Massacring History

In 1995, the Bosnian Serb Army, as part of an ethnic cleansing operation, marched into Srebenica, a section of Bosnia that the United Nations had declared a “safe area,” rounded up 8,000 Bosnian men and boys of Muslim faith, and massacred them. The Serb Army numbered more than 25,000 and was helped by tanks and other heavy artillery. A U.N. peacekeeping unit charged with defending the safe area numbered 450 Dutch Army regulars with light arms. But retired Marine General John Sheehan told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on March 18 that he believes the Dutch Army’s willingness to accept gays into the service was the reason the Serb Army was able to carry out its slaughter. Their failure, he said, was the “net effect” of an army that was more concerned with “social engineering” than with being able to engage in combat. Many observers probably find it hard to believe that 450 heterosexual soldiers with light weapons could have held off 25,000 heavily armored hostile troops, and the Dutch general whom Sheehan said told him this called Sheehan’s claims “absolute nonsense.”

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