Your roundtable on Kosovo ["Kosovo Conundrum," May 713] continues the gross misrepresentation of the conflict by the U.S. media. Some salient facts that fly in the face of the comments of your participants:
1) The Kosovo Liberation Army -- the terrorist group that has been fighting the Yugoslav army as well as Serbian and Albanian citizens -- is funded by the heroin trade in Europe. Unimpeachable sources for this include Interpol and the police chiefs of Italy, France and Germany.
2) The Rambouillet "agreement," which the Serbs refused to sign, was a document worked out by the United States and the KLA. It virtually guaranteed the independence of Kosovo and the imposition of an occupation force composed of nations openly hostile to Yugoslavia. The Serbs were told to sign the dictat or be bombed.
3) The current Serb offensive began before the NATO bombing started. Prior to the bombing there were no refugees -- post-bombing, over 500,000 refugees. Paul Watson of the L.A. Times and the Toronto Globe, the only reporter in Kosovo throughout the crisis, says that the vast majority of the refugees are fleeing NATO bombing.
4) Serbs are accused of genocide, but prior to the bombing, the U.S. media reported 2,000 dead in two years of civil war, a substantial number of those Serbian. How is this genocide?
5) NATO bombing has now killed more people in five and a half weeks than died on both sides in two years of civil war.
6) Widespread atrocities are claimed and reports published without evidence. Meanwhile, Paul Watson, reporting from Kosovo, says that there is no evidence of widespread atrocities, and that it would be impossible to hide them.
7) In 1962, the Serbian population of Kosovo was over 40 percent, and is now 10 percent. Yet the Serbs are the ones accused of ethnic cleansing.
This war is clearly not about humanitarian empathy. Humanitarianism is the cover for a blatant power play by a nation that is accountable to no one, supported by a press that seems to have forgotten the most basic rules of journalism.
Bogdan Denitch's article on Yugoslav dissolution ["The Balkans' West Bank," May 713] pretends to present an explanation of the Kosovo crisis by blaming everyone equally. His premise is flawed, as is his claim that 200,000 Serbs were "ethnically cleansed" from the Krajina region of Croatia in 1995 in what he terms the largest act of ethnic cleansing in the whole war. The country fell apart due to virulent Serbian nationalism, which attempted to create a Greater Serbia by linking up Serb populations in Croatia and Bosnia with Serbia. Since the majority of the populations in Bosnia and Croatia were non-Serb, the only way to get a Greater Serbia was to kill or expel non-Serbs.
In occupied Croatia from 1991 to 1995, particularly in the central Croatian region where the local Serbs proclaimed their "Independent State of Krajina," all non-Serbs were expelled, most under the watchful eye of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), better known to Croatians as UNPROSERB. The Serb general in charge was indicted war criminal Ratko Mladic.
When the Croatian military undertook "Operation Storm" in August 1995 to retake its sovereign territory, the Serbian population there numbered less than 70,000. They were ordered to evacuate by another indicted war criminal, Mile Mrksic, and left Croatia under the protection of UNPROFOR. The Serbs quantifiably rejected every attempt by Croatia and thenU.S. Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith to negotiate their status. The U.S.-sponsored Z-4 plan, which gave the Serbs a virtual state-within-a-state, was rejected by the Krajina thugs.
The Serb evacuation order was published in the September 9, 1995, issue of Dnevni Telegraf, an opposition newspaper run by a recently assassinated Milosevic opponent, Slavko Curuvija. This Croatian offensive also broke the Serbian siege of the U.N. "safe area" of Bihac, preventing another Srebrenica, where 7,000 Muslims were slaughtered by Ratko Mladic's Serb military under the eyes of another U.N. protection force. If this mostly Muslim-populated area of Bihac would have fallen to the Serbs, Greater Serbia would not have been a dream, but a reality. Ironically, Milosevic, who started the road to war and the creation of Greater Serbia in Kosovo in 1989 by revoking its autonomy, may in the end have a Lesser Serbia with a flaming defeat in Kosovo -- just like his ancestors in 1389.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin ã
I am a 30-something, gay, African-American, U.S.-Army-veteran male, and once again I'm confused and without a political home. The right wing comes up with some mean-spirited, bigoted agenda, but no sooner do I accept that I'm a liberal than damned if the left's behavior doesn't become equally asinine. I read "Kosovo Conundrum" hoping to find a logical reason to oppose military action against Yugoslavia. Sadly and predictably, the anti-military part of the panel could only offer the same shopworn, doctrinaire platitudes, none more maddening than the Rev. James Lawson. I was embarrassed for the man's clear lack of knowledge of the topic. Adherence to principle is admirable so long as it does not fly in the face of life-and-death facts. When it does, it ceases to be a virtue and becomes empty, oppressive dogma.