The response of military leadership to the proposed repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been surprisingly positive. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen gave a heartfelt address calling for repeal, and top commander David Petraeus also said he was open to change.
Yet some in the military remain adamantly opposed to ending DADT. In a Senate hearing on the issue, retired Marine general John Sheehan gave perhaps the most bizarre argument against repeal, contending that Dutch soldiers failed to defend the city of Srebrenica during the Bosnian War because some of them were openly gay.
Sheehan, also a former NATO commander, was immediately criticized for his comments by Senator Carl Levin, who called the remarks "off target". Enraged bloggers had far stronger words for the former general (commentary after the clip).
- A Crazed Defense "The argument itself is hard to take seriously," writes the Washington Monthly's Steve Benen, who gets beyond his initial shock to debunk Sheehan's theory in one concise paragraph. "To argue, in public and with a straight face, that the Dutch couldn't defend Srebrenica because of the presence of openly gay soldiers is just breathtakingly foolish. Would Sheehan seriously argue that events would have unfolded differently if the Dutch military forced gay soldiers to stay in the closet?"
- Yea, It's All Gays' Fault At True/Slant, Laurie Essig is less reserved in her response. "I personally like to blame homos for everything," she snarls sarcastically. Looking more closely at Sheehan's comments, Essig concludes the blame for military mishaps should far on a more macho target.
The more I think about Sheehan’s logic, the more I see that the only conclusion we can draw is that masculine men, not gays, are the problem. Masculine men, regardless of desire, insist on “protecting” through “eliminating.” Masculine men insist on purging all that is unlike them from their midst: women, gays, racial/ethnic/religious others.
- Simply 'Unbelievable' DutchNews reports on the indignant response from the Dutch government.
The comments have been greated with disbelief by the Dutch defence ministry. 'It is complete nonsence and unbelievable that a man of his stature could say this,' a spokesman told Nos tv.
'No other military mission has been so widely analysed as the fall of Srebrenica and there has never been a link made with homosexuality.'
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.