SEN. JOE BIDEN URGED CLINTON TO BOMB SERBS OVER THE SIEGE OF SREBRENICA
Tougher Action on Bosnia Reviewed, Senator Wants the U.S. to Bomb Serbs
Beaver County Times, p. section D
21 April 1993.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Clinton is extending his review of a potentially more aggressive U.S. response to the war in Bosnia amid congressional criticism of his reliance on sanctions and diplomacy to end the fighting in the former Yugoslav republic.
Options that Clinton was exploring again today with his senior advisers include providing arms to the Bosnian government and an allied aerial assault on Serb artillery.
After spending “quite a bit of time” on the review Tuesday, the president said he had not decided whether to go beyond the tough economic punishment the U.N. Security Council will impose on Yugoslavia beginning next Monday for supporting an “ethnic cleansing” offensive against Muslims [Bosniaks].
Meanwhile, NATO’s top commander testified that allied air strikes on Serbian artillery sites would have a limited effect on ending the bloodshed.
“There is no indication you can be sufficiently effective and sufficiently persuasive,” Gen. John Shalikashvili, who also heads the U.S. European Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Shalikashvili said that once the bombing began, the Serbs likely would dig in and there would be little chance of resuming negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the crisis.
“If you just bomb a little bit, you push them over the edge,” he said.
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., D-Del., disagreed and accused the administration of not doing “a damn thing” to help civilians trapped under Serb gunfire in Srebrenica.
He said military commanders had agreed unanimously that bombing the artillery sites would save hundreds of lives, even if the Serbs subsequently resumed their attacks.
Nothing the opening this week of the Holocaust memorial in Washington to 6 million Jews killed by Germany and its collaborators in World War II, Clinton said “even in its more limited manifestations it’s (ethnic cleansing) an idea that should be opposed, and I couldn’t help thinking about that.”
He told reporters that the Holocaust and what is happening in Bosnia-Herzegovina were not identical, but the United States “should always seek an opportunity to stand up against, at least to speak out against inhumanity.”
Clinton said he had not made any decisions and that the review would be extended though the next several days.