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Netherlands Military Outraged Over U.S. General Blaming Gay Dutch Soldiers For Massacre

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Before the Srebrenica Massacre of 1995, it was estimated by United Nation officials that a total of 34,000 soldiers would be needed to protect six Serbian towns that had been declared “safe zones”. As the Bosnian ethnic cleaning and mass murder of Muslims continued, NATO allocated too few men with only light equipment to protect the town of Srebrenica. Amidst pleas from them for supporting air strikes that fell on deaf ears, a force of only 450 Dutch Soldiers tried to hold back the Serbs, but were quickly overwhelmed, handcuffed to utility poles and rendered helpless to prevent between seven and eight thousand Muslim men and boys being marched off and slaughtered before their eyes.

There was swift and at times angry Dutch reaction after retired NATO commander and U.S. General of the Marines John Sheehan told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that former Dutch Chief of Defense General van den Breemen told him that homosexuals were partially to blame for the Netherlands’ impotent reaction during that infamous 1995 massacre. The Dutch government and people’s response to the bigoted American General’s attempt to rewrite history was immediate.

Dutch leaders and military officials were shaking their heads in outrage that anyone in their government would state such a thing, since gay soldiers have been allowed to serve openly with honor, gallantry, and distinction in their unionized military for over thirty-five years.

Retired General van den Breemen himself reacted to the use of his name by stating through official military channels that Sheehan’s statement was, “absolute nonsense.”

Dutch Defense Ministry spokesman Roger van de Wetering stated, "It is astonishing that a man of his stature can utter such complete nonsense, the Srebrenica massacre and the involvement of UN soldiers was extensively investigated by the Netherlands, international organisations and the United Nations. "Never was there in any way concluded that the sexual orientation of soldiers played a role."

Friday morning Radio Netherlands’ commentaries agreed with van de Wetering and asserted that with all of the studies in the aftermath of the massacre, the presence of homosexuals in their military was never even brought up as a factor, and to assert so was ridiculous. Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen and Defense Minister Elmert van Middelkoop both branded the bigoted attempt to blame gays in their military as “Extreemly strange” and reasserted that gays have served honorably in Britain, Canada, Australia and most notably Israel with no upset of morale or courage. On Dutch media Middelkoop later branded Sheehan’s remarks "scandalous, and unworthy of a soldier."

Sheehan’s additional assertion during the hearings that a squad leader trying to molest a fellow soldier under his command could have dire consequences in the heat of battle drew swift reaction as well from people with years of experience serving with openly gay soldiers. Dutch military union leader Jan Kleian appeared on television and said of Sheehan, “That man is just crazy,” then considering that statement added, “That sounds harsh, but what else can I say, because it is complete nonsense.”

Appalled, Renée Jones-Bos, the Dutch Ambassador to the United States, expressed her utter disagreement with General Sheehan’s assertion by posting the following on her website:

"The military mission of Dutch U.N. soldiers at Srebrenica has been exhaustively studied and evaluated, nationally and internationally. There is nothing in these reports that suggests any relationship between gays serving in the military and the mass murder of Bosnian Muslims."

About Jet Gardner

I like collecting books, music, movies, chess sets and friends
  • zingzing

    stm: “That makes sense, since the original Rochambeau was a Frenchman.”

    i think it’s actually an agglutination of the french phrase for “rocks-scissors-paper.” take from that what you will…

  • Jet Gardner

    Why not argue Coke vs Pepsi which should produce just as much leeway?

  • Boeke

    “If I was dressed up in a mountain of plastic armour, I could hit like a truck too.”

    If Footballers replaced the plastic armor with Real Steel Armor the resulting clanking would be much more satisfying. You’d gain some fane from the”Renaissance Pleasure Faire” crowd, too.

    Then if they eliminated timeouts and had to drag the dead and wounded off the field during actual play it would be exciting.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Jet @ #249: LOL. That’ll teach you to leave your computer on standby while you’re asleep.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Problem for you is, once you’ve been, you’ll want to live there

    I dunno. Hobart is very pretty, but I didn’t feel like I wanted to live there. Sydney, on the other hand…!

    Melbourne: I loved the weather (all four seasons in one day… I’m English, remember), the excitement (it was the first city we visited in Australia) and finding a decent kebab shop. But living there? Eh. Bit too staid for my taste.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Boeke @ #253: Makes sense. American football is often compared to chess, which in turn is often compared to warfare.

    Perhaps the American version of football really is the oldest code, and was invented not in some Ivy League college but on the battlefields of medieval Europe. :-)

  • Jet Gardner

    I’d like to go black opal hunting in Australia

  • Jet Gardner

    I had a strange dream last night that Ian Roberts was tied to a windmill and Gen. Sheehan was hurling maxipads at him trying to get him to divulge where the football was that he’d hidden microfilm of a street map of Sydney in…

  • Jet Gardner

    The ten most dangerous sports arrrrrrrre…

    10. RUGBY: Possibly the most brutal contact sport on the planet. These boys put NFL stars to shame by being just as vicious in their tackling but without any of the protection. Given that fact, it’s hardly surprising that rugby has more injuries per player than any other participation sport. In fact, they’re three times more likely to get injured than someone in martial arts. Torn muscles, concussion, broken bones – these boys don’t stop unless they can’t physically continue.

    9. CAVE DIVING: Being a diver is bad enough, what with the risk of decompression, which can cause failure of the spinal cord, brain and lungs. But diving in caves takes things to a whole other level. At depths of 100 feet in a pitch-black cave it’s incredibly easy to lose your bearings, have problems with your air supply – or even be eaten by some big, vicious creature. According to the Texas-based San Marcos Area Recovery Team, more than 500 people have died since 1960 while cave diving in Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean alone.

    8. CHEERLEADING: In the US alone, there were more than 20,000 reported injuries last year alone, making cheerleading the world’s most injury-prone sport in the world for women. In fact, the girls on the sidelines are more at risk of hurting themselves than the guys on the football field. Broken legs and spinal injuries are not uncommon. Don’t tell these hardcore girls that cheerleading isn’t a sport – they’ll eat you for breakfast.

    7. MOTORCYCLING: The most dangerous motor race in the world is, without doubt, the Isle of Man TT event. In its 100-year history, this one race has seen more than 220 deaths. The race mainly involves trying not to die by falling off your bike and ploughing headfirst into a tree at ridiculously high speeds.

    6. FISHING: The sedate pastime of angling has one of the highest mortality rates of any sport due to the number of people who drown every year. Rock fishing – which involves casting a line into the ocean from the shoreline – is also notoriously dangerous, with people often losing their lives when they are dragged under by huge unexpected waves. In Australia alone, 15 people died while rock fishing in 2001. Plus, which other sport’s competitors routinely take part in what is, to all intents and purposes, mass murder? Fish have feelings too, you know…

    5. ROCK CLIMBING: According to Accidents In North American Mountaineering, the year 2000 saw 24 deaths in the US due to rock climbing mishaps. As well as getting up to wherever it is you want to go, you’ve got to be able to get back down, which is what makes this such a dangerous sport – it’s not too easy to get medical help when you’re 1,000 feet up and there’s nowhere to land a chopper. Bad weather can prove extremely hazardous, quickly causing frostbite or hypothermia. In the insurance world, rock climbing is classed as a Category 5 sport. The only things more dangerous are Category 6 sports, which include naked knife fighting and blind archery.

    4. GOLF: It may be just below boxing and ice hockey in the brutality stakes, but golf is right up there in the death stakes. Some figures suggest more than 4,000 of us take our last breath on the fairway every year. It’s also a killing field when it comes to bad weather, with five per cent of all lightning-related deaths taking place on the golf course.

    3. HORSE RIDING: A recent survey on the number of fatalities per 100,000 participants in the US put riding a horse – including eventing, racing and show jumping – at the top of the list with a whopping 128. And that’s without taking into account all the horses that perished too. Compare this number to the seemingly much more dangerous sport of boxing – which has just 1.3 deaths per 100,000 – and it puts into perspective quite how dangerous getting your leg over a horse can be.

    2. BASE JUMPING: Dangerous for the simple fact that it’s all or nothing – if your parachute opens you’ll be fine, if it doesn’t you’re looking at certain death. A comprehensive study has revealed that since the first BASE jump around 30 years ago, 175 people have been killed. Anyone taking part in this sport is basically betting their life on whether a chute opens properly or not. Think I’ll stick to lawn bowls, thank you very much!

    1. LAWN BOWLS: Forget those UFC pussies, lawn bowls is for REAL men (and women!). Going off the number of deaths per player, it is the world’s most dangerous sport, killing literally thousands worldwide every year. Its hardcore competitors will stop at nothing in pursuit of victory. If you’re one of the lucky ones that escapes death, there are thousands more who end up with dislocated ankles, broken hips, torn knees or who simply keel over with a heart attack or a stroke due to the incredibly stressful nature of the game. Either that or it’s down to most of the competitors being over 85 and lugging great big balls around.

    1a Jet asking someone to digg an article

  • cannonshop

    #259 nah, don’t need to get that elaborate-just make all televised games (esp. the Superbowl) played outdoors at sites like Minot N. Dakota in the middle of winter. Or just give them swords…

  • Dr Dreadful

    I’d like to go black opal hunting in Australia

    Ah yes, the feared black opal of central Australia, the most ferocious of all gemstones: responsible for more human deaths than mountain lions, bears, deer and being forced to watch VH1 combined.

    In its natural habitat, the vast deserts of the Outback, the black opal preys mainly on small lizards and carrion, but human encroachment on its range has given this ferocious mineral an appetite for sheep, beer, barbecued meat – and people.

    In the harrowing episode 96 of Lethal Australia, season 243, Sheila Mental, of Coober Pedy, recalls vividly watching her husband Doug carried off by a huge swarm of opals in October 1997. “They came out of nowhere,” she sobs. “Their fangs were flashing in the sun and they had the most horrible red eyes. And they were made a snarling noise like a thousand growling sharks. Poor Doug didn’t stand a chance. Didn’t even get to finish his beer. I can still hear the screams. I haven’t slept an uninterrupted night since, even that time I attended a midnight screening of Speed 2: Cruise Control at the local drive-in.”

    Sporadic reports fuel rumours that the black opal is starting to colonize the suburbs, and even the feared surfer gangs who started the 2005 Sydney race riots are said to be losing territory to marauding bands of bling.

    The Commissioner of the New South Wales State Police, Ken Stump, denied reports that his force had set up an Opal Rapid Response Squad, but was seen to be swigging discreetly from a hip flask after a reporter confronted him with the rumour at a recent press conference.

    But some are in little doubt of the danger that opals pose to the Sunburned Continent. “Black opals are in our midst,” insists Luigi Whizzer, self-appointed Chief Inquisitor of the Sydney Reckless Hunting Society, “and they’re deadly. So naturally we in the Society want to go and put ourselves in as much pointless danger as possible from them. They make funnel web spiders look like fluffy puppy dogs.”

    This is literally true, as the rapacious rock is said to exude a venom which can turn living tissue into a mass of wool-like fibres.

    (Arlo Phantasm and Brett Mincer, of the AP, contributed to this report from Miami, a reassuring number of thousands of miles away from Australia.)

  • Jet Gardner

    Cute Doc… real cute

  • Silas Kain

    How did a conversation inspired by Gay Dutch Boys turn into a debate about football and a travelogue of Australia? I feel like this is the Dr. Strangelove version of Pirates of Penzance.

  • Dr Dreadful

    We aim to please, Silas.

  • STM

    “Dr. Strangelove version of Pirates of Penzance.”

    Lol. Yeah, it is a bit like that.

    Me and zing love butting heads … my sport’s better than yours-style, or (from him) Aussie music is crap.

    I can fully understand why Americans like American football as I grew up playing rugby, even if I find it very slow going at times.

    What I can’t understand is why the heathens from the southern and western states of this continent go so mad over the 2-hour-long giant all-in brawl played on an oval-shaped 200m ground they call Australian Football.

    I’ll just never get it because it’s not big in the eastern states.

    I also can’t understand why the Europeans and South Americans go so mad over soccer … 22 overpaid bogans with mullets and earrings booting a bag of wind up and down the field in the forlorn hope that in the course of the 90 minutes, someone might actually kick it between the sticks.

    And therein lies the secret to all this: it’s what you grow up with. It’s why zing likes American football; I like rugby and rugby league; heathens like Australian football; Doc likes soccer, and why Chris Rose, our other resident Englishman, also likes rugby league and rugby because that was the game they played in the part of England in which he grew up.

    Also, I just like stirring the pot. Sorry boys. It’s a national trait in these parts.

    If you’re not getting a razzing down here, or no one’s bothered to give you a nickname no matter how bad, it means no one cares.

  • Jet Gardner

    US general apologises for gay Dutch troops slur:
    An American general has apologised for his claim that the presence of homosexual troops was responsible for the Dutch army’s failure to prevent the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

    Bruno Waterfield, in Brussels
    Published: 1:38PM BST 30 Mar 2010

    John Sheehan, a former US General and Nato commander, caused outrage two weeks ago when he alleged that open homosexuality in the Dutch ranks had so damaged military morale that the country’s army was powerless to prevent genocide in Bosnia.

    He claimed, before a US Senate hearing, that Henk van den Breemen, the Dutch chief of the defence staff in 1995, had told him of problems related to gay troops.

    “I am sorry that my public recollection of those discussions of 15 years ago inaccurately reflected your thinking on some specific social issues on the military,” he wrote in a letter to the Dutch general.

    Without explicitly referring to gay Dutch military, General Sheehan acknowledged that a weak United Nations mandate for troops was the problem facing peacekeepers.

    “To be clear, the failure on the ground in Srebrenica was no way the fault of individual soldiers,” he wrote.

    A spokesperson for the Dutch Ministry of Defence said General Van den Breemen was satisfied with the apology.

    Up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys were massacred by Bosnian Serb forces after Dutch UN peacekeepers failed to prevent the fall of the Srebrenica enclave in July 1995, a legacy that has continued to haunt the Netherlands.

    Following the apology, the “Pink Army”, a group representing gay Dutch soldiers, has withdrawn its threat to take Gen Sheehan to court for slander.

    “It is quite something for a senior military man to admit he was wrong and say sorry,” said a spokesman.

    Gen Sheehan claimed on March 18 that Gen Van den Breemen had told him that gay soldiers were seen as “part of the problem” which contributed to the fall of Srebrenica.

  • Jac

    I here the Dutch government wanted to file a defamation lawsuit because of this. From what I recall of the incident Sheehan was speaking before a Congressional committee and would have or does have immunity against any alleged defamatory statements, be it national or international.

    In light of this individual Dutch soldiers would have no standing to bring an action on behalf of the Dutch Army and the Dutch Army has no standing before United States courts. Also Sheehan did not publish or broadcast any statements,

    He only testified verbally before Congress. Defamation would be correct for what he said although Congressional immunity for testimony before committees nullify any potential claim(s). It kind of reminds me of the Danish cartoon defaming Muhammad and it’s consequence regarding free speech.

  • Jet Gardner

    Sort of like when I was broadsied by a police car and couldn’t sue the city under omnipotent domain because the city is the people and the people can’t sue themselves.

    More likey it’s the same as when spies and diplomats have diplomatic immunity.

    Maybe they can sue through Hague international court.

  • Jet Gardner

    270-270: My pleasure-glad you liked it.

  • Jet Gardner

    269-Try previewing it first and then publishing

  • Jet Gardner

    JUST when you thought this asshole general was through twisting the truth, he opens his lying mouth yet again!

    The fourth paragraph…

    ….Just a few months after apologising for suggesting gay soldiers were responsible for the Srebrenica massacre, US Army General John Sheehan has said allowing gays to serve openly in the military would have a “devastating” effect.

    He was writing jointly with the anti-gay Family Research Council president Tony Perkins for Politico magazine.

    The pair wrote that homosexuality has “profound behavioural implications” and “inevitable” sexual attraction among soldiers could “devastate morale, foster heightened interpersonal tension and lead to division”.

    They added that an increased risk of HIV in gay and bisexual men would be “devastating” and have “pronounced implications for battlefield blood transfusions”.

    Quoting data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they said gay and bisexual men were “50 times more likely to have HIV than heterosexual men”.

    The wrote: “This proposal is not about bigotry. Race is a superficial and benign element of one’s humanness, while homosexuality is a matter of behaviour.

    “Homosexuality is not about civil rights but conduct detrimental to the discipline, trust and combat readiness of what has been — and still is — the world’s finest military.”

    They concluded: “If we want to keep it that way, we should not permit openly practicing homosexuals to serve in the US military.”

    Gen Sheehan avoided a reprimand for his remarks at a Senate hearing on the military’s ban on out gay soldiers.

    He said that Dutch military officials told him that allowing gay soldiers the Dutch army had led to poor morale, which led to a failure to prevent the genocide of 8,000 Muslims.

    He later wrote to Dutch officials to apologise for “inaccurately ” remembering discussions

  • Dr Dreadful

    He should be demoted to major immediately.

    Then he’d be a Major Asshole.

    Perhaps he has a brother who’s a gunner… Gunner’s Mate Philip Asshole.

    “I knew it! I’m surrounded by Assholes!”


  • Jet Gardner

    You’ve been watching Spaceballs again haven’t you?

  • Dr Dreadful

    Jet… I am your father’s brother’s cousin’s uncle’s former roommate.

  • Dr Dreadful


    Doc: Jet… I am your father.
    Jet: Really?
    Doc: No, not really. I can’t back that up.

  • Jet Gardner

    Doc Dread & Soccer fans please HELP! Tell me if this is a parody or if they’re actually serious!

    A Baptist church is actually accusing pro-soccer of using the word “football” without permission of the NFL!!!!!!

  • Jet Gardner

    My aunt Margaret’s next-door-neighbor had a step sister whose hairdresser was one.

  • Jet Gardner

    She had one in the refridgerator too, but it wilted when the light blew out.

  • Dr Dreadful

    Are you playing that game of yours again, jet?

  • Dr Dreadful

    And yes, Jet, “Landover Baptist Church” is a well-known internet parody.

  • Jet Gardner

    279-It fell off a shelf into my aquarium and disolved, so I had to start a new one-damned near killed the fish.

  • Jet Gardner

    280-I knew it was Doc, I just thought you’d get a good laugh out of it…

  • Phil

    To bring this up to date. I see that Obama is trying his best to repeal the law in the states to allow gays to operate openly. It is surprising still that he has so much opposition to this pathetic law. A close relative of mine here in the UK is a closet gay and a sergant in the army. He has to keep his sexuality secret from all but his closest friends however, after 6 years of service he is the proud owner of not one but two, bravery awards. It is difficult to understand what the General was really getting at here in this now infamous incident. What exactly can’t a gay man do that a straight one cannot? It sounds to me as an easy target for a scapegoat but ultimately we probably will never know the reasoning behind his argument entirely. One thing is for sure though, as the bullets fly and your life is in the hands of your comrade in arms next to you – sexuality is the last thing on soldiers minds other than preservation of themselves and their mates.

  • Definition

    A lie that the Dutch govenment is vigorously uncovering as we speak.

  • Jet Gardner

    Thanks Def, Click on my name/link and you’ll discover 10 separate news tickers that display gay news headlines/links from around the world. They’re updated every 30-45 seconds and rotate worldwide sources and subjects independently of one another every 2 minutes.

    I’ve actually got small local gay newspapers that now rely on them to keep in touch with our world in real time.


  • Clover Leaf

    Hey Jet! I just checked out your link and the headline service is GREAT. You said there were 10 tickers above-I counted 17. Way cool!

    Why haven’t you written anything new here lately?


  • Jet Gardner

    Thanks Mr. Leaf. I was concerned that 15 newsreels would make the page load too slow, but after a bunch of e-mails asking me to expand it, I revamped the feature just this monning.

    I haven’t written for a while because I’m still going through physical therapy for my last knee operation and I’m stoned on percocet half the time.

    I’m hoping for a “comeback” soon.

    be patient… and thanks for the feedback.

  • Jet Gardner

    AMSTERDAM (AP) — Embracing a policy of “Do Tell,” the Dutch military joined Amsterdam’s annual Gay Pride parade for the first time, with uniformed men and women saluting the crowds from a boat chugging through a historic city canal.

    A balloon-festooned barge bearing the standards of the service branches and sponsored by the Defense Ministry sailed among about 80 other floats.

    The parade, watched by hundreds of thousands of spectators lining the Prinsengracht canal, capped a weeklong festival of around 300 parties and events.

    U.S. and British activists sailed with Dutch generals and other senior officers — some gay and others showing solidarity — among some 80 military and ministry civilian personnel.

    Unlike the U.S. military, gays have openly served in Dutch units since 1974, and for 25 years have had a department within the ministry that minds their interests, the Foundation for Homosexuals in the Armed Forces.

    Still, gay servicemen say having their own presentation in the famed floating parade marked “a huge step forward” in a country already noted for sexual equality.

    In the last two years soldiers were allowed to participate in military dress on other boats.

    “This shows everyone that the climate is changing,” he said.

    Hamstra said 6 to 8 percent of the Dutch military are gay or lesbian — about the same as in the general population.

    “It’s so amazing to be here. This country got it right,” said former U.S. Army Lt. Dan Choi, who was discharged last year after violating the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Choi applied to re-enlist after President Barack Obama signed a law last month repealing the ban.