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The Serbian soldiers - utterly truthful and honorable

An open letter by Herb Brin,
the oldest working journalist in America 

April 14, 1994 

President Bill Clinton 
The White House 
Washington, DC 20500 

Dear Mr. President:  

I am aware of the anguish in your heart over the Bosnia and Iraq situations. All Americans understand how deeply troubled you are in these difficult times. Yet, I must add this note of caution and for a very special reason.

It happens that Heritage publications were the first newspapers that urged your support for the presidency. The very first indeed!

Larry Lawrence asked me to write a suggested Jewish New Year message for you upon your election -- which I did.

Dee Dee Myers knows the role our papers play in California. I watched her grow into maturity as a public relations specialist. At Heritage, we love her!

Now, a year ago, I went to Bosnia to see for myself what was meant by ethnic cleansing and the rape stories attributed to the Serb armies in the field. I was concerned by the fact that the Serbs, Jews and Gypsies of Yugoslavia were brutally victimized during World War II by the Croatian Ustasha created by a monster named Artukovic for Adolph Hitler.

The Serbian people lost more than a million men, women and children in the Hitler years. The Jews lot 65,000. And who can know the tragedies suffered by the Gypsies!

When I visited the Serbian front a year ago, I learned to my dismay that the rape story was a total concoction. In wars, rapes occur -- but in the hundreds of thousands and as a means of so-called "ethnic cleansing?" This was incredible and false. After reporting the facts, and Dee Dee knows me for being an accurate journalist, the rape story fell apart and disappeared from the national media.

It happens that, at 79, I am the oldest working journalist in America. Certainly the oldest to visit the war fronts both in Bosnia and in the Middle East. 

I found the Serbian soldiers to be utterly truthful and honorable. I found a war in the former Yugoslavia which the Serbian young men and women refused to lose. That is the national purpose of any army in the field. And after suffering the most heinous losses in World War II to the Croats and the Muslims, the Serb forces were not about to be defeated this time around. Nor slaughtered as they were at the Croatian death camp known as Jasenovac. 

The Serbian people were the staunchest allies of the United States in World War II. The Muslims gave haven to Hitler's notorious friend, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. 

I would suggest to my President not, I repeat -- not to hurt the Serbian people more. 
The decision to bomb the Serb position in Bosnia breaks my heart. 

With all human respect, 

Herb Brin 
Heritage Southwest 
Jewish Press 

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Last revised: October 8, 1997