover?
Dole refused to allow the Hefley bill which would deny funds for the mission to come to the floor for a vote even though it passed the lower House by an overwhelming margin. Had he not tipped his hand and waved the white flag of surrender so soon, Dole might have forced members of the Administration to come up with some type of strategy other than just being there and leaving after 12 months.
Now the leader of the Upper Chamber is casting about for some type of language that will provide members cover and at the same time show support for the troops. The best way to support our troops is to leave them home until there is something constructive for them to do other than to provide cannon fodder and hostage bate. Sadly it appears that both Clinton and Dole are willing to sacrifice a certain number of American soldiers in order to show the world how much they care. Responsible members of both Houses will have no part in it.