Truth in Media Activism: Letters to Editors

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May 16, 2005

To: The New York Times

Rise and Fall of General Perisic: From Hero to Traitor to Snitch

Re. "Court on Crimes in Former Yugoslavia Hits Its Stride," NYT, May 15



Letters Editor


New York, NY

Dear Sir/Madam,
The higher they soar, the harder they fall.  The rise and fall of General Momcilo Perisic, now an inmate at the International Tribunal for War Crimes in former Yugoslavia at the Hague, could not be a more apt tale (re. "Court on Crimes in Former Yugoslavia Hits Its Stride," NYT, May 15).  It is one military hero's rags-to-riches-and-power-to-rags story whose missteps at the peak of power sent him to the dustbin of history as an ignominious warning to all would-be leaders who lose their moral compass. 

They say "cream always rises to the top" - a metaphor that emanates from boiled milk.  There is no better or faster time to rise to the top than in wartime.  Enter the Balkan wars of the 1990s when General Perisic's heroics on the battlefield elevated him from an artillery colonel to the head of the fifth largest army in Europe.  Dismissed by the then Serb president Slobodan Milosevic in late 1998, Perisic formed an opposition party and eventually became the deputy prime minister in the post-Milosevic government in Belgrade.  In March 2002, he was caught on a video tape red-handed, passing on to the CIA station chief in Belgrade what Serbia's military prosecutor alleged were state secrets.  He was promptly fired.  Three years later, while still awaiting trial on espionage charges, he was extradited to the Hague Tribunal prison, as your story reported May 15.

When this writer tried to explain to his American-born wife the issues and the intricacies of General Perisic's rise and fall from a hero to a traitor to a snitch, she replied, "I don't get it."

She is not alone.  Many people don't get it, especially those who have been subjected to the falsehoods reported by the western media about the Balkan wars of the 1990s, the reason the Truth in Media was formed in 1992.  

"Maybe you'll get this simple math," this writer replied.  "The Serbs were about one-third of the combatants, yet they represent more than 90% of the Hague Tribunal's indictees."

In other words, the Hague is no court of justice.  It is a court founded and funded by the victors (the West) and administering the victor's justice against the losers (the Serbs).  As a fig leaf, a few token Croats and Muslims were also charged with war crimes, to make the fact that the Hague is a kangaroo court a little less blatant and its bias a little more palatable (except to the roos).

If what General Perisic and others like him did during the course of the Balkans wars of the 1990s is a war crime, then all military leaders in the history of warfare are war criminals.  And so are their political leaders.  Until and unless Perisic et. al. are joined on the defendants' bench by the likes of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Gen. Wesley Clark, Madeleine Albright, and other Croat and Muslim leaders, and are charged with war crimes over NATO's bombing of Serbia in 1999 (and of the Bosnian Serb Republic in 1995), justice will not be served.  Only vengeance will.

Which is not to say that Perisic et. al., including Milosevic, do not deserve to be tried for their crimes.  They do.  In their own country.  By their own people against whom they committed the crimes of treason or worse, when they lost their moral compass, and not just the war.

The higher they soar, the harder they fall.  General Perisic's fall was a real thud.


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Bob Djurdjevic, Founder, Truth in Media

Phoenix, Arizona

Best regards,


Bob Djurdjevic

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Also check out... "Does WSJ Dance to Wall St. Bankers' Tunes?""Clinton Fiddles While Milosevic Burns""Let the Bombing Begin?  Not!" , "What's Good for the Goose..."  and "Journal's Rotten Apples" (Wall Street Journal); and "Stock buybacks: Wall St.'s duping of Main St.", Business Week).