News / USA

Retired US General: Gay Dutch Troops Contributed to Srebrenica Massacre

A former top U.S. and NATO commander says the Netherlands' inclusion of gays in their military rendered Dutch peacekeeping troops unable to prevent the slaughter of thousands of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995.

Retired U.S. Marine General John Sheehan led the U.S. Atlantic Command and served as the top NATO commander in the mid-1990s,  the height of ethnic cleansing in former-Yugoslavia.

He told the Senate Armed Services Committee that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military would breed friction and undermine unit cohesion in the armed forces.  Asked by Senator Carl Levin whether other nations, like Britain and Israel, had suffered as a result of ending their nation's bans on gay military service, the general said "yes."

Sheehan pointed to the Netherlands, which he said embarked on a process of social engineering in the Dutch military once the Cold War ended. "They declared a peace dividend and made a conscious effort to socialize their military.  It included open homosexuality.  That led to a force that was ill-equipped to go to war," he said.

In fact, the Netherlands was among the first nations to end discrimination in the military based on sexual orientation, affirming the right of gays to serve years before the fall of the former Soviet Union.

Sheehan backed his contention that gay soldiers undermined Dutch combat readiness by pointing to the massacre of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995.  Four-hundred Dutch peacekeepers protecting the area were overwhelmed by Serbian forces, which killed an estimated 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

Linking the massacre to the Netherlands allowing gays in the military prompted this exchange with Senator Levin, who seemed perplexed by Sheehan's assertion.

SHEEHAN: "That [Srebrenica] was the largest massacre in Europe since World War II."
LEVIN: "And did the Dutch leaders tell you it was because there were gay soldiers there?"
SHEEHAN: "It was a combination ..."
LEVIN: "Did they tell you [that gay soldiers were to blame], that is my question."
SHEEHAN: "Yes."
LEVIN: "They did?"
SHEEHAN: "They included that as part of the problem."

Asked for comment, Dutch military officials expressed astonishment.  The spokesman for the Netherlands Ministry of Defense, Roger van de Wetering, told VOA Sheehan's assertions are "total nonsense" and that he "cannot believe that a man of that rank is stating such a thing."  He added that he had never heard Sheehan's allegation before from any source in the Netherlands or anywhere else.

Many historians have argued that Dutch peacekeeping forces in the Balkans were under-equipped and hampered by operational limitations imposed by the United Nations.

The Senate hearing is being held two months after President Barack Obama called on Congress to repeal a law mandating the U.S. military expel gay service members who do not keep their sexual orientation a secret.  

Since then, many of the nation's top military officials and commanders have voiced support for changing the policy after a thorough review process.  Some have expressed their personal opposition to repealing the law, but have pledged to enforce any new rules set forth by Congress.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid