U.S. troops in Bosnia: Wimpier even than the French.THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION has committed itself to prosecuting Saddam Hussein Saddam Hussein
(born April 28, 1937, Tikrit, Iraq—died Dec. 30, 2006, Baghdad) President of Iraq (1979–2003). He joined the Ba'th Party in 1957. Following participation in a failed attempt to assassinate Iraqi Pres. and other high-ranking Iraqi Ba'athist leaders before a war crimes tribunal like that established for the former Yugoslavia. But America's unwillingness to follow through on such commitments in the Balkans is undermining our credibility. The continued freedom of Bosnian-Serb war criminals Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic is a standing indictment of American seriousnes-stand resolve.
Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb political leader, was indicted INDICTED, practice. When a man is accused by a bill of indictment preferred by a grand jury, he is said to be indicted. in 1995 for ordering the siege of Sarajevo The Siege of Sarajevo was the longest siege in the history of modern warfare, lasting from April 5 1992 to February 29 1996.
It was fought during the Bosnian War between the forces of the Bosnian government, who had declared independence from Yugoslavia, and the Yugoslav and the deaths of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys after the fall of Srebrenica in July 1995. He and his military commander, Ratko Mladic, along with Saddam, stand as the most prolific butchers of Muslims in the post Cold War decade. Yet Karadzic has been living for most of the past seven years on Bosnian territory controlled by the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. and France. True, Karadzic is said to be well guarded. But his is a low-rent operation compared to What the United States will likely face in rooting out Saddam's cronies in post-war Iraq. If the United States can't catch such a big fish in the small pond of Bosnia, what can be hoped for in much larger Iraq?
Still more disturbing, a lack of fortitude rather than capability is the heart of the problem. At the outset of the NATO NATO: see North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
in full North Atlantic Treaty Organization
International military alliance created to defend western Europe against a possible Soviet invasion. mission in Bosnia in 1996, the Clinton administration Noun 1. Clinton administration - the executive under President Clinton
executive - persons who administer the law placed a high premium on avoiding casualties. They feared arrests might spark an uprising. Those fears allowed Karadzic to pass openly through U.S. Army checkpoints at that time. Later, the State Department supported his arrest, but the Pentagon opposed it. Last year, the U.S. general then commanding NATO peacekeeping NATO Peacekeeping Operations: NATO Afganistan Operations
Failing to bring Karadzic and Mladic to justice avoids trouble in the short term. But it keeps the Bosnian kettle at a simmer and virtually guarantees that American forces will remain tied down there indefinitely. What's more, there's good evidence that even the short-term costs would be minimal. When British Prime Minister Tony Blair came to power in 1997, he initiated a policy of forcibly arresting war-crimes indictees in the British sector of Bosnia. The British have now arrested 15 indictees with nothing remotely approaching the violent demonstrations that the naysayers predicted. During the same period, U.S. forces have arrested only five indictees, outdone out·do
tr.v. out·did , out·done , out·do·ing, out·does
To do more or better than in performance or action. See Synonyms at excel. even by their notoriously passive French counterparts, who, with much assistance from the Germans, were involved in six.
Karadzic's well-known involvement with organized crime hasn't tarnished his reputation with simple Bosnian Serb nationalists who still see his "ethnically cleansing" half of Bosnia as a glorious achievement. If he is allowed to reemerge after the departure of international forces, he would instantly repolarize re·po·lar·ize
intr.v. re·po·lar·ized, re·po·lar·iz·ing, re·po·lar·iz·es
To return to a polarized state; undergo repolarization. Bosnia and unravel all the hard-won advances toward reform and reconciliation.
President Bush must make arresting Karadzic a priority. And to do that, he must order his State Department, Defense Department, and CIA CIA: see Central Intelligence Agency.
(1) (Confidentiality Integrity Authentication) The three important concerns with regards to information security. Encryption is used to provide confidentiality (privacy, secrecy). to cooperate in finally bringing Karadzic to The Hague. He should appoint a task-force executive, with coordination authority, to guarantee that bureaucrats, especially in the intelligence agencies, don't stymie sty·mie also sty·my
tr.v. sty·mied , sty·mie·ing also sty·my·ing , sty·mies
To thwart; stump: a problem in thermodynamics that stymied half the class.
1. or obstruct this vital mission.
Capturing Mladic will mean taking a firm line with Serbia, where politicians feign feign
v. feigned, feign·ing, feigns
a. To give a false appearance of: feign sleep.
b. ignorance of the 15 to 20 indicted war criminals living in their territory. We already know that Belgrade's former Yugoslav military has sold weapons and military know-how to rogue states like Iraq and Libya. How can we trust the leaders of post-Milosevic Serbia if they can't force their military to cease such violations or turn over war criminals like Mladic?
Today, a war crimes tribunal for Iraq may be more the work of White House speechwriters than State Department lawyers. But our ability to enlist allies in our fight to take out Saddam will depend on the credibility of our commitment to post-war Iraq. And success once we're there will depend in part on our determination to arrest war criminals who murdered Muslim civilians. President Bush can help us succeed in Iraq tomorrow by doing the right thing in Bosnia today.
KURT W. BASSUENER is an independent foreign policy analyst. ERIC A. WITTE is an analyst at the Coalition for International Justice in Washington, D.C.