Armed Peacekeepers in Bosnia

Armed Peacekeepers in Bosnia

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The incredibly complex drama of war and edgy peace that unfolded in Bosnia, or Bosnia-Herzegovina, during the 1990s gave birth to a fascinating and instructive series of military operations that constitute the subject of this study. The nature of circumstances and missions in Bosnia poses a variety of challenges to the historian. First, given their recent occurrence, it is remarkably difficult to frame these events in historical perspective. This is in part because many outcomes and consequences reside somewhere in the future. The SFOR mission itself only came to a close late in 2004 as this work was going to press. Equally significant is the fact that vast quantities of relevant documents remain classified. As a result, the chapters that follow necessarily form a preliminary attempt to capture the most important dynamics of the history yet unfolding in this unfortunate country. An additional hurdle is the chaos that attended the Bosnian Civil War and the nonlinear character of modern post-conflict operations, whether they emphasize peacemaking, peacekeeping or peace enforcement. In contrast to the story of most wars, peace operations in Bosnia did not unfold in a progression of events that yield a seamless narrative. Rather, the course of history in Bosnia was, and remains, a fitful affair. As the final chapter observes, success in peace operations is hard to measure and self-deception is a constant hazard. One critical aspect of this condition was the ceaseless rotation of U.S. and other units through Bosnia. In some respects, the mission began again with the arrival of each new commander, division, brigade, and battalion. History is most often told from the perspective of commanders, especially in official histories. More recently, interest has grown concerning the viewpoint of individual soldiers. If anything, this work emphasizes the middle ground, the vantage point of field grade officers. This is in part a function of happenstance, since majors and lieutenant colonels constitute a highly accessible population at the US Army Command and General Staff College. Nevertheless, it is the authors' perception that these are most often the individuals best situated to comprehend simultaneously the view from above and below, in other words the whole picture. Regrettably, very senior officers frequently reside within a cocoon of obsequiousness created by military culture and well-meaning staff officers. Thus, all but the most discerning perceive developments through the filtering lenses of operations plans, briefing slides, and third-hand reporting. Conversely, ordinary soldiers, with some notable exceptions, frequently have no grasp of the strategic or operational context in which they carry out their duties. To be sure, no single perspective of modern operations is sufficient by itself. Indeed, if oral history interviews, upon which this study extensively relies, prove anything, it is that every participant has a distinctive experience. Historical truth, then, is at best a thoughtful approximation.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 248 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 13mm | 336g
  • Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1508701032
  • 9781508701033