Retired USMC General John Sheehan has attracted criticism and ridicule in the USA and Europe for his evidence to the Senate Armed Services Committee that allowing gay troops to serve openly in the Dutch military "led to a force that was ill-equipped to go to war. The case in point that I’m referring to is when the Dutch were required 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. That was the largest massacre in Europe since World War II." A video transcript of part of the General's evidence is shown below.
For the information of foreign guests visiting this site, the previous ban on gays serving in the UK military officially ended in January 2000 after successful challenges in the European Court of Human Rights. The change took place with very little fuss. Not everyone agrees with the change, and it remains a potential source of trouble like other aspects of sexuality. But it would be difficult for anyone to seriously argue as they did before that the change has really damaged the fighting qualities of the British armed forces over the past ten years. Participation by so-called LGBT personnel in activities such as "Pride Marches", in uniform and on paid duty, is probably far more controversial than the removal of the ban itself.
The General's other comments about the "socialisation" of European militaries were not well researched. For example, the Dutch military have had trade unions for more than a century, not just since the end of the Cold War. Most British readers will know, however, that BAFF does not advocate trade unions for the UK armed forces.
Welcome to British Armed Forces Federation - BAFF - independent all-ranks staff association for members of any branch of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army and Royal Air Force, including the reserves. All current UK service personnel of any rank are eligible to join and, as BAFF is not a political organisation, to take an active part in its activities if they wish. Former regular or reserve forces personnel are also very welcome.