November 27, 2005

Bosnian Quagmire Enters 11th Year

There is supposedly good news out of Bosnia, meaning that our military involvement in that region may end reasonably soon.

I’ve been meaning to get around to finding out what’s happened in Bosnia in the ten years since it has virtually disappeared from the headlines. But now The Captain has saved me the work (HT Ed Driscoll):

Let’s make clear what happened here. We occupied a primarily Muslim state for the last ten years, trying to separate three different ethnic factions from each other. We initially went into Bosnia to quell a civil war and a genocide in progress, and then waited ten years for the kind of political progress that would make our presence unnecessary. Despite this quagmire, we kept our troops in the country and continued to work on a political construct based on democracy — and we gave it ten years without loud demands for precipitous withdrawal prior to an effective resolution.

Now compare this with the hysterics over our position in Iraq. We have spent a year after the toppling of the Saddam regime fighting an insurgency while establishing a democracy designed to bring together three ethnic/religious factions at each other’s throats. In two years, we have progressed much farther than Bosnia and will have the first elected, constitutional government at least a full year ahead of Bosnia’s. Three elections will have been held before the Bosnians hold one.

According to this unofficial FAQ page last updated in 2001 (but which I believe is accurate, since conditions are essentially unchanged), the US has 8,000 frontline military personnel in Bosnia and a few thousand support personnel in Hungary.

Congressmen and Senators who claim that we have not had enough soldiers in Iraq have been mostly, if not entirely, silent on the continued holding-pattern deployment of troops in Bosnia all these years.


UPDATE: Remind me–Wasn’t a large part of our mission to protect the Muslims in the area from persecution by other ethnic groups? If so, where’s the gratitude?


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