'Never Again': Bosnia and Conventional Arms Restraints
Zucker, G. Samuel, Contemporary Review
THE fiftieth anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising has been honoured by our saying, still again, 'Never Again'. Then we witness the slaughter in Bosnia and ask how we can make those words more than lessons from history. There have been three main responses to this question, none of which I believe is acceptable. All three responses call for us either to resign ourselves to inaction in Bosnia or to take action while denying, and hence endorsing, comparable atrocities. A fourth response is necessary, one that combines remedial and preventive action while not denying that any remedy is selective.
Among the responses of inaction, the first is isolationism: it simply ignores the question by invoking the need to address problems at home. The opposite response is moral intervention, to declare the tragedy of Bosnia a genocide, and as such, that the European Community and United States must try to stop it. This response correctly recognizes that isolationism is inhumane -- using geographic borders to excuse indifference to the murder of others. It also recognizes that isolationism has no limits: arbitrary borders can be extended infinitely. If Americans should not care about Bosnians because Bosnians are not Americans, then no one in New York should care about anyone in California, nor should Whites concern themselves with Blacks.
The third response is realism. It correctly points out the failure of moral interventionism, that it is 'selective prosecution' to invoke 'Never Again' for Bosnia and not for other areas of bloodshed. The nature of murder in Bosnia is not unique. 'Ethnic cleansing' drives most conflicts -- killing between different tribes, races, religions. Nor are numbers a guide. After 130,000 deaths in two years in former Yugoslavia, cries of 'Never Again' are hard to ignore, but the cries began at 15,000 deaths. The cries were heeded in Somalia after uncounted -- too many -- deaths. Yet no one cries 'Never Again' for the 15,000 killed in Huambo, …
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Publication information: Article title: 'Never Again': Bosnia and Conventional Arms Restraints. Contributors: Zucker, G. Samuel - Author. Magazine title: Contemporary Review. Volume: 264. Issue: 1537 Publication date: February 1994. Page number: 57+. © 1999 Contemporary Review Company Ltd. COPYRIGHT 1994 Gale Group.
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