U.S. Troops A Success in Bosnia

  • Share
  • Read Later
WASHINGTON: President Clinton surprised few Thursday when he announced his open-ended commitment of U.S. troops to the NATO effort in Bosnia-Herzegovina. "I honestly believed that in 18 months we could get this done," Clinton said. "I wasn't right, so I don't want to make that error again."

But the impatient should consider this: Dayton is starting to work. And Clinton deserves credit. Reporting from the region, TIME's Alexandra Stiglmayer says that over the last five months the U.S. has dragged NATO from its passive role into a boldly interventionist one -- arresting war criminals, removing obstructionist police chiefs, and paralyzing hostile TV networks. The results are happy: refugees have at last started returning to their homes, and peace-minded politicians on all three sides have begun to emerge. Meanwhile, the U.S. is still without a combat casualty.

President Clinton's refusal to set a new deadline -- leaving open even the possibility that the U.S. commitment would outlast his time in office -- was probably wise; progress in the region, diplomats say, is still measured in inches. The key to defeating the enemies of peace in Bosnia may be to outlast them.