Letter to the San Francisco Chronicle
in answer to Robert Scheer's column of April 17, 2002
I'm writing to express my outrage over the Chronicle's decision to print Robert Scheer's recent column where he equated Ariel Sharon to Slobodan Milosevic. Claiming that the fundamental difference between the two is that "[Milosevic] is on trial for war crimes, while [Sharon] still leads an occupying army," Scheer conveniently ignores many huge differences, such as:
1.Milosevic was waging a war of conquest to create a Greater Serbia and cleanse the region of non-Serbs Sharon on the other hand is conducting a defensive operation against an enemy that wants to cleanse the region of Jews. Were the Bosnian Muslims blowing themselves up in Belgrade cafes to drive the Serbs out of Yugoslavia? I don't think they were.
2. Milosevic was a dictator, kept in power by his kleptocratic cronies and his secret police. Sharon was democratically voted into office only after his more dovish predecessor's proposal to return the occupied territories in exchange for peace was rejected by Arafat.
3. Milosevic's thugs systematically imprisoned, raped and murdered thousands of people on an industrial scale. The Israelis are doing nothing of the kind.
While I commend The Chronicle for publishing a range of opinions on the Middle East and other topics, Scheer's sensational distortions are nothing more than an emotional outburst disguised as journalism. They serve no useful purpose except to misinform your readers and fan the flames of hatred in an already overheated situation.
Given that Scheer is Assistant Executive Editor Zacchino's husband, I don't expect him to get the unceremonious dismissal that he has labored so long to deserve. But at least show some concern for your readers and The Chronicle's fine reputation and filter out his most egregious drivel.
Scheer's original column with Stefan's longer response may be found here