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More Guns Equal More Casualties in Bosnia

Supporters of the partial lifting of the Yugoslav arms embargo argue, ``The US has a moral obligation to see that the [Bosnian] government receives arms to defend itself against the Serbs.'' (``False Promise, False Hope in Senate Resolution on Bosnia,'' May 25.) This argument ignores the fact that the front lines have been relatively stable for over a year, and that most of the recent fighting was initiated by Bosnian Muslim forces.

Lifting the arms embargo would do nothing to solve the Bosnian conflict and would only prolong the bloodshed. More people die each day from gunfire in the US than in Bosnia, so it seems illogical for American politicians to believe that more arms will solve Bosnia's problems. Muslim forces would use newly acquired weapons for offensive purposes, resulting mostly in civilian casualties.

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Were the Bosnian Muslims to receive weapons from their supporters (in addition to the clandestine arms shipments they already receive), the Serbs would certainly turn to their foreign friends for more arms. Experience shows that pouring weapons into a civil war ensures its continuation. From Afghanistan to Angola, terrible wars have been sustained by the ``good'' intentions of foreign arms suppliers.

The Bosnian conflict can only be resolved by negotiation. Unfortunately, prospects for a settlement are far worse today than before. It must be made clear to the Muslims that there is more to gain from negotiating with the Serbs than from waiting for foreign arms shipments or NATO warplanes. George Tintor, London

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