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letter about Hersch columns

The initial motivation for this letter was the column investigating the possibility of deploying international peacekeepers in Yugoslavia by Matthew H. Hersch '94 ["Neutrality is not the answer for a unified Europe," Sept. 20]. However, to discuss Hersch's column adequately, I must describe other, more important aspects of this crisis.

Hersch's final conclusion that a peacekeeping, lightly armored European force would not be capable of conciliating the warring parties in the Croatia is a valid one. However, Hersch's discussion was based on misleading generalizations, upon which I would like to comment.

Hersch states "No one wants them [the European peacekeeping force] there." According to all news sources this is a false statement. The Serbian Communist Government and the ex-Yugoslavian People's Army (the YPA, Europe's fifth largest army) has been opposed to sending any kind of international observers into Croatia, although they recently yielded to allow unarmed international observers to enter. On the other hand, the Croatian government welcomed foreign observers who dared to visit the areas of conflict, and Croatian pleas for international intervention have been countless.

In the same paragraph Hersch claims that "Croats want to keep on fighting the central government until they win." Anybody who has been following the reports would know that Croatia wanted to exercise its constitutional right to secede from the federation, not to fight a devastating war. Furthermore, Hersch did not recognize that Croatia is not fighting the central government but the ex-YPA, dominated by Serbian generals who openly admitted that they do not obey the orders of the central government.

Hersch went on to assert that "When the troops go home, the Serbs will still be hammering the Croats." This is equivalent to asserting that when the United Nations forces leave the Persian Gulf, Iraq will still occupy Kuwait. Once Croatia wins its independence and international recognition, there will be many ways of protecting its sovereignty.

Goran Arbanas G->