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 , had told him of problems related to gay troops. Without explicitly referring to gay Dutch military, General Sheehan acknowledged that a weak United Nations mandate for troops was the problem facing peacekeepers. Up to 8, 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 , a legacy that has continued to haunt the Netherlands.
Royal Dutch Football Association
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A retired US general has apologised for suggesting that Dutch troops failed to stop the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia in because some of them were gay. Gen John Sheehan acknowledged that his views had been wrong, after the Dutch general he cited as his source denied having said anything of the kind. He made the claim at a Senate hearing on whether openly gay people should be allowed to serve in the US military. Srebrenica was a UN safe haven under the protection of Dutch peacekeepers when, in , Bosnian Serb forces overran the town, killing some 8, Muslim men and boys. Earlier this month, Gen Sheehan - a former Nato commander - cited retired Gen Henk van den Breemen as one of the Dutch army chiefs who had allegedly said that gays were "part of the problem" in the fall of Srebrenica.
A senior US officer and former Nato commander sparked outrage in the Netherlands today by declaring that gay soldiers in the Dutch military were one of the reasons for the Srebrenica massacre , the worst act of mass murder in Europe committed since the second world war. The Dutch government and military responded with anger and contempt after General John Sheehan, a retired marine corps officer who was Nato's supreme commander at the time of the atrocity, told a US Senate hearing that gay soldiers in the military could result in events like Srebrenica. In July Bosnian Serb forces overran the Bosnian Muslim enclave under the protection of Dutch UN peacekeepers and killed 8, Muslim males, making the event a traumatic national disgrace for the Dutch. Following recent remarks from Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, that Europeans had gone soft, Sheehan argued that changes after the end of the cold war had reduced Europe's appetite for combat.
Gen John Sheehan said he was told forces failed because of poor morale over gay soldiers. Dutch officials have rejected a retired US general's claim that its forces failed at Srebrenica because of poor morale over openly gay soldiers. A defence ministry spokesman dismissed as "complete nonsense" the remarks by John Sheehan, a former Nato commander.