Led by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, the Dutch government today blasted retired U.S. Gen. John Sheehan over his claim that gay Dutch soldiers caused the Bosnian genocide.
“The remarks were outrageous, wrong and beneath contempt,” Balkenende told a news conference. The Dutch Defense Ministry called Sheehan’s claims “absolute nonsense” and added that gay Dutch soldiers routinely cooperate with the U.S. military in the NATO mission in Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen called the claim “the bizarre private opinion of someone without an official function”. Renee Jones-Bos, the Dutch ambassador to the United States, said in a statement, “I couldn’t disagree more” with Sheehan, adding there was no evidence of his claims in the extensive record of research on Srebrenica. Military unions were equally angry. Dutch news agency ANP quoted the head of the military union AFMP as saying Sheehan’s comments were “out of the realm of fiction”, while the head of the gay soldiers’ group SHK called his comments “the ridiculous convulsion of a loner”.