Dear Editor:

I’m glad that Jeffrey Kuhner has finally noticed after 18 years of the Yugoslavia tribunal’s existence that this Hague court is a sham. (“The Coming Balkan War,” April 19) Unfortunately, he does so thanks only to his own ethnic kin finally getting burned by it. Kuhner’s indignation at the court’s attempt at ethnic parity via the conviction of Croatian general Ante Gotovina (after years of prosecuting mainly Serbian war crimes) rests largely on the debunked 1990s myths about the Balkans and the design for a “Greater Serbia” — which the Hague itself reluctantly proved to have been a figment of Western imaginations, including Kuhner’s.

Kuhner inverts aggressor and defender in the Croatian war, ignoring chronology. The Serbs woke up one day to find themselves no longer citizens of the country they’d been citizens of the day before, and reacted to an illegal secession that the international community scandalously backed after pressure from a resurgent Germany and, regrettably, from the Vatican. The Serbian federalists were promptly branded the “rebels” — and needed to be put down. This with no regard for the fact that all the old symbols, heroes, currency, slogans and songs from the WWII Croatian-Nazi (“Ustasha”) era were being resurrected all around the Serbs, who had been its victims before and were ominously finding themselves fired from government jobs and reduced in constitutional status. Soon enough 1990s Croatia became “a place where killing Serbs was normal,” as put by Zarko Puhovski, president of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Croatia.

Kuhner credits convicted war criminal Gotovina with ‘putting a stop to’ the war via Operation Storm, which has been described even by Serb-unfriendly international bureaucrats as the largest ethnic cleansing of the Balkan wars. Kuhner calls the operation a “stunning success,” in effect hailing the ethnic purification of Croatia which “took just three days” and is still celebrated as a national holiday.

Kuhner states that the “moral equivalence” of the Gotovina verdict hands “Serbian ultranationalists”™ a victory, as this is exactly what Serbia has been “demanding” all along. Actually, moral equivalence is what the Serbs are settling for, since the actual aggressors in the Balkan wars will never be named as such — given that foreign policy and careers have been built on the official narrative. As for the moral equivalence being desirable to “cover [Serbia’s] genocidal culpability and national shame,” how’s that apology and national shame for the WWII liquidation of Serbs coming along, Mr. Kuhner? It’s only been 70 years.

Croatia has been described by the AP as “a country that long overlooked or justified [war] crimes committed by its own people” and “for years [declining] to prosecute its own, claiming that only Serbs committed crimes in the war.” In 2006 Amnesty International noted that “ethnic bias continued to affect the investigation and prosecution by the Croatian judiciary of wartime human rights violations. There continued to be widespread impunity for…the Croatian Army and police forces.” Kuhner’s article openly calls for more of the same and demands an even more nationalist option for Croatian voters than the party that started it all (the ruling HDZ), as well as an end to cooperation with the Hague — and for cases to be transferred to the problematic, ethnic-partial Croatian judiciary.

Cleverly, as he fans the winds of war over the Gotovina verdict, Kuhner disguises it as a warning that Serbs are again on the march. If the staff at Washington Times could understand what is in their house, their blood would freeze.