Peacekeeper: the road to Sarajevo

Lewis MacKenzie, Vancouver: Douglas and Mcintyre 1993

By Metta Spencer (reviewer) | 1993-11-01 12:00:00

If I could convince both sides to stop killing their own people for CNN," said Major-General Lewis MacKenzie in a press conference, "perhaps we could have a ceasefire." MacKenzie was right, but what he said was taboo. In fact, he had already arranged to leave his post early anyway. He was no longer an acceptable mediator, having been vilified all around. The book provides convincing evidence that its author was right in refusing to take sides in the Bosnian war. "There is enough blame to go around," he concluded soon upon ariving in Yugoslavia. The treachery of these warring groups is on a scale unmatched in many other wars. Read it and see for yourself.

MacKenzie's book is an autobiography that describes a not-very-reflective jock-soldier for the first 100 pages. Then his story shifts into a diary-format, as he depicts the war in Sarajevo, which became more hideous every day. Reflectiveness is not what was required there, but the ability to make fast decisions with good judgment. I found myself trusting the guy. In the end he offers much practical advice too, such as: The U.N. needs better administrative and remunerative systems. The U.S. has a worldwide system of bases and supplies which it should make available to the U.N. instead of just paying its dues. The war in Bosnia cannot be resolved militarily. The only way to go is through a constitutional compromise.

Peace Magazine Nov-Dec 1993

Peace Magazine Nov-Dec 1993, page 14. Some rights reserved.

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