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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Serbs were provoked to attack Srebrenica

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Jeffrey T. Kuhner's "Ethnic cleansing's ghosts" (Commentary, June 2) seems to me unduly harsh toward the Serbian people.

Mr. Kuhner writes about Srebrenica being a "safe haven" but ignores the fact that the Serbian attack on Srebrenica was in response to ongoing attacks by Muslim forces from Srebrenica on surrounding Serbian villages. Yasushi Akashi, former United Nations representative in Bosnia, admitted in The Washington Times in November 1995, "It is a fact that the Bosnian government forces have used the 'safe areas' [that were supposed to be demilitarized] of not only Srebrenica, but Sarajevo, Tuzla, Bihac, Gorazde for training, recuperation and refurbishing their troops."

In other words, the so-called "safe areas" were used as military posts to train mujahedeen fighters from the entire Islamic world, free to attack Serbian villages and return to the safety of the city while their U.N. protectors conveniently looked the other way. These "holy warriors," led by warlord Naser Oric, described by Bill Schiller of the Toronto Star in 1996 as "blood-thirsty a warrior as ever crossed a battlefield," attacked 42 surrounding Serbian villages. Thousands of Serbian villagers were brutally slaughtered, yet when Serbs retaliated against the Muslim assaults from these "safe areas," they were condemned by the entire world.


Camp Hill, Pa.

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