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Washington Times
http://www.washingtontimes.com/op-ed/20040617-091443-9457r.htm

Conflict in the Balkans
    Helle Dale claims that Croatian troops forced tens of thousands of Serbian civilians out of Croatia ("Balkan ghosts," Op-Ed, Wednesday). This claim — also made by the International Criminal Tribunal — is untrue. The Croatian Serb leadership publicly admitted that it ordered and coerced its people to leave Croatia ahead of the Croatian offensives. The U.S.-backed Croatian actions recovered Serbian-occupied territory that had been conquered on the back of ethnic cleansing. The U.S.-Croatian actions also saved Bosnia, saving untold thousands of lives.
    Mrs. Dale should take a closer look at the tribunal she says should be supported. One of the top Serbian officials involved in the occupation of Croatia, Savo Strbac, far from being investigated, is a top associate of the U.N. prosecutors. He is helping them prosecute the very Croatian generals who, with vital American support, stopped Slobodan Milosevic in his tracks. They will not get a fair trial.
    The United Nations will smear the United States for helping the Croats stop Mr. Milosevic, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic — a "crime" in the eyes of many at the United Nations who were happy to indulge the Serbian rampage across Croatia and Bosnia.
    
    BRIAN GALLAGHER
    London
    
    •
    
    While reading the Op-Ed column "Balkan ghosts" by Helle Dale, I found two statements disturbing because they do not represent the truth.
    Mrs. Dale writes, "Croatian troops swept through the Serb-controlled region of Krajina, forcing tens of thousands of Croatian Serbs to flee." The fact is that it is not only the Vukovar region that Serbs destroyed, but these ethnic Serbs in Croatia's Krajina region also occupied, with the help of the Serbian-Yugoslav army and paramilitary, one-third of Croatia after their aggression started in 1991.
    They "ethnically cleansed" the Croatian population, looting and destroying their homes and committing untold atrocities. When the Croatian army finally liberated its territory in August 1995, these Serbs were not "driven out," as the article states, but were ordered by their own leadership to leave before the arrival of the Croatian army. Testimony to that fact was given in Politika, a Serbian newspaper, in August 1995 in Belgrade by the Serb Krajina leadership. Anything else is a revision of history.
    In addition, only Serbia and the so-called Serbian republic in Bosnia have dragged their feet and not cooperated with the International Criminal Tribunal, according to the tribunal's Judge Theodor Meron, while the tribunal is pleased with Croatia's cooperation.
    
    HILDA M. FOLEY
    National Federation of Croatian
    Americans
    Santa Ana, Calif.
 

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2004-06-17