to fight to the last man, resisting alien oppression.rnWe stay up till four o’clock, talking with the colonel and eatingrnhis Spam. He awakens us at six-thirty to take us on a tourrnof his positions. It is rough land, karst with a stubble of grassrnsprouting between the outcroppings of limestone, ground fitrnonly for pasturing sheep, although it is said that the flesh ofrnthese sheep is the sweetest in the world.rnWe drive past Serb villages and churches devastated by enemyrnfire. Lurching onto a dirt track, better suited to goats thanrnlandrovers, we climb up to a barren plateau. Everywhere are thernsigns of war. Gutted shepherd’s cottages, overturned vehicles,rnand every few kilometers a dugout or two. Many of them gornback to one of the world wars or even to the Balkan Wars, andrnsome have been refurbished for use in the latest verses of Serbianrnheroic songs.rnWe drive into a command post with the sign “HuntingrnLodge.” Soldiers’ humor. They call their dugouts vikendicern(weekend cottages). As we come in one of the men in our vehiclernshouts, “What are you doing?” and one soldier answers,rn”What do you think? Fishing!” I observe that many of themrnare not carrying weapons, and the answer comes back, “We’llrnfight them with rocks.”rnThe units are small and dispersed all over this rocky plateaurnoveriooking the Neretva River. “Look around,” says one of thernmen, “What are you going to bomb here?” In truth, they arernwell dug into the rock and overhead are many feet of concrete.rnOutside the Cafe Lasta: Col. Gushitch on his daily round of visits to the front.rnI wonder, aloud, what air power alone could accomplish uprnhere, where the slightest miscalculation in a high-level “surgicalrnbombing” raid would wipe out the Croats and Muslims inrnMostar, hardly more than a mile away, across the river. Therncolonel agrees: “All our lines are so zigzagged with each other,rnand they enclose so many civilians that an air war would be arnslaughter without strategic results.”rnThere is no way to protect civilians in this war. A soldierrnmaking coffee over an open fire insists that the Croats use Serbrncivilians to work on their fortifications when they arc under fire.rnI wince as he picks up the hot iron kettle off the fire with hisrnbare hands. As the coffee brews, he ladles the scum off into therncups, as Italians skim the foam off a cappuccino milk pitcher.rnBy now it must be after eight o’clock, and we drink our thirdrnround of “Serbian coffee” and the second ration of rakija.rn(One of our small gifts, along with cigarettes and newspapers,rnwas a bottle of shlivovitsa.) Toasts and messages to America arernthe order of the day. “We are glad that you are here to see thatrnthis is a holy battle for our land and people,” says a soldier backrnfrom a night at the very front. It had been relatively quiet,rnapart from frequent interchanges of rifle fire. “My comradesrnwill never allow this holy land to be bargained away in talks.”rnAnother tells us, “Say hello to all the good Americans, but thernbad Americans—” he draws his hand across his throat. But byrnfar the most common message is, “We don’t ask you to believernwhat we tell you. Just write what you see, and print the truth.”rnIn my sport jacket and light walking shoes, I am not dressedrnfor the battlefield. And as we clamber up a rocky hillside to thernmost forward position, one of our companions in a Montenegrinrnhat shouts something in English I do not understand.rnStumbling over a trip-wire, I freeze. He laughs—it is only anrnalarm, not a mine, although the wire would have been thernsame. The colonel tells me to watch my step around here.rnSpent cartridges and bits of shrapnel are everywhere. When wernget to the top, there is a tremendous view of the Neretva, andrndown to the right is Mostar, not far at all. One of the soldiersrnshows me a dummy that has been set up to attract enemy fire,rnand later one of Misho’s photographs of the scene will find itsrnway to the Associated Press, unattributed of course. Americanrnjournalists, he says, like to get photographs from the frontrnwithout doing the work. They promise moneyrnand credit but rarely deliver. I explain it isrnnothing personal: this is the way most Americanrnnewspapers and magazines work. It is arnkind of applied Marxism, from those accordingrnto their ability to those according to their need.rnWe enter a beautifully appointed dugout—rnthe sign says Cafe Lasta (Cafe Swallow)—andrneat Iamb prosciutto the soldiers have made,rnand drink more coffee and rakija. It is laternspring, and their vegetable garden already hasrna crop of salad greens. Like their fathers andrngrandfathers and all their ancestors beforernthem, these men know how to live off thisrnspare land in the mountains. They do not expectrnfreeze-dried meals and regular rotationrnfor R&R. It is bean soup (we see them eatingrnlater at headquarters), smoke-dried lamb, vegetablesrnthey have grown, and coffee. If we dorngo in and butcher them, I only hope that wernwill recognize, as Prince Marko did when hernkilled an enemy, “Woe is me, for I have killedrnthe better man.”rnThese are not the savage Chetniks I was half-hoping tornmeet. All the men around the table come from the same village.rnTheir families have been murdered, their houses andrnchurches destroyed. Where do they have to go? What do theyrnhave to lose? There is no swagger about them, and whenrntheir colonel praises them for constructing and keeping sornfine a bunker, one of them answers: “Good soldiers only meanrna good commander.” It is clear, everywhere we go, thatrnGushitch is loved and respected by all his men. Despite his regularrnarmy background, he treats the men like younger brothers,rnembracing more often than saluting them. He tells me, “Menrnlike these cannot be ordered around like conscripts. If you treatrnthem with respect, they will die for you.”rn18/CHRONICLESrnrnrn