It’s not like U.S. military forces are necessarily “scared” of the Dutch military, but former NATO Commander Gen. John Sheehan’s comments at yesterday’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell hearings, where he blamed the Netherlands’ military’s supposed failure in Bosnia in 1995 on their allowance of openly gay soldiers, is a thing of ridiculousness so grand, even the Pentagon should be furious over Sheehan’s remarks.
For now, though, it’s the Dutch administration responding: Stop talking, you fool.
Sheehan blames the overrunning of Srebrenica, a United Nations safe haven that Dutch forces were protecting, by Bosnian Serb soldiers on the Dutch military’s homos. “It is astonishing that a man of his stature can utter such complete nonsense,” says Dutch defense spokesman Roger van de Wetering. “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.”
And the Dutch ambassador to the U.S., Renee Jones-Bos, weighed in, saying she “couldn’t disagree more.” And: “Dutch caretaker Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said via Twitter that he was amazed at the ex general’s comments – saying they reflected more about the discussion around homosexuals in the US army than anything else.” Heh.
Sheehan is undoubtedly a smart guy and a talented military mind. He would not have been leading the NATO forces in the 1990s were he not. But he just sank his credibility, not just at home (Sen. Carl Levin essentially called him a moron to his face), but in the international military community, of which more and more are allowing gays to serve openly. Because they are not idiots.