Despite Doubts, Clinton Readies Bosnia Policy

Article excerpt

PRESIDENT Clinton is preparing to unveil his new, tougher Bosnia policy, perhaps as early as today. Although polls indicate a majority of Americans are opposed to the use of United States military force to end the ethnic violence in the former Yugoslavia, White House communications director George Stephanopoulos says, "I think there is a general consensus for strengthened action" among Washington policymakers.

But there is no agreement either in Congress or in the Pentagon over what form that action should take.

Among the principal options Mr. Clinton is considering: air strikes against selected Bosnian Serb artillery sites and exempting Bosnian Muslims from a United Nations arms embargo so they can defend themselves against Serbs.

There is growing concern in Congress that the use of American military forces would get the US bogged down in a Vietnam-style entanglement with an escalating commitment of troops.

Many in the armed forces share those misgivings. "I'm really at loss to suggest a decent military operation," Lt. Gen. Barry McCaffrey, an assistant to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell, told the Senate Arms Services Committee on Wednesday. …