Dutch fuming at retired U.S. general's gay comment

Former military official claims gays weakened Dutch army

Published March 19, 2010 1:29PM (EDT)

A retired U.S. general's claim that gay Dutch soldiers were partly to blame for allowing Europe's worst massacre since World War II has sparked outrage in the Netherlands.

Retired Gen. John Sheehan on Thursday told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., that gay soldiers weakened the Dutch army, which failed to prevent Serb forces massacring some 8,000 Muslim men in the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995.

Dutch caretaker Defense Minister Eimert van Middelkoop said Friday the claim was "damaging" and not worthy of a soldier. "I don't want to waste any more words on it," he said.

Gen. Henk van den Breemen, Dutch Chief of Staff at the time of the Srebrenica genocide, called Sheehan's comments "total nonsense."

By Associated Press

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