Don't Ask, Don't Tell | Military | News | The Netherlands

General Sheehan 'Sorry' for Blaming Bosnian Genocide on Gays

Former U.S. General John Sheehan has apologized to the Dutch military for remarks he made during testimony before the Senate Armed Services committee regarding "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" which blamed the 1995 Bosnian massacre at Srebrenica on the fact that the Dutch allow gays to serve openly in its military.

Sheehan The National Post reports

"John Sheehan, a retired former NATO commander and senior Marine officer, 'wrote a letter of apology,' ministry spokeswoman Anne van Pinxteren told AFP. In it, Mr. Sheehan said he was 'sorry'" for remarks made at a Senate hearing earlier this month where he argued against plans by President Barack Obama to end a ban on allowing gays to serve openly in the US military. 'The case in point that I'm referring to is when the Dutch were required to defend Srebrenica against the Serbs,' he said at the time, referring to the Dutch UN peacekeeping force deployed to protect Bosnian Muslim civilians...'To be clear, the failure on the ground in Srebrenica was in no way the fault of the individual soldiers,' states Mr. Sheehan's letter, dated Monday and addressed to the now retired Mr. Van den Breemen. 'I am sorry that my recent public recollection of those discussions of 15 years ago inaccurately reflected your thinking on some specific social issues in the military,' said the letter, a copy of which was given to AFP by the ministry. 'It is also regrettable that I allowed you to be pulled into a public debate.'"

Sheehan's remarks were condemned by the Dutch military, and Dutch gay rights group Pink Army threatened to sue Sheehan.

Pink Army expressed relief at the ex-General's apology. Writes the group:

Pinkarmy  "'The reactions and the publicity in the Netherlands and in the United States have obviously put so much pressure on him that he’s had to retract his words' says Peter Schouten, founder of Pink Army. ‘The way things developed around this incident shows that the fight for human rights not only is a cause for government but that interest groups and individual citizens have a role to play in it. This enhances the chance of success against injustice. We have to find a way of getting along with one another.’ says Schouten. The most important thing for Pink Army was to get the apology of Gen. Sheehan and that he acknowledge he had given a wrong statement. Now that he has expressed regret, the need to start legal proceedings has vanished. Tomorrow Pink Army will discuss this with the COC (the largest organization for gay rights in the Netherlands) and the Organization for homosexuals in the Dutch Military. As you know Pink Army had started preparations for a class action suit involving seven gay military personnel at the federal court in California. To progress it was necessary to obtain a deposition from [former commander and chief of the Dutch army] Gen. Van den Breemen . Pink Army had to first find out who was telling the truth in this case. Pink Army expresses the hope that the new statement from Sheehan will receive the same attention as his early remarks before the American Congress, because his words deeply offended gays in and out of the military. ‘With his letter Sheehan has, as far as we are concerned, confirmed that his earlier remarks were incorrect.’ said Schouten."

So what are the penalties Sheehan will have to endure for totally making something up in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee???

Sheehan's testimony, if you missed it, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I really think it would have been simpler to write: "The case in point that I'm referring to is that sketch from Monty Python with the Swishing Soldiers singing 'I'll scratch your eyes out!'. Seriously! Did you ever see that? It's on Youtube, you know. Just look up 'Monty Python Army Camp', it's right there. Didja see it? I mean, who *couldn't* handcuff a troop of nancy boys like that, amiright??"

    Posted by: Likes Ketchup | Mar 30, 2010 7:36:03 AM

  2. It sounds like he's only telling half of his half-hearted apology. Allow me to fill it the part that he's just thinking really loudly.

    "To be clear, the failure on the ground in Srebrenica was in no way the fault of the individual soldiers..."
    because it wasn't their decision to let filthy queers in the military.

    "I am sorry that my recent public recollection of those discussions of 15 years ago inaccurately reflected your thinking on some specific social issues in the military..."
    even though your thinking is wrong on some specific social issues in the military.

    "It is also regrettable that I allowed you to be pulled into a public debate..."
    because you made me look like a bigoted relic and by bringing you into the public debate you provide an example of how openly serving gays is actually being implemented elsewhere without everything falling apart.

    Posted by: JT | Mar 30, 2010 8:17:16 AM

  3. I hope they continue with the lawsuit. This jerk ought not to get-away-with making up lies and telling them to the public and to Congress and then walk-away with no consequences. His lies were outrageous and detrimental to military order. He should be held responsible for them.

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Mar 30, 2010 8:29:26 AM

  4. And as usual, the HRC crickets are chirping away.

    Posted by: Jubal | Mar 30, 2010 9:18:08 AM

  5. I hope they also continue the lawsuit, but the damage has been done. This is a recurring theme with these wingnuts. They lie like there is no tomorrow, get it broadcast nonstop on FoxNews - misinform billions of people, then quietly issue a retraction - which of course, no one sees.

    Posted by: Mike | Mar 30, 2010 9:20:44 AM

  6. "Penalties"? Surely you must have meant "promotion," right?

    Posted by: HW In SoCal | Mar 30, 2010 9:47:10 AM

  7. lying to congress the general should be made to pay the price. it is a crime.

    Posted by: walter | Mar 30, 2010 10:00:37 AM

  8. MY thoughts about the general's comments and lies are contained in two words...butt and orifice!

    Posted by: Arturo Beeche | Mar 30, 2010 10:23:47 AM

  9. Wow, only took, what - 10 days and an international uproar with a condemnation from the Dutch government to get this half-hearted apology!

    As far as I'm concerned, he can take his apology and shove it up his ass.

    Posted by: DN | Mar 30, 2010 11:09:14 AM

  10. That "apology" TOTALLY missed the point. He was TESTIFYING BEFORE CONGRESS SPECIFICALLY about gays in the military. His disgusting accusation was made DIRECTLY against gay people yet there was no mention of what exactly he was apologizing for. There was no mention that he was RETRACTING HIS TESTIMONY (the MOST important thing). There is no mention that he retracts his statement about the policy being one of the reasons that the Dutch military "failed" in their mission.

    Will he be recalled to recant his testimony? Will he be asked to clarify specific remarks about the policy of gays in the Dutch military? After all THAT and ONLY that was why he was testifying in the first place. He has done a shit load of damage to the gay community and to the DADT argument. He MUST be forced to VERY publicly and UNDER OATH recant his entire statement. He should also be investigated for lying before Congress.

    This "apology" was meant to do nothing but save face for himself and smooth over US/Dutch relations. This was a "good soldier" move that had absolutely NOTHING to do with recanting his perjured testimony.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Mar 30, 2010 12:21:03 PM

  11. I'm sorry but I can't let this go.

    ONCE AGAIN gay publications are carrying water for the homophobes by MISREPORTING the facts. The headline of THIS post says that the General "apologized for blaming Bosnian genocide of gays". Where did he do that? The answer is HE DIDN'T DO ANY SUCH THING. READ his "apology". NEVER does he say that he sorry for making that claim. In FACT he goes to great pains to NOT say that. His original claim was that liberalization of the Dutch military, including opening it up to open service by gays, led to a weakened force that was PART of the reason Screbenecia happened. In his "apology" he says that "INDIVIDUAL soldiers were not to blame and he's sorry that he gave the impression that the Dutch General had told him that. See what happened there? He never addressed his original claim and never said that he didn't believe that it was the cause of the problem from a command position. Even though his testimony was 100% about how gay troops are dangerous to moral and mission he did not even mention them in his "apology".

    It drives me nuts when gay publications print "FEEL GOOD" misinformation that actually does more harm than good because it causes us to believe that things are better than they are and we can calm down and stop being outraged and stop fighting.

    Another example. Towleroad CONTINUALLY writes about MARRIAGES in England. Recently Andy reported on how an MP got married in Parliament. NOT TRUE. There is NO same-sex marriage in England. They have CIVIL PARTNERSHIPS that are specifically, clearly, intentionally and legally defined as NOT marriage. In fact, the MP that got civil partnered (legally joined as roommates) does NOT support marriage equality for gays.

    Does everyone see how these misinformation reports are dangerous and counterproductive. It makes people believe that we have rights that we don't have and therefor encourages us to relax with a false sense of where we actually stand.

    It's important that we report facts as they actually are and not as we would hope them to be.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Mar 30, 2010 12:45:40 PM

  12. This is the deceptively-worded explanation of a liar, and not an apology. Why is "Pink Army" satisfied with it?

    Posted by: Mark D. | Mar 30, 2010 1:06:23 PM

  13. That particular battle is an extremely sensitive issue among the Dutch, and Mr. Sheehan should probably avoid any excursions to the Netherlands for a good while. I heard something about it on Talk of the Nation one afternoon, and my God, the thing turned into a shouting match, I've never heard the Dutch get that riled up about anything before. I think the Dutch Monarchy even got involved in the situation (the battle and afterwards, not the interview!), if I'm not mistaken.

    Oh ya, and what a lying shithead.

    Posted by: clint | Mar 30, 2010 1:19:16 PM

  14. The lying sack of shit should be stripped of his rank, pension and everything else. Why doesn't he have to at least appear before Congress and publicly retract his statements? He LIED to Congress and that is a crime. He is attempting to deprive fellow citizens of their rights and that is immoral. God damn the man.

    Posted by: Abel | Mar 30, 2010 7:09:35 PM

  15. Too little, too late. Damage done, fuck you and your entire career (it's forever tarnished and meaningless). Douchebag!

    Posted by: TANK | Mar 30, 2010 7:51:15 PM

  16. Does that mean he lied under oath? When will Congress start enforcing rules and laws?? You can lie to their faces and they fall all over themselves to excuse it...the system is broken

    Posted by: Shawn | Mar 31, 2010 1:12:43 PM

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