Mounted on a United Nations armored combat vehicle blocking the entrance to Sarajevo's Marshal Tito Barracks, a 12.7-cal. machine gun points in the direction of Bosnian Serb forces just 220 yds. away. The gun is menacing but can almost never be used, and it serves less as a weapon than as a symbol of the paradox faced by the peacekeepers in Bosnia: they are soldiers forbidden to function as soldiers. "You are not allowed to act like a fighting force and return fire," says Guillaume Grouzelle, a French chief corporal whose job it is to guard the barracks.

That's not entirely...

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