Sheehan blames Bosnian massacre on gay Dutch soldiers
March 18th, 2010
In a page right out of Scott Lively’s playbook, retired General John Sheehan assigns gay the blame for one of the world’s atrocities. This time, it’s the massacre of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica. (Herald Sun)
A RETIRED US general today said Dutch UN troops defending Srebrenica in the Bosnian war failed to prevent the 1995 genocide partly because their ranks included openly gay soldiers.
The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, pressed him to clarify his comments about Srebrenica.
“Did the Dutch leaders tell you it (the fall of Srebrenica) was because there were gay soldiers there?” asked an incredulous Senator Levin.
“Yes,” Gen Sheehan said and added: “They included that as part of the problem.”
Gen Sheehan, who retired from the military in 1997, said he had been told that by the former chief of staff of the Dutch army.
Nearly 8,000 Bosnian men and boys were slaughtered by the Serbs at Srebrenica. This assignment of blame to gay soldiers appears to be a new theory, one that was not discovered by the Dutch in their subsequent review of what went wrong.
Sheehan appeared to be arguing that the liberalization of the European militaries led to weakness and suggesting that allowing gay soldiers to serve resulted in sissy-boy soldiers. He didn’t share his views on how that worked in the Israeli army.
Senator Levin wasn’t having it and called Sheehan out on his biases. (Navy Times)
“I think we all remember Srebrenica,” Levin said. “Any effort to connect that failure on the part of the Dutch to the fact that they had homosexuals … is totally off target. I see no suggestion of that. It’s no more on point than the fact that they may have allowed African or Dutch-African or women” to serve.
“My comment was that the liberalization … ” Sheehan said.
Levin interrupted. “I agree with that,” he said. “They weren’t good in that respect. They were trained to be peacekeepers, not peace enforcers. … But to slide over from that into a suggestion that it had something to do with the fact that homosexuals were allowed in the Dutch army suggests that somehow or other homosexuals are not great fighters. … I think that is totally wrong.”
It will be interesting to hear the response of the Dutch government to Sheehan’s assertions. [Update: Dutch military officials have responded.]
Sheehan also shared his opinions on the attitudes of soldiers, decades after he was last in any position to know. (Stars and Stripes)
On Thursday, retired Marine Gen. John Sheehan, former head of U.S. Atlantic Command, told lawmakers he supports the yearlong review but believes researchers will conclude that such a change is detrimental to unit cohesion and morale.
“Military life is fundamentally different than civilian life,” he said. “Popular culture may have changed over the years, but military culture and responsibilities have changed very little.”
Sheehan said known homosexuals in units he commanded caused disruption for all his Marines, forcing troops to choose sides and creating fear among those who had to work closely with them.
Having presented an argument that is both outdated and bizarrely homophobic, I wonder if Sheehan has actually hurt his cause.