- The Washington Times - Friday, October 3, 2003

Bosnia: In need of new borders?

“Redrawing Bosnian borders” (Commentary, Wednesday) is a great analysis of the situation in the region. The article might have added that the Bosnian failure is also a classic U.N.-Eurocrat failure: The United Nations and the European Union insisted on an impossible Swiss-Benelux-Manhattan-style multiethnic state, which is against all reality and common sense for that region. They have ruled, rather than governed, the Bosnians — imposing dysfunctional, permanent top-down controls and self-feeding bureaucracy rather than fostering a U.S.-in-Kurdistan-style free-market economy and self-government. God help the Iraqis if President Bush and Secretary of State Colin L. Powell cave in to U.N.-Eurocrat demands for similar power there.



• • •

The article “Redrawing Bosnian Borders” is remarkable. I thank Jeffrey Kuhner for his insight and his demonstration of his complete lack of knowledge of contemporary as well as past Bosnian history. I would first pose the question of which Bosniak called for the eradication of all Christians from Bosnia, when and where? The idea is simply preposterous, regardless of what right-wing simpletons of the Bosnian HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) political party claim. Also, which mosques are preaching “jihad” against the Croats and Serbs? Mr. Kuhner should name one. But he does not. Why not? Maybe, because there are none. There is no real evidence to back any of his claims. If there is evidence, pass it on to the appropriate authorities or just present it here in The Washington Times. What and where are the facts that support his arguments?

Many of Mr. Kuhner’s arguments are simply bizarre, as when he argues that the Herzegovinian Croats are “the most patriotic and courageous of all the Croats”. What does this mean? Do Croats from Croatia agree? Ante Pavelic, head of the World War II-era Nazi-backed Croatian state, called the Muslims (i.e. Bosniaks) the “flowers of the Croat nation,” so maybe the Bosniaks are actually the best Croats. Also, while some extremist Bosnian Croats are for inclusion in a greater Croatia, the Republic of Croatia is against Bosnian partition because its government recognizes that European integration is the way forward.

Mr. Kuhner’s other arguments that “[t]he Croats in Bosnia can again take up their historic role as a strategic bulwark against Islamic expansionism on the Continent” and that “Herzegovina was primarily the site where the Croats for centuries fought off the invading Ottoman armies” are historical nonsense. The first argument comes directly from late Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, who, had he lived, probably would have been indicted as a war criminal by the Hague War Crimes Tribunal. And, just what Islamic expansionism are we talking about? How can there be Islamic expansionism coming from Bosnia — a small, poor country? It just does not make sense. If there is Islamic expansionism, where is the evidence? The second argument is another fantasy. Croatian identity in Herzegovina has not existed “for centuries.” Croatian identity became a real factor in Herzegovina only in the late 1800s.

These Muslim European Bosniaks have successfully demonstrated their commitment to freedom and religious pluralism for five centuries. The sounds of the ringing bells of Sarajevo’s churches mixing with the call to prayer in Sarajevo’s mosques is more than adequate proof of this argument. Unfortunately, this melody of tolerance is missing in most Croatian and Serbian areas of Bosnia. Is there extremism in Bosnia? Yes, but that methodical extremism is not coming from the Bosniaks. Contemporary and past history confirms this.


Board member

Congress of North American Bosniaks


From the bottom up

Julia Duin’s interview with David Limbaugh (“Christian wake-up call,” Culture, Thursday) nicely highlights Mr. Limbaugh’s thesis. Especially important is his statement that the antipathy toward Christianity is not top-down, started by the Supreme Court, but from the bottom up.

Clearly, people are influenced by the media. Fifty years ago, we had movies such as the fictional “The Bells of St. Mary’s” and the true story “Boys Town” illustrating the virtuous lives of good priests. Now, we have fictional movies such as “Elmer Gantry” and “Priest” and books such as “Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII,” portraying priests as evil.

In part because of such propaganda, Christians are the only class of people about whom disparaging remarks can be made without a public outcry. The anti-Christians just might have found a way to persecute Christians in a democratic society.


Oak Hill, Va.

Washington Backwoodsmen

The Washington Redskins, their management and their lawyers have proved that a more applicable name for their organization and football team should be the Washington Backwoodsmen. (“Judge rules Redskins name not demeaning,” Page 1, Thursday).

During my undergraduate education at St. John’s University in New York in the early ‘90s, St. John’s was in the process of changing the name of its sport mascots from Redmen to Red Storm. The university used common sense, courtesy and consideration in the decision to rename the mascot-trademark of its sports teams. The Redskins organization sticking to its Redskins trademark makes me wonder if its members internally or externally use outdated words such as Negro, Orientals, etc. when referring to people inside or outside the organization. Until the Redskins organization changes its trademark, I will continue to refer to the entire organization as the Washington Backwoodsmen.



Happy and healthy forests

In regard to your editorial “Hope for healthy forests” (Editorial, Wednesday): This summer, a wildfire started near the city of Kelowna, British Columbia, a few dozen miles from the U.S. border.

It burned more than 200 houses, and thousands of people evacuated as the fire approached the city and suburbs.

It burned in areas that had seen heavy logging and clear-cuts.

It burned in a province that has few environmental laws, no appeals and no lawsuits to stop timber sales.

The misnamed Healthy Forest Initiative would do little to help communities; instead, it focuses on thinning backcountry. It would log municipal water supplies, endangered-species habitats and roadless areas.

Before we rush like a speeding wildfire into logging 20 million acres of national forest, we should rethink our strategy. Logging in many areas will create tons of slash per acre, and the open stands will bake in the summer sun.

The vast majority of land around communities isn’t even national forest, so why are we going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars logging areas away from communities?


The Lands Council

Spokane, Wash.

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