I force-fed myself the unpalatable article written this week by The Washington Times’ resident evil Jeffrey Kuhner, whose name even sounds like the Nazi currency (kuna) that the Ustashas of 1990s Croatia reintroduced. The article, published in time for Hitler’s birthday on Wednesday, was an outraged reaction to the conviction last week of Croatian General Gotovina, as well as a call for Croatia to stop cooperating with the Hague tribunal and to become even more supremacist than it already is. Meanwhile, Kuhner blames Milosevic for everything, even when it contradicts something else he blames him for. (The article is worth reading just for the sheer fun of it.) Naturally, Kuhner is free to infect Washington Times print space with his dizzyingly creative version of history, since it’s not like anyone there is going to know the difference.

But why did I make myself read it? Because of the response that the very talented college student Caleb Posner — whom we’ve met before — wrote to it. This was the note Caleb wrote me:

I just finished writing a rather lengthy response to an absurd editorial that ran in yesterday’s Washington Times….In essence, I review the unfounded notion that the Croats were innocent and the Serbs profoundly guilty in the Wars of Yugoslav Secession, pointing out the almost absurd moderation shown by Milosevic, and the inappropriate actions of the non-Serb entities.

I excerpt the historically important article below.

Croatia A Victim? Not in This Century
(Note: By “Century,” Caleb clarifies, he means the past 100 years)

Yet, as willing as the Croats were to threaten the Serbs, Milosevic provided little support to his ethnic kin in the rebel republics. The greatest evidence of this is in his handling of Bosnia, where Bosnian Serbs were at war with Croats and Bosniaks for control of their shared homeland. Following the Bosnian Serb rejection of the Vance-Owen Plan, which would have involved the surrender of substantial territory to Herzog-Bosnia (Croatian Bosnia), Milosevic imposed a blockade on the Drina in 1993, cutting off the availability of weapons and other critical resources to the VRS (Bosnian Serb Army). It is worth noting here that NATO did not first bomb Serb territory until 1995, so there was no military pressure for Milosevic to betray his own. As to the Krajina Serbs in particular, Srdja Trifkovic notes…“In Serbia however, [the Republic of Serbian Krajina] was seen as an unwanted economic and burden by Milosevic. To his frustration, the Krajina Serb assembly continued to reject his demands to settle the conflict by accepting the principle of Croatian sovereignty.”

Categorically therefore, we can conclude that Milosevic was not a hardliner bent on creating a Greater Serbia. Both his actions and his rhetoric evidence as much. On those grounds alone, one should be prepared to disregard the Kuhner article. If not, his outright hypocrisy should do the trick. Whereas he trivially asserts that Operation Storm, which essentially led to an exodus of all Krajina Serbs not killed in the initial attack, [was] a proper rebuff against the Serbs, he [condemns] supposedly similar actions taken by the Serbs. Action which he fails to fully explain, and which are not well grounded in history. And, while he faults the HDZ as “fundamentally treasonous” and hopes to see them replaced with “a new conservative party – one that will provide voters with a real patriotic-populist option,” [i.e. more hardline nationalists—since Croatians don’t have a big enough nationalism problem] he makes certain to describe Tomislav Nikolic and his Progressive Party (an offshoot of the Radical Party) as “odious,” and their popular support as troubling. More profoundly, he insists that Croatia cease its participation in the ICTY, but never indicates that other countries should do the same, implying that the Serbs should still bow before the court’s authority.

In truth, there is only one phrase in Kuhner’s article which the facts support. Namely, he is correct in describing the ICTY as “a kangaroo court.” Where he is once again in error is in insisting that it is subordinate to the whims of Serb nationalists, and has made a substantial effort to prosecute non-Serbs. The numbers tell a rather different story….

I don’t have the strength to do my own, more caustic, take-down of the Kuhner article today, but once I’ve had a chance to detox after reading it, I will.