Croatia's Side of the Story
I am glad to see the editorial "Croatia's Extremity," Sept. 18, calling for some action to stop the Serbian communists' bloodbath. But I am dismayed by the attempt to illustrate that the Croatians "provoked the Serbs."With the very first document to emerge from the new Croatian Republic, its declaration of independence on June 25, 1991, the Croatian government guaranteed not only civil rights, but unique rights to the Serbian minority. In its first parliamentary session, the Croatian Parliament adopted "The Charter relating to the rights of Serbs and other nationalities in the Republic of Croatia." I doubt there is any nation in the world with more specific guarantees to a national minority. The editorial states that the Croats "forced Serbs to take loyalty oaths and recently fired many of them from government jobs." The Croatian government has requested the loyalty of all citizens to the new government. The only Serbian civil servants fired were in the police, which was more than 80 percent Serbian, even though Serbs represent less than 12 percent of the Croatian population. The Croatian people, through democratic and free elections, voted for a democratic, market-based government by more than 90 percent. Exercising the right guaranteed by the Yugoslav Constitution, they voted again by more than 90 percent to leave the Yugoslav federation. Since last October, the Croatian and Slovenian governments have attempted through negotiation to establish a loose confederation. The response was an attempted Serbian military coup. Forced to declare independence, the response has been the slaughter of hundreds, the burning of fields and villages, and the intentional destruction of national architectural, cultural, and religious treasures. C. Michael McAdams, Sacramento, Calif
Israel's influence in Congress The opinion-page column "Behind the Loan-Guarantee Struggle," Sept. 25, is an incredible, comprehensive, and courageous expose of the influence Israel has obtained in the US Congress. It's startling to learn that "through financial contributions ... and through their demonstrated ability to finance the defeat of members of the House and Senate considered unfriendly to Israel, friends of the Jewish state have established an unparalleled influence" in Congress. And yet members of Congress are supposed to be elected by the people, to represent the people, and not become "agents" of a foreign government nor be financed or discarded like a commodity. It's almost unbelievable to find out that Israel's supporters have "spoken openly to US officials of their ability to 'deliver the Congress. It's obvious that Congress is not the ruler of its own house. The willingness to add to presidential requests for aid to Israel also indicates that Congress is overly concerned about pleasing Israel regardless of the burden to US taxpayers. These monetary manipulations not only make a mockery of the congressional electoral process, but add considerably to US indebte dness. What is needed is a workable method of election campaign financing to keep congressmen from being beholden to any but their own political party, the electorate, and the US Constitution. Congress controls the purse that holds the taxpayers' money, but Israel has a financial hold on Congress, and this should cease through different election campaign financing and restrictions placed on all political action groups. Charles F. Rasoli, Long Island City, N.Y.
How long will the condor survive? Regarding the article "Flight of the Condor (and Ferret)," Sept. 25: It's great to hear that there has been progress in repopulating the California condor. But I am very surprised that officials appear eager to let the massive amounts of time and money they have spent on the project be wasted. If, as the article states, hunting was the indirect as well as direct cause of the condor's near extinction, won't the same thing happen again without restrictions on hunting? Somehow the fact that wildlife officials are "urging" hunters not to kill the birds and "wanting" hunters to bury deer carcasses does not leave me feeling hopeful for the success of the reintroduction program and the continued survival of this magnificent species. Wendy W. Landry, Winter Park, Fla.