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We failed in Bosnia

The tragedy of 20 years ago makes the case for action

By Oliver Kamm   June 2012

Sarajevo remembers: each red chair signifies a civilian killed during the siege

One Friday in April, 11,541 red plastic chairs were laid out along Sarajevo’s main street. Each commemorated a civilian killed in the Serb siege of the city 20 years previously. That assault lasted longer than the Nazi siege of Leningrad. The Bosnian war of 1992-95 killed almost 100,000 people in a country the size of Scotland. Its anniversary sparked media commentary but not much introspection. The war was a human catastrophe for Bosnians and a disaster for European and transatlantic diplomacy.

Intervention in foreign conflicts is always risky.…

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