Friday, March 19, 2010

Ret. U.S. General Blames Gay Soldiers in Dutch Army for Massacre

Al Jazeera: Dutch Fury at "Srebrenika" Link
Officials in the Netherlands have reacted angrily to claims by a retired US general that Dutch forces protecting Bosnian civilians in Srebrenica in 1995 were overrun in part because of the presence of gay soldiers in their ranks.

John Sheehan, a former Nato commander, made the link during a US congressional hearing on allowing gay soldiers to serve openly in the military.

Bosnian Serb forces pushed past lightly armed Dutch soldiers in the United Nations-designated enclave in July 1995 and subsequently massacred about 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

In Thursday's testimony, Sheehan blamed a post-Cold War effort by European nations to "socialise" their forces by, among other things, letting gay people serve.

The Dutch defence ministry issued a statement calling Sheehan's claims "absolute nonsense" and said that gay Dutch soldiers routinely co-operate with the US military in the Nato mission in Afghanistan.

Renee Jones-Bos, the Dutch ambassador to the US, said in a statement that he "couldn't disagree more" with Sheehan.

Jones-Bos said there was no evidence of the general's claims in the extensive record of research on Srebrenica.

ANP, a Dutch news agency, quoted Wim van den Burg, the head of the military union AFMP, as saying Sheehan's comments were "ridiculous" and "out of the realm of fiction".

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