Retired US Marine General John Sheehan got one thing right in his testimony to the US Congress: gays serve in the Dutch military. But it takes a foreigner to point that out. Here in The Netherlands, gays have served in the military for decades.
General Sheehan blamed the fall of the UN enclave in Srebrenica in 1995, which led to the massacre of thousands of Bosnian Muslims, partly on the fact that homosexuals served in the Dutch military.
"That was the largest massacre in Europe since World War Two. The Dutch army allowed homosexuals and you know what happened there."
The retired general made these comments during a hearing considering whether to lift the US 'don't ask, don't tell' policy that allows homosexuals to serve in the military only if they keep quiet about it.
The reaction here in The Netherlands has been a universal, 'huh?' From the current Foreign Minister to the Defence Minister at the time of the Srebrenica massacre; from leaders of unions representing soldiers to the former army commander; all have said that General Sheehan's remarks do not have the slightest basis in reality.
The 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.