Skip to comments.U.S. Troops End Nine Years in Bosnia Peace Force
Posted on 11/24/2004 8:24:24 AM PST by Oldeconomybuyer
EAGLE BASE, Bosnia (Reuters) - The U.S. military on Wednesday ended a 9-year peacekeeping role in Bosnia but kept on a small contingent to hunt down top war crimes suspects Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.
"Those are the two guys we want to get," said Brigadier General Timothy Wright, commander of the outgoing 700-strong peace contingent, at a ceremony to end Task Force Eagle.
Bosnian Serb fugitives Karadzic and Mladic will be the "primary focus" of some 150 soldiers who will stay on in Eagle Base in northern Bosnia, he said.
About 100 more will remain at a new NATO headquarters in Sarajevo under Brigadier General Steven Schook, commander of the outgoing Stabilization Force (SFOR).
U.S. soldiers made up a third of NATO's original force of 60,000 which was deployed in Bosnia in December 1995 under the Dayton peace treaty and became the Stabilization Force (SFOR).
SFOR shrank over the years to under 10,000 and will be replaced next week by a European Union Force (EUFOR) of 7,000.
Bosnian Serb wartime leader Karadzic and his military chief Mladic have been indicted for genocide by the U.N. war crimes tribunal for the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica and for the siege of Sarajevo during the 1992-95 war.
Failure to capture them is seen as an embarrassment for NATO, which has arrested 28 suspects in Bosnia since 1997. But the Americans insist they are not giving up.
Three 105mm howitzers fired a salute in the chilly autumn morning before a short ceremony marking the end of the mission which in total involved about 100,000 Americans soldiers over the years from several active and reserve divisions.
U.S. peacekeepers covered the north-eastern part of Bosnia, with Nordic and European troops under their wing, working among other things to secure the return of Muslim refugees expelled by Serbs from eastern Bosnia early in the war.
They arrested several war crimes suspects but encountered only one seriously hostile situation in 1997, when a Bosnian Serb mob attacked them for helping moderates take over a police station in the town of Brcko from hard-liners.
"This has not been an easy mission," said Gen. B.B. Bell, Commander of U.S. Army Europe, after soldiers of the 38th Infantry Division of Indiana's National Guard folded up the task force flag.
"But it demonstrated what can be accomplished when peoples, nations and militaries work together for a common cause."
The downsizing of U.S. forces here is part of a general shift of U.S. forces worldwide, as Bosnia stabilizes.
Bosnian Muslim leaders oppose a wholesale withdrawal, however. They see the U.S. military presence as a guarantee of Washington's continued involvement in the country.
Serbs were always American allies and will remain so. It is time that US changes its policy towards the Serbs.
Responsibility for deploying the troops and the failure to capture the war criminals and not a mention of Clinton anywhere.
I still remember Clinton telling America the troops would be home by Christmas. I guess he failed to say it would be Christmas 2004 and not Christmas 1995 as he originally stated.
Of course, he didn't stipulate which year, century, or for that matter millennia!
The mistake is to ignore the violent, criminal nature of Slobo's regime. Had the Serbs taken out their own trash, we wouldn't have had to get involved.
As it stands, the Serbs still can't bring themselves to police themselves - though the cost has been reduced from thousands of non-Serb civilans to the odd Serbian conscript who happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Fortunately I have to leave now, so I won't read another of your insane responses.
So Clinton responded by supporting Al Quaida and leveling Serbia without rebuilding it, all because of a Lewinsky diversion. War Criminal is too kind a description for bill.
When the Serbs drew a hard line in the sand against islamo-facists, they were on the front line and years ahead of the rest of us. That's not to say they didn't commit atrocities in the process.
Unfortunately, the world wasn't ready for their response, and it took 9/11 to wake HALF of the U.S. up to what was happening.
The LONGEST 6 months in HISTORY. Of course NO ONE has accused BJ Clinton of LYING to the NATION!!!
Just damn! That was quick.
Which explains why our troops have been there as long as they have without coming under attack, like, oh, say in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Your line of BS is way past it's freshness date, Leonora - the Serbs went to war in Bosnia against the "Turks", which is funny, considering they got actual Turkish peacekeepers for their troubles.
You and your Slobophilic friends just need to learn to accept ignominious defeat with some grace, rather than wasting your PR efforts on a dead cause.
If I'm not mistaken President Bush just fulfilled Bubba's promise to 'have the troops home by Christmas' ... oh that was Kosovo...
Sorry, same idea, you get my point, 'nuff said.
Kosovo is the worrysome region we have to contain.
I'm familiar with geo-political affairs.
It was a sarcastic comment noting the difference between starting things, and actually doing things.
glad you see the humour in clintons foreign policy trists!
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