29 Oct 2001
Traditionally, responsible editors, reporters, journalists and true intellectuals tend to verify their sources, confirm their stories, read background information, history of an issue, etc. before they actually publish it. Prof. Edward S. Herman, has, for a few years now, taken quite a radical stance in his pro-Serbian, pro-Milosevic surmise of the war in the Balkans (see current postings on the internet; key word: Edward S. Herman). As a survivor of genocide in Bosnia and an avid reader of the history of the region, I have found numerous inaccuracies and, at best, distorted interpretations of events in Yugoslavia that led to the war as well as events and crimes committed during the war. Mr. Herman's take of America's help to minorities in Bosnia are at best ridiculous. Yet, he manages to publish pieces without anybody really checking their credibility. Mr. Herman's anti-war sentiment, as noble as that sentiment is, is defined as a stance to support every thug, every genocidal maniac out there, by simply watching atrocities on TV screens and doing nothing about them.
I am not sure if I need your permission to forward the story to a friend who works at the ICTY in the Hague. I am very curious of what would Carla del Ponte (either privately or publicly) say to this. I am awaiting your response. Thank you.
To the Editor:
In her letter criticizing your use of my piece which I jokingly imputed to Carla Del Ponte, entitled "I had a dream," Maja Suhic states that she has found "numerous inaccuracies" and "distorted interpretations" of events in Yugoslavia in my work, and implies that you shouldn't have published the piece. But her letter is wonderfully lacking in specificity, with no citation to a single inaccuracy or distorted interpretation. It therefore constitutes mere name-calling. She seems to suggest that I "support every thug, every genocidal maniac out there," but this is just ranting, as I "support" neither Milosevic nor thugs like Clinton, Blair, Izetbegovic, or Tudjman.
It is interesting that Suhic is aroused by this piece on Carla Del Ponte, which raises questions about U.S. and Croatian war crimes in Krajina, and NATO war crimes in bombing Serbia and in allowing the massive ethnic cleansing of Serbs by the KLA in NATO- occupied Kosovo. But she doesn't say anything directly about this, I suspect because she has no problem with violence against Serbs and war crimes and ethnic cleansing where they are clearly the victims, and resents anybody so biased as to disagree that they deserved anything done to them. Best to avoid honest debate on these matters and hide behind unsupported accusations of author inaccuracies and distortions.
Edward S. Herman
Dear Ms. Suhic,
Thank you for your e-mail and for visiting Swans. Please, do not hesitate to forward Herman's article to your friend at the ICTY. I would be delighted to publish a response from Carla del Ponte.