Friday, March 19, 2010

In Dutch

Talk about grasping at straws for reasons to keep DADT:

A retired Marine general told senators on Thursday that the Dutch Army failed to protect the city of Srebrenica during the Bosnian war partly because of the presence of gay soldiers in its armed forces.

John J. Sheehan, a former NATO commander who retired in 1997, made his comments during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that bans gay people from openly serving in uniform.

The collapse of the Soviet Union led European militaries, including the Netherlands, to believe there was no longer a need for active combat capabilities, Sheehan said.

“As a result, they declared a peace dividend and made a conscious effort to socialize their military,” he said, noting that the Dutch allowed troops to join unions and enlisted openly gay soldiers. Dutch forces were poorly led and unable to hold off Serb forces in 1995, leading to the execution of Bosnian Muslims and one of the largest European massacres since World War II, Sheehan said.

Committee chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) asked Sheehan whether Dutch leaders blamed the presence of gay troops in later conversations.

“They included that as part of the problem,” Sheehan said.

Pressed by Levin to name names, Sheehan cited Dutch Army Chief of Staff Hankman Berman, who was fired by the Dutch Parliament for failing to protect Srebrenica.

Rachel Maddow has the video of Gen. Sheehan testifying, and it’s pretty obvious from the questions and his answers that the issue isn’t whether or not the straight Dutch soldiers were turned into the chorus line from Blossom Time by being in the same unit as openly gay soldiers. It has to do with the fact that the views Gen. Sheehan holds are on the same level as the odious bigotry used to justify keeping the military racially segregated in the 1940’s or black kids out of white schools: the nameless, faceless irrational hatred of Teh Gay.