Just now on TBS I am watching another Vietnam veteran POW-MIA issues debating movie (how many movies like that are there? ten thousands? more? less?). This one is filmed in former Yugoslavia. More precisely in Croatia, in my old home city of Zagreb, with last shooting spree happening right in front of the Croatian National Theater building, just a few yards from the place where the Serb missile exploded earlier this year.

Yesterday I went out with my new friends, bunch of young refugees from Sarajevo. So, how did they feel about the now suddenly famous NATO "resolve"? They were mostly very cautious, to put it mildly: almost as if they did not believe the CNN. Adnan said: "They probably just bomb trees and make deep wholes in our mountains." Ungrateful? Or maybe just experience.

Is he right? Where exactly are we now? Last week Milosevic sung grinning "now I am the D.J." picking up Holbroke from Belgrade airport, because Karazdic and Mladic signed their authority to him. He and Holbroke agreed upon the negotiations this week. This would apparently, happen with or without bombing, but bombing was approved just for good measure, since Serbs broke all agreements they ever signed in this war so far. Serbs however failed to move their artillery from around Sarajevo (and NATO obviously failed to destroy it in more than 500 bombing raids). So, more bombing was ordered.

Now, that finally pissed of Russians, who called for a halt. And it proved counter-productive with Serbs. Now they again became recalcitrant. Mladic, having eventually the opportunity to estimate the danger of aerial bombing, decided it's not as bad and gained courage to advise Americans over CNN that they were making another Vietnam, and that, like Vietnamese, Serbs would never surrender and would ultimately win.

Of course, that may be a bluff to discourage further bombing. But, also, it should be clear that if Serbs were not "getting the message" and continue with their defiance, the war might just started... and it would require ground troops to finish it. This might be accomplished (because no Western state would risk the lives of its people in Bosnia at that level) by arming the Bosnian government (i.e. lifting the arms embargo).

Roaming East Village with my Bosnian pals we accidentally found ourselves in a newly opened bar-restaurant. One of those post- grunge regulation pubs with a juke-box, pool table, cheap beer and furniture that looks like it's collected from street corners. It suited us. This pub however bears some eccentric details: it features three flags - Stars and Stripes, Lone Star and the State of Oklahoma, and the music in juke-box is country-only. A complete opus of Jonny Cash is available, it seems. East Village is not known for cowboys. Instead, mohawked squatters are among more prominent guests. Nevertheless, the owner seems to be serious to bring the Texlahoma values to us, the lost generation: so far the bar offers Pabst Blue Ribbon beer (yer ain't find no damn Heineken in there), a Blue Velvet's highlight.

Bartender asked Adnan for ID. And he showed her his Bosnian ID. That prompted cheers around the bar. A living Bosnian drinking beer in their place. Guys from Sarajevo are of course sarcastic about being IDed to buy alcoholic beverages after what they have survived. Then the bartender said that her boyfriend is a Marine (I somehow didn't doubt given the air of that place) and that he has been put on "Bosnia alert", ready to be shipped over there on a day's notice if necessary. No ground troops? Read my lips.

BTW, doctor B tried to bend himself over in effort to disprove hypothesis that Serbs were guilty of latest bombing of Sarajevo's marketplace. As I said, I realize that everybody had a motif and that everybody had means to do it (Serbs, Bosnians, Rapid Reaction Force...). It is obviously impossible to prove. So we can speculate on different conspiracies or accept what media supplied, and they settled for the most usual suspect - the Serbs. Milosevic actually reaped huge profit from that shell: he got Bosnian Serb leadership sign him a supreme authority over them. He brought Karadzic back in line and under his command with a little help of NATO aircraft. That's why he smiled when he met Holbroke. It is completely feasible that he orchestrated this shell behind Karadzic's back. Which brings us back to basic truths about this war: this war is a pure power struggle went way awry. After Tito's death everybody wanted to be Tito. It always amazed me how inhumane people can become when they want to be leaders to other humans.

Doctor B choose to blame German Air Force for bombing Serbs. But German Air Force is just a part of NATO air force. The entire NATO attack's date coincided with the beginning of WW II (as the Croatian offensive on Krajina coincided with bombing of Hiroshima). Diplomats and politicians just seem to be obsessed with "making history." But this is not a German attack.

I want to bring another thing to the attention (particularly of Dr J C B.....; how did he miss this one?):

Press release from the Jewish organization B'nai B'rith:


Washington D.C. (August 1, 1995) - During a fact-finding mission to Croatia last week, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman told B'nai B'rith leaders that he will not permit fascism or anti-Semitism to grow in his country. Tudjman pledged "not to allow a resurgence of fascism with all its harmful consequences".

Meeting at the President's seaside home on the island of Brioni, Tommy P. Baer, international president of B'nai B'rith, expressed the organization's concern about increased Ustase and ultra-nationalist sentiments in the government and in the population of Croatia. (During World War Il the Ustase movement was allied with Nazi Germany). Tudjman replied that as long as he is leader of Croatia, he will not accept anti-Semitism and "he will marginalize all extremists".

Tudjman assured B'nai B'rith that after the war in Bosnia is over, he would work to prosecute those involved in war crimes as part of the Ustase movement during World War Il. He disassociated himself from any resurgence of the movement and commented that the Croatia of the 1990s is not the same as the Croatia of the 1940s.

This is like saying that all Serbs who committed no offense should feel free to stay in Croatia.

This press-release is posted on Tudjman's web page. YES, he has a web page: http://www.urpr.hr/

I believe that his p.r. people thought that this would serve good to promote him as an anti-anti-Semite committed to democratic and lawful government.

Cynics, however, should note that there should be no problems for Croatian courts to prosecute those involved in war crimes during World War II immediately. There is no need to wait for the end of war in Bosnia to do that. Croatian courts work well. Obviously, it is impossible to try those involved in war crimes of the present war, since they are still defiant military leaders out of reach of international justice. But, old Ustase would hardly hide in Serbia.

People who were part of Ustase movement are mostly dead by now (come on it was 50 years ago). The rest lives in South America and there are no obstacles for their immediate extradition and prosecution. Yeah. But some of them contributed to Tudjman's political campaign. So, therefore he'd rather wait the end of war in Bosnia, which he certainly hopes to last a few more years, at least long enough till the last Ustase die in bed.

Meanwhile, bringing those 70-100 years old people to courts now would not help anybody but Tudjman. He can't milk more money out of them, and it would improve his p.r. standing. So, I can't quite get why does he delay it until after the war.

Isn't this just another way to avoid a real issue: building democratic and tolerant Croatia for all of its citizens: Croats, Serbs, Muslims, Jews and others who live there?