The Daily Gazette, p.A7
16 July 1993.
By Robert Burns
The AP Writer
WASHINGTON — The Clinton administration, unable to win allied support for ending the U.N. arms embargo against Bosnia, should bypass the United Nations and arm the overmatched Bosnian Muslims, a senior Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee says.
Richard Lugar of Indiana also said Thursday that the United States should go ahead with air strikes against Serbian military positions and give up waiting for the Europeans to agree to participate.
President Clinton repeatedly has said he would not act unilaterally in Bosnia.
Lugar and Secretary of State Warren Christopher should call together his counterparts in Europe and tell them that in the absence of a consensus on how to end the fighting in Bosnia, the United States is ready to act alone in order to give the Bosniaks some leverage in peace negotiations with the Serbs and Croats.
“When finally push comes to shove, we have to indicate that these are things we need to do,” Lugar told reporters at a breakfast meeting.
The longer the West fails to act, Lugar said, the greater the risk that as many as 2 million Bosnian Muslims will be killed or starve as the conflicts play out.
Lugar said Clinton was right to propose earlier this year a “lift and strike” approach — lifting the U.N. embargo and conducting air strikes against Serb positions in order to give the Bosniaks some clout in the peace negotiations.
Clinton mistake, he said, was not pushing the allies harder to accept the proposal. The Europeans argue that lifting the embargo would only intensify the fighting in Bosnia and would not change the balance of power there.
“Even at this late date, the ‘lift and strike’ option has some appeal,” Lugar said.
Lugar said he saw little utility in a plan approved Wednesday by the United States and its NATO allies to provide air cover for U.N. peace-keepers in Bosnia.
Warplanes from the United States, Britain, the Netherlands and France began gathering at Italian air bases Wednesday to prepare for the operation, which could begin as early as July 22. About 60 planes were expected to take part.
“Air cover for peacekeepers is a dubious thing from a military standpoint to begin with,” Lugar said.
At the Pentagon, meanwhile, officials announced that Defense Secretary Les Aspin had ordered a phased deployment of some 30 ground attack aircraft, 10 support aircraft and around 1,500 men and women to assist in the new air operation over Bosnia.
They include: six U.S. Navy FA-18s or A-6 bombers from the USS Theodore Roosevelt; eight U.S. Marine Corps FA-18s from Beaufort, S.C.; four Air Force AC-130 special operations gunships from Huriburt Field, Fla.; and 12 Air Force A-10 and OA-10 aircraft from Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany.