It seems that US general Sheehan is a declared opponent of revoking the US Army’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, under which gays may serve in the army, but not acknowledge they’re gay. That’s ... not fine, but it is as it is.
Yesterday, however, Sheehan went completely around the bend by linking the Bosnian muslim
massacre in Srebrenica in 1995 to the fact that the Dutch army, which was supposed to protect
them, had openly-serving gay members.
(Source: Political Animal)
In other words, if the lousy, liberal Dutch hadn’t allowed filthy homosexuals to serve in their armed forces, the people from Srebrenica would have been spared. This is not only breathtakingly false, it’s also ridiculous.
When a representative asked him whether Dutch leaders blamed the massacres on the gays,
Sheehan said, apparently “They included that as part of the problem.” That’s
not only false, it’s also insulting.
(Source: Washington Post blog)
Srebrenica made a deep impression on the Dutch, linked as massacres (and genocide) are to the not-very-brilliant performance of the Dutch under the nazi occupation, when the majority of the Dutch Jews were deported and murdered.
Srebrenica has been researched time and again, and the consensus is that the Dutch troops were too lightly armed, had too strict orders, and were abandoned by NATO supreme command when they asked for air support. In the end they had no choice but to basically capitulate.
When the formal report was delivered in 2002, the Kok II government resigned over it. (This was mostly a stunt aimed at the elections that were less than two months away, but there was some genuine feeling involved, too.)
In any case, the absurd remarks of this American general were immediately denounced by just about everyone who has some link to the Dutch military. First in line was defense minister Van Middelkoop (CU), who called Sheehan’s remarks “scandalous, and unworthy of a military man.”
It should be noted that Van Middelkoop’s party, the CU, is not exactly pleased with the equality gays have conquered in Dutch society and deep in their hearts prefer to turn the clock back a bit. Still, Van Middelkoop put the national interest and the army before his party, as he should.
Prime minister Balkenende, the military unions, and the gay emancipation organisation said
similar things. From left to right the country has united against this idiocy.
(Source: Volkskrant | Algemeen Dagblad | NRC)
It seems a practical joker even updated Sheehan’s wikipedia page to say that he came
out as a gay back in 1988. False of course, and meanwhile removed, but this is the sort of
thing you can expect.
(Source: Nederlands Dagblad)
Apologies ought to be offered, but probably won’t be. Such is life for a minor ally.
By the way, did you know the US army lost the Vietnam war because it had too few gays serving in its ranks? No, really!
Update: New factoid: Sheehan was one of the supreme commanders of NATO forces during Srebrenica. That means he just wants to redistribute the blame for Srebrenica, and it makes him even more untrustworthy.
<— Party profile — PvdD | New Peil.nl poll —>
This is the political blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer, in Amsterdam. It’s a hobby blog where he follows Dutch politics for the benefit of those twelve foreigners that are interested in such matters, as well as his Dutch readers.