Feeding the Bleeding
. Never again must people be shelled on empty stomachs.
I gave my ten dollars. There was no doubt in my mind that the shell-shocked children of Sarajevo need 5-pound blocks of cheese and mountains of band-aids more than I need a 12-pack of beer. And it was heartening to see my classmates doing the same.
The organizers of the drive should also be applauded for devoting huge amounts of time in order to feed and treat Sarajevans half a world away.
But the "Never Again: Make Harvard Mean It This Time" slogan rings a bit hollow, as the drive does nothing to stop or even slow the conflict in Bosnia, which is why these poor people aren't getting anything to eat but still receive 100 times the U.S. RDA for lead.
By sending food to the people of Sarajevo, we are merely fattening up the ducks in shooting gallery. As stale as the bread may be when it gets there, it's not going to stop a 60mm mortar shell.
Fundraising-friendly terms such as "genocide" and "holocaust" aside, the situation in Bosnia is a war. A old-fashioned, shoot-em 'up, hack 'em down war. A war with nasty by-products such as systematic rape and death camps, but a war nonetheless. And it is the war, rather than it's dietary side effects, that needs to be addressed by the world community.
The European plan, which would have the Bosnian Muslims with a weak, surrounded enclave would not stop the bloodshed. This new, isolated, state would be attractive targets for a renewal of Milosevic's drive for a "Greater Serbia."
Add to that the fact that none of this sides would be satisfied with such a pee and large numbers of foreign troops would probably be needed to keep it, and you have a recipe for disaster, or at least serious chickening out on the part of the West.
The new alliance between the Muslim-dominated Bosnian Government and the Bosnian Croats may offer a way out of the war, but only if the international community is willing to fully back the new "federation." And in the Balkans that means with guns. Lots of them.
The arms embargo on the Bosnian government must be lifted if the new coalition is to survive. Serbia clearly has little respect for the borders of sovereign nations that are recognized by the U.N., as is evidenced by the current situation. What they do have respect for is weapons larger and more accurate than their own. NATO must provide all logistical assistance possible, including air support to the fledgling coalition. The no-fly zone must continue to be enforced, as it was last week by NATO fighters.
With NATO logistical support and a large cache arms, the new coalition would stand a good chance of survival. After all, the Bosnian Serb army is not a welloiled fighting machine. After about two years of raping and pillaging Bosnian cities and countryside, the Bosnian Serb army more closely resembles a chain-smoking Charlie Manson fan club than a disciplined fighting force.
When confronted with the possibility of NATO airstrikes, they promptly pulled most of their big guns out of the Sarajevo area. But the Serbs simply took them to other cities to help out with the slaughter there. Clearly, a giant game of musical howitzers is not the answer. Helping the Bosnian government achieve military parity is. Only then will they stand a chance of survival.
Harvard is supplying a pat of butter. The rest of the world must supply the guns.
Edward F. Mulkerin III's column appears on alternate Mondays.