Bill Clinton photo

Exchange With Reporters on Bosnia in Arlington, Virginia

December 22, 1995

The President. Good morning.

Q. Mr. President, do you hope to go to Bosnia in the next month or so?

The President. I want to go when the Secretary of Defense and General Shalikashvili tell me it's an appropriate thing to do. I don't want to interrupt the deployment in any way. You know, we've had a few weather delays, but I'm here to get a briefing on the deployment and what's going on and how we're doing. I've got a few questions I want to ask. If it were solely up to me, I would go tomorrow, literally tomorrow. But I think it's very important that I not do anything which interrupts the deployment. I can go as soon as it's consistent with the military mission, and I will do that.

Q. What have you heard so far, even before this briefing, on how the operation is going in Bosnia?

The President. I think our people are doing a very good job. I think the others in IFOR are doing a good job, and I think the people there, so far, are receiving them well. But I've got some specific questions, and that's why I want this briefing.

Q. Do you think Senator Dole should go if you can't go?

The President. I think that all of us should consult with the military leaders and do what is consistent with the interest of our troops and the mission.

Q. In other words, no.

Q. Mr. President, do you worry about casualties?

The President. Every day I worry about that, but I think they're showing their training and their discipline and the integrity of the plan in the way that they are working to minimize casualties and maximize the effectiveness of the mission.

Q. Do you think the American people understand that, understand the risks that are involved?

The President. Yes.

NOTE: The exchange began at 9:25 a.m. at the Pentagon, prior to a briefing on Bosnia.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters on Bosnia in Arlington, Virginia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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