A retired US general on Thursday said Dutch UN troops defending Srebrenica in the Bosnian war failed to prevent the 1995 genocide partly because their ranks included openly gay soldiers.
John Sheehan, a former NATO commander and senior Marine officer, made the remarks at a senate hearing where he argued against plans by President Barack Obama to end a ban on allowing gays to serve openly in the US military.
Sheehan said that after the end of the Cold War, European militaries changed and concluded “there was no longer a need for an active combat capability.”
He said this “socialization” process “included open homosexuality” and led to “a focus on peacekeeping operations because they did not believe the Germans were going to attack again or the Soviets were coming back.”
“The case in point that I’m referring to is when the Dutch were required to defend Srebrenica against the Serbs,” he said, referring to the UN peacekeeping force deployed to protect Bosnian Muslim civilians.
“The battalion was understrength, poorly led, and the Serbs came into town, handcuffed the soldiers to the telephone polls, marched the Muslims off and executed them.”
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 Levin.
“Yes,” Sheehan said and added: “They included that as part of the problem.”
Sheehan, who retired from the military in 1997, said he had been told that by the former chief of staff of the Dutch army.
Levin vehemently rejected Sheehan’s allegation, saying that drawing a connection between the massacre at Srebrenica and gays in the Dutch military was “totally off-target.”
The failure of the Dutch UN troops to fend off an attack by Bosnian Serb forces had “nothing to do with sexual orientation” but was related to “their training and the rules of engagement,” Levin said.
Nearly 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed after Serb forces captured the eastern town on July 11, 1995, in the worst massacre in Europe since World War II.
This video is from the Senate Armed Services Committee, uploaded to YouTube March 18, 2010.
Trump appointee flails in Senate hearing as he tries to explain contradictory Pentagon statements
In the wake of news reports that the Trump administration is considering sending an additional 14,000 troops to the Middle East, potentially doubling the current amount of US troops sent to the region since May, the Pentagon's attempts to deny the revelations aren't going to well, according to Task & Purpose.
In a statement, Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah said that there are no plans for a troop increase "at this time."
"As discussed in the hearing today, we are constantly evaluating the threat situation around the world and considering our options," Farah said. "We adjust our force posture and troop levels based on adversary action and the dynamic security situation. Secretary Esper spoke to Chairman Inhofe this morning and reaffirmed that we are not considering sending 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East at this time."
‘Make America 36th Out of 41 Developed Nations Again’: Social justice index of developed nations puts US near bottom
Meanwhile, the democratic-socialist Nordic countries of Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden enjoy the top spots in detailed survey of OECD nations.
Not dead last, but close to it.
That's where the United States came out in a new survey of the world's 41 highly-developed nations measuring access to social justice and the opportunities they afford their respective citizens and residents.
Where’s the ‘secret’ White House Russia room? diplomat jokes
One of Moscow's top diplomats joked to President Donald Trump on Thursday after touring the White House that he was disappointed not to have seen the "secret" Russia room.
"Thank you for the tour of the White House," Vasily Nebenzya, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations, told Trump at a lunch for the members of the UN Security Council.
"We saw the China room, but we didn't see the Russia room," Nebenzya said to laughter from around the table, adding that he wondered if such a room existed but was "top secret."
Nebenzya's quip followed remarks by China's UN ambassador, Zhang Jun, who thanked Trump for his hospitality, saying, "We have made a tour around this number of rooms: the green one, the red one and also the China room."