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Why Repeat History in Bosnia?

The article ``Why Only US Can Win Peace,'' Dec. 2, is a rare act of journalistic courage. It points out, once and for all, who is at fault in Bosnia. The fault is with ourselves. As a nation, we love to wring our hands over horrors like the Holocaust and make great speeches about how we should never let it happen again. Well, it has happened again. And we refuse to act now, just as we refused to act 50 years ago. We should be ashamed of ourselves. Jay Putt, Hauppauge, N.Y.

Why Repeat History in Bosnia?

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The article is a one dimensional analysis of a complex problem. Blaming the failure of peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia on the US's restricted participation is wishful thinking. Remember that the US's strong involvement in Somalia did not result in much peace.

The conflict in Bosnia includes ethnic and religious rivalry that has smoldered for hundreds of years, among a population that is so thoroughly intermingled that separating the various sides would be impossible without condoning ethnic cleansing. Comparing this situation to Kuwait where clear borders exist is ridiculous.

Further assuming a ground war in Bosnia would be as simple as the desert war in Iraq is unfounded. The Iraqis could be evicted from Kuwait and prevented from returning. In Bosnia, all the factions live within the war zone. A forceful intervention would result in either a prolonged and bloody occupation (think Vietnam) or a short and bloody abandoned occupation (think Somalia).

Certainly future UN peacekeeping missions stand a better chance of success with greater US support, but concluding that this is the only criterion for success disregards the intractable nature of some conflicts and the limited value of militarily enforcing ``peace.'' Andrew Seirup, Shelton, Conn.

Prop 187: quick fix to big problem

I am writing in response to the numerous articles and editorials written on the immigration problem. Specifically, I would like to address the recent vote on California's Proposition 187.

Few seem to know or care what Prop. 187 really says or means. People around me comment, ``Something has to be done about the immigration problem.'' Is Prop. 187 that ``something''? Since when have quick fixes solved any long-term problems? Is this the new attitude of democracy?

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Most who illegally immigrate here, do it out of economic or political pressure. We hire them to do our dirty work, pay them low wages, and yet we want to deny them an education and medical help. If action needs to be taken, it is with those who do the hiring.

We are a country based on fairness. Prop. 187 is not fair. Ida Gearon, Bell Canyon, Calif.

Register Canadian gun owners

I hope the article ``Canadians Take Aim At Registering All Guns,'' Dec. 2, will be noticed by the Republicans who are about to take power in Washington.

It certainly would be in keeping with their political philosophy to make it mandatory for gun owners to register and be responsible for the cost of liability insurance for weapon ownership. Perhaps they might also be asked to pay a bullet tax to offset the cost of new prisons, now being built to house the underemployed and homeless that all too often become criminals when they are tempted to use a gun for TV-inspired illegal gain. Paul Brailsford, Ipswich, Mass.

Haiti's improved police force

The opinion-page article ``Haiti Needs Police From the Community,'' Nov. 23, contends that our agents in Haiti didn't involve its people in setting up a new police force. Instead, the US relied on the old attaches operating under the military junta.

In a primitive country like Haiti, people are poor and uneducated, with no democratic experience. There aren't many men with appropriate backgrounds just running around loose.

But the US has done a better job in Haiti than most people expected. It is interesting to note that anything going wrong down there gets a play in the media (riots, killing, corruption) whereas any quiet success and slow improvement is ignored. Bruce Stewart, Ashland, Ore.

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