- The Washington Times - Friday, January 5, 2001

What should be done with Slobodan Milosevic?

While I agree that Slobodan Milosevic is a petty tyrant and a thug who should be punished for suppressing democracy and freedom in Yugoslavia, I vehemently disagree with The Washington Times editorial ("Put Milosevic on trial," Jan. 2) that his actions invited NATO to bomb Serbia.
None of the actions committed by either Mr. Milosevic or the Serb army warranted the bombing.
NATO was wrong to intervene in the civil war between the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the Serb army. Yugoslavia never acted outside of its own borders. It never once threatened the sovereignty of any other nation. That is why the United Nations could not assist NATO, since to do so would violate its own charter.
More important, the so-called ethnic cleansing you referred to in your editorial has never been proved, even after extensive investigations by the FBI and an independent humanitarian group from Sweden.
No one ever criticizes the KLA, which is by no means an organization bent on spreading peace, love and democracy in the Balkans. It is more of a threat to our nation than Mr. Milosevic ever could be.
Your own paper reported that Osama bin Laden provides a great deal of moral and financial support to the KLA. So why should the United States back an organization that is funded by our No. 1 enemy? The KLA was smuggling weapons into Kosovo in violation of the Dayton Accords. This gave Mr. Milosevic the excuse he needed to let loose his army and kill Albanians the same way, for the same reason, the United States killed many civilians in South Vietnam, looking for the Viet Cong.
All of these facts have been forgotten because of the brainwashing many people in this country received by the news media. The media shamelessly and mindlessly reported one false claim after another fed to them by our government.
Another major fact overlooked by your article is that even after the KLA, with the help of NATO, ethnically cleansed Kosovo, it is still fighting the Serb army. So much for being on the side of the good guys. Doesn't NATO need to bomb Albania? After all, it ethnically cleansed Kosovo of all but a handful of Serbs.
In my opinion, we need to get out of the Balkans and stay out. The only reason we have for deploying U.S. troops and placing them in harm's way is our own national interests. We cannot solve by brute force all of the world's problems, and especially a problem like the one in the Balkans.

CHARLES D. SAMPSON
Ventura, Calif.

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In its editorial, The Washington Times makes a serious mistake by suggesting that Yugoslavia's Slobodan Milosevic should be left to the Serb judicial system. There is a big difference between placing Mr. Milosevic on trial before The Hague tribunal or Serbian courts.
The judicial system of a communist society is the most difficult branch of government to reform. In other post-communist countries, after a decade of reforms, the judiciary remains virtually riddled with communists and agents. This is true not only for countries such as Bulgaria but also for such champions of reforms as the Central European countries.
It would be absolutely safe to assume that the judiciary in Serbia is the same as it was during the Milosevic era. There aren't even pretensions that this system has been reformed so far.
The idea suggested by the new authorities in Belgrade to put Mr. Milosevic on trial in Serbia is only an attempt to save him from being sent to The Hague, the only place where he would meet real justice under the present circumstances.
In Serbia, Mr. Milosevic would not be really put on trial. Legal proceedings would drag on until he became too ill or died a natural death.
The attempt to save Mr. Milosevic by leaving him in Serbia is too cheap and transparent to fool a newspaper such as The Washington Times.
It will be very important to put before an international court a dictator who has committed such serious crimes. That would have a pretty sobering effect on future would-be dictators with criminal orientations.

VESSELIN PETKOV
Sofia, Bulgaria

Times should give readers straight talk, not more euphemisms

I appreciate your paper because it isn't politically correct (i.e., it doesn't display a liberal bias).
Therefore, I was disturbed by a statement in your article about the apprehension of one of the "10 most wanted" criminals ("FBI arrests 'Top 10' suspect in Louisiana," Dec. 22).
Your article says that Eric Rudolph is wanted for the bombing of "a health clinic in Alabama." Let's call a spade a spade. Mr. Rudolph is accused of bombing an abortion clinic.
The bombing was reprehensible, and the perpetrator deserves the ultimate penalty. My concern with the article is that your paper slipped into the type of deceptive euphemism I expect from your cross-town rival. Please give us straight talk instead.
KEN BURK
Long Beach, Calif.

There is plenty of competition in the telecommunications market

James Glassman's Dec. 27 Op-Ed column, "For whom Bells toll," gives readers of The Washington Times a distorted picture of the competitive telecommunications landscape.
While Mr. Glassman blames local telephone companies for the financial woes their competitors, the competitive local exchange carriers, (known as CLECs) have faced recently, he neglects to discuss the success in the local business markets these CLECs and others have had.
According to the New York Public Service Commission, local telephone competition is flourishing, and consumers are benefiting in New York. CLECs doubled their share of the local telephone market in 1999, as they did in 1998, and the trend to achieve even greater market share continued in 2000. An independent analysis pegged the savings for New York consumers at $220 million annually. Perhaps the demise of some CLECs is the result of the natural weeding out of companies that have bad business plans.
The 1996 Telecommunications Act called for an opening of local telephone networks to allow competitors complete access to switches, servers and structures to provide telecommunication services to consumers. This has been accomplished and is working. One need not look any further than the number of competitors providing telecommunications services to local businesses as proof that the local networks are open to competitors.
Mr. Glassman also fails to mention the tremendous increases in competition in long-distance service attributable to the entry of local phone companies into this market. Long-distance competition in two states New York and Texas is providing customers with real choice and lower prices for long-distance and other telecommunications services. Coincidentally, New York and Texas are the only states where former Bell operating companies (Verizon and SBC) has been granted permission to enter the long-distance market. It seems that only when a local phone company is allowed to enter a long-distance market as we have seen in New York and Texas will the Big Three AT&T;, WorldCom and Sprint choose to serve the local residential market.
I also would like to point out several errors in the column. Mr. Glassman refers to Verizon and the four other regional Bell operating companies from AT&T;'s breakup. Today, in addition to Verizon, there are three other companies remaining from the breakup of AT&T;: BellSouth, SBC and Qwest. The author also states that Verizon was fined $13 million in spring 2000. The actual amount was $3 million. (See Federal Communications Commission news releases from March 3 and Dec. 21 for verification.)
America's local telephone companies will continue to be a vital part of the solution to increasing competition and achieving the ultimate goal of the 1996 act: to provide consumers with lower prices and real telecommunications choice. Instead of considering for whom the bell tolls, Mr. Glassman should keep his focus on consumers and providing them with real telecommunications choice as local telephone companies are doing.
GARY R. LYTLE
Interim president and
chief executive officer
United States Telecom Association
Washington


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