Retired Gen. John Sheehan testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee today, claiming that openly gay soldiers in the Dutch military were partially responsible for the failure of the NATO peacekeeping action in Bosnia, a failure which resulted in the genocide of thousands of Muslims.
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 Senator Levin. "Yes," Gen Sheehan said and added: "They included that as part of the problem." Gen Sheehan, who retired from the military in 1997, said he had been told that by the former chief of staff of the Dutch army. Senator Levin vehemently rejected Gen 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", Senator Levin said. Nearly 8000 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.