THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- A retired American general has apologized for a remark to the U.S. Senate suggesting that gay Dutch soldiers were partly to blame for the Srebrenica massacre by Serb soldiers in Bosnia, according to the Defense Ministry.
The comment by retired Gen. John Sheehan during testimony opposing a proposal to allow gays to serve openly in the U.S. military caused an uproar in the Netherlands, where discrimination against gays is outlawed, including in the military.
The Defense Ministry released an e-mail Tuesday from Sheehan, a former NATO commander who retired from the military in 1997, to retired Dutch Gen. Henk van den Breemen saying he is sorry for his statements to the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 18.
In the e-mail, Sheehan says the 1995 murder of some 8,000 Muslim men in Bosnia's Srebrenica enclave "was in no way the fault of individual soldiers."
"The reactions and publicity in the Netherlands and United States have clearly put him under so much pressure that he had to retract his words," said Peter Schouten, who set up Pink Army.
"Now that he has expressed regret, the need to start legal proceedings has vanished," he added.
"That led to a force that was ill-equipped to go to war. The case in point that I'm referring to is when the Dutch were required to defend Srebrenica against the Serbs," Sheehan said.
"The battalion was under-strength, poorly led, and the Serbs came into town, handcuffed the soldiers to the telephone poles, marched the Muslims off, and executed them."
Carl Levin, chairman of the U.S. Senate's Armed Services Committee, asked: "Did the Dutch leaders tell you it was because there were gay soldiers there?"
"Yes, they did. They included that as part of the problem," Sheehan said, according to a webcast on the website of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
"That there were gay soldiers?" Levin then asked.
"That the combination was the liberalization of the military, a net effect was basically social engineering."
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/03/19/2010-03-19_dutch_blast_retired_us_general_john_sheehan_for_saying_gay_soldiers_linked_to_sr.html#ixzz0jhpRrqXN
Dutch Absolve U.N.Troops in Fall of Srebrenica to Serbs
By William Drozdiak
The Washington Post
THE HAGUE, Netherlands
The Dutch government Monday absolved its U.N. peacekeepers in Bosnia-Herzegovina of any wrongdoing in the fall of Srebrenica to the Bosnian Serbs, which resulted in some of the worst atrocities seen in Europe since World War II. Dutch officials said other nations must share blame for failing to provide enough troops to protect the U.N.-designated "safe area."
Defense Minister Joris Voorhoeve said an intensive three-month investigation showed that the 460 lightly armed Dutch soldiers serving in the Srebrenica enclave in eastern Bosnia last July were overwhelmed by attacking Bosnian Serb forces and thus helpless to prevent the subsequent slaughter of thousands of Muslim men and the forced deportation of 25,000 women, children and elderly
were overwhelmed by attacking Bosnian Serb forces
thus helpless to prevent the subsequent slaughter
When you have served in the military you may understand something about group cohesion....and it doesnt involve forming a daisy chain in the showers.
How silly and dishonest do you need to be?
Give me a break the Netherlands military have a lot of problems but pining their lack of performed on their gay members is beyond being silly and is very dishonest of the General.
I doubt any of this has to do with numbers of gays in the dutch armed forces, as I presume we have the same percentage, cloaked in not telling. The assumption that gays are less battle ready is only a construct, as far as I can tell. Perhaps they are usually more thoughtful, but I have no data on that.
that the Dutch officers told him off the record that the gays were a significant contributing factor. It is not our guy who made the evaluation.
They sat back and watched without a fight. The massacre may not have taken place if they had of stood up to the serbs who may have worried about the politics of killing UN soldiers
You mean the same Dutch officers who was looking for some reason other then their own lacks of abilities in leading their men
Too bad we will never know, because taboo does not allow us to ask the question and does not allow those who know the answers to speak.
that fact did not seem to interfere with the USSR driving the Germany Army back to Berlin.
But then when had facts interfere with a bigot outlook on life.
heterosexual and homosexual sexual tensions inside combat units is here to stay
When a UK General claims that having gay soldiers under his command is a problem I will then give some credit to his opinion but not to officers of Netherlands looking to cover their rear ends and not from their soldiers either.
The fall of the enclave is a sensitive issue here. It has been thoroughly studied, by the military as well as by civilian commissions. One such study brought about the fall of then Prime Minister Wim Kok's government.
The fact that such a massacre could take place in an area under the responsibility of Dutch soldiers has had lasting effects on Dutch military and civilian policy, and will always remain a open wound in the Dutch national psyche.
Yet among all the introspection and adjustments made in the wake of Srebrenica, the issue of homosexuality never came up.
Anger over US general's gay Dutch army slur
Friday 19 March 2010
A US general's assertion that the massacre of Serb Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995 was partly due to gay soldiers in the Dutch military has caused a storm of protest in the Netherlands.
Former US army general John Sheehan made the allegations during a senate hearing into plans to allow openly gay men and women to serve in the US armed forces.
The comments are 'scandalous', 'outrageous' and as 'low as you can go', prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende was quoted as saying after the weekly cabinet meeting.