Wow that title would make for an even more awfull acronym than...DADT
It makes for even more awfull testimony in a Senate hearing regarding "Don't Ask Don't Tell"...yet thats exactly what Retired General John Sheehan did during his turn to testify. For those who haven't heard what happened, retired General Sheehan testified at said Senate hearing that because the Dutch army allows gays to openly serve in their armed forces...they were unable to prevent the overruning of Srebrenica... and the following massacre of Muslims, during the Bosnian War....huh?.....Video coverage of the hearing is easily available..but not as much fun as Rachal Maddows coverage below the fold...
I don't know about any of you but the General seemed to be making up his story, litterally on the fly. You can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he gives his answer. He didn't seem very confident in his facts and had a hard time responding when questioned about the specific details of his assertion that it was all the gays fault. General Sheehans words (as transcribed by me):
"That led to a force that was ill equiped to go to war. The case in point that I'm refering to is when the Dutch to defend Srebrenica against the Serbs. The battalion was under strength, poorly led...and the Serbs came into town....handcuffed the soldiers to the telephone poles...marched the muslims off ..and executed them."
Ah, let me see if I get this straight....any military that contains gays will automatically lay down their arms when confronted with the prospect of battle. Did I get that right? Because thats the way he made that sound. Including gays weakens the resolve to fight. However, theres a couple of small problems with this argument.
First, I don't think you will find a military force in the world that doesn't already have actively serving gays soldiers...whether serving openly or on a closeted basis. How many of the Serb's that overran Srebrenica may have been closeted gays? Probably not many but I bet they were there. And what of our own military which contains hundreds of gay men and women already serving their country in duties that bring them under fire on a daily basis?...They are serving right now, with distinction. If the presence of gays is all it takes...we're already screwed.(pun intended)
Second, The General gives no other supporting background information regarding the overruning of Srebrenica. How long had they already been fighting? How many casualties had they taken by then? How long did they fight before they were "handcuffed to the telephone poles". There is a whole story here that General Sheehan disregards to try to make the flimsy assertion that it was because the Dutch military allows openly gay soldiers to serve.
Third, Did the general just slap the face of those that served and died in that conflict by reducing it to such a shallow cause? And doesn't this kind of betray a sense of "we are better than you" to our allies? Most countries already believe that is how the U.S. feels..this just confirms it for them. Next time we need them they may just pack up their soldiers...gay and straight...and go play with someone else.
Of special interest is when the General was asked why he thinks that allowing gays to be open about their sexual orientation in the military counts as a "special accomodation" while he doesn't feel that way in regard to heterosexuals soldiers. The General thought long and hard about that one, and end the end could not come up with a satisfactory answer...I give the point to Senator Levin on that one.....and for highlighting General Sheehans comments that allowing gay soldiers creates a dangerous "intimate situation" between gay and straight soldiers yet heterosexual male and female soldiers serving together does not....and that he believes that...somehow...that does not create a double standard...../facepalm.
And bringing up one sexual assault case from the Vietnam era?...seriously?...I bet Pam Spaulding of Pams House Blend will have something to say about this. She has brought to light the fact that the military already has an issue with sexual assualt between male and female soldiers that the military wishes it could sweep under the rug. So why do we cover up the rape of female soldiers by their male counterparts and then get in a tizzy over the unrealistic idea that gay soldiers are just waiting for the chance to assualt their fellows? Where is the sense in this?
Aye Carumba...the Dutch are all kinds of pissed at the Generals comments..which they have a right to be I'd say... and another Rachel Maddow episode covered that too.
Wow...so your saying perhaps these comments weren't thought out and may be...I don't know....wrong? Wow, who knew?..
And thank you so much Rachel Maddow...now I'm going to have nightmares about an angry torch and pitchfork wielding mob of Dutchmen....ah well, have a good weekend everyone.