Friday, March 19, 2010

Sheehan's Unsightly Smear ...

During his testimony at the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, former SACEUR SACLANT, (based in Norfolk, VA), General John Sheehan, USMC (Ret) has left me, in a word, gobsmacked.
A retired U.S. general says Dutch troops failed to defend against the 1995 genocide in the Bosnian war because the army was weakened, partly because it included openly gay soldiers.
Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and other nations believed there was no longer a need for an active combat capability in the militaries, he said. "They declared a peace dividend and made a conscious effort to socialize their military -- that includes the unionization of their militaries, it includes open homosexuality."
Dutch troops serving as U.N. peacekeepers and tasked with defending the town of Srebrenica in 1995 were an example of a force that became ill-equipped for war.

"The battalion was understrength, poorly led, and the Serbs came into town, handcuffed the soldiers to the telephone poles, marched the Muslims off, and executed them," Sheehan said.

"That was the largest massacre in Europe since World War II," he said of the killing of some 8,000 Bosnian Muslim boys and men after Serbian forces captured the town.
The last three paragraphs are exactly true .... but what does this have to do with the price of tea in China?
Levin, D-Mich., appeared incredulous. "Did the Dutch leaders tell you it (the fall of Srebrenica) was because there were gay soldiers there?" he asked.

"Yes," Sheehan said. "They included that as part of the problem." He said the former chief of staff of the Dutch army had told him.

Levin said it may be the case that some militaries have focused on peacekeeping to the detriment of their war-fighting skills.

"But I think that any effort to connect that failure on the part of the Dutch to the fact that they have homosexuals, or did allow homosexuals, I think is totally off-target," said Levin, a proponent of ending restrictions on gays serving in the U.S. armed forces.

"The Dutch military, as you point out, were peacekeepers and not peace-enforcers. I agree with that," said Levin. "But what the heck that has to do with the issue before us is what mystifies me."
I am in, gulp, full alignment with Sen. Levin (D-MI)? Pun intended, but DADT makes for strange bedfellows. It is one thing to have an opinion and a principled stand on an issue - good people can disagree on DADT. But there is no excuse to take the easy low road of smearing good friends.

Enough of the funny stuff - let's establish some ground truth. First of all - without showing too much leg - let me just say that I know a h3ll of a lot more about the Dutch military than either Gen. Sheehan or Sen. Levin on the personal level - the one where DADT really matters. Gen. Sheehan is on a different planet.

1. Homosexuality had about as much to do with the lack of proper ROE, Commander's Guidance, and Tactical presence of the Dutch in Bosnia as the lack of Stroopwafels, Oliebollen, Pannenkoeken, and Stampot.
2. Walk onboard and then operate with any Dutch warship. Then walk onboard and operate on any comprable US warship. Listen to them on the radio. Watch them do an English Channel transit. Watch them go through the STOG (monkey watch or no monkey watch).
3. Look at their
record in Uruzgan in Afghanistan. Outside of the British, and Canadians - we have no better warfighting ally. When it comes to Continental NATO, the Dutch were there early and almost caveat free. Except for the tiny Baltic Republics, no one on the Continent has a better record.
4. The Turks beat, jail, and Lord knows what else with homosexuals - and what use are they on the battlefield? What is their record? Who would you want providing close-air-support, a Dutch or Turkish Air Force aircraft? Hey - how about a Greek, they don't like queers either?

Talk to
Gen Peter van Uhm and Captain Marco Kroon of the Royal Netherlands Army what you think of the Dutch military record. A little warning though, you may see a rare departure from Dutch manners and tolerance - and you will deserve it.

Shame on Gen. Sheehan.

Enough of me - let the Dutch take care of this mess.
Dutch defense ministry spokesman Roger Van de Wetering said in a telephone interview that he finds it "unbelievable that a man of this rank is stating this nonsense."

"The whole operation in Srebrenica and the drama that took place over there was thoroughly investigated by Dutch and international authorities and none of these investigations has ever concluded or suggested a link between homosexual military personnel and the things that happened over there. I do not know on what facts this is based, but for us it is total nonsense," Van de Wetering said.

On the Dutch attitude to gays in the military, he said: "For us it is very simple. Every man or woman that meets the criteria physically and mentally is welcome to serve in our armed forces regardless of (religious) belief, sexual preference or whatever."

UPDATE: Friends, commenters, countrymen. Remember, "Creative Friction Without Conflict?" Well, let's work through this ... and yes, I went to 11 with my Turkish and Greek friends by dragg'n them in to this that way ... but we need to go back to the substance of the argument. As per some of the push-back in comments - here is an update. Listen and read - let's not emote, and "let's" includes me.
Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende called Sheehan's comments irresponsible and said at his weekly news conference that "these remarks should never have been made."

"Toward Dutch troops - homosexual or heterosexual - it is way off the mark to talk like that about people and the work they do under very difficult circumstances," he said.
Defense Minister Eimert van Middelkoop called Sheehan's claim "damaging" and not worthy of a soldier. "I don't want to waste any more words on it," he said.

Gen. Henk van den Breemen, Dutch chief of staff at the time of the Srebrenica genocide, called Sheehan's comments "total nonsense" and denied ever having suggested gays in the army might have played a role in the Srebrenica massacre.

The Netherlands has a long history of accepting homosexuality, and gays have long been welcome in the country's armed forces - which also allow labor unions.

The leader of one such union, Jan Kleian, was incensed by Sheehan's comments.

"The man is crazy," he told Dutch radio. "It sounds hard, but I can't put it any other way."

UPDATE II - Electric Boogaloo: Two more reports, here and here.

Here is the sad part about this. The comments Gen. Sheehan makes about the condition and mindset of the post-Cold War European military are correct, and are 95% in alignment with what you have read here over the last few years. That is why his old Command in Norfolk, VA (Bosnia was not in his AOR BTW), Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT) became Allied Command Transformation (ACT).

It was acknowledged that the garrison armies of Continental Europe designed to stay put and maybe do soft power and peace keeping in a permissive environment were not what was needed. But, that is not what this hearing was about.

For some reason - Sheehan tries to bring in a non-factor, homosexuality. That is like blaming liberty incidents with male American forces personnel on the fact that there is a
high rate of STDs among female soldiers. It is simply madness. As for the 4-star he-said-he-said, I'll let them deal with it, re-read the above if you need a review.

Let us deal with the facts. In AFG the USA has lost as of
last count 1,024 soldiers. No one that knows what they are talking about in AFG will have anything to say about the quality and combat abilities of our allies GBR, CAN, and NLD. All allow homosexuals to serve. Population adjusted numbers are followed by actual.
- Great Britain: 1,384 (275)
- Canada: 1,302 (140)
- The Netherlands 388 (21)

All are fighting in the South with caveats not a significant factor. Oh, while I was there the only incident involving homosexuality involved 3 Italians and a Greek in a bunker. All were sent home on the next C-160. Not for manlove - but for bump'n uglies in a public space. Enough of that though.

See the testimony yourself.

General Sheehan has such a great record of service. Whoever dragged him into this owes him an apology. He deserves better.


Frank Ch. Eigler said...

Now wait, Sheehan said he was quoting:

"Yes," Sheehan said. "They included that as part of the problem." He said the former chief of staff of the Dutch army had told him.

Anonymous said...

So you are mad at Gen Sheehan for repeating what the Dutch COS told him?  Should he deny he heard it in order to conform to the (admitedly) emerging conventional wisdom?

Tom Mowry said...

Completely agree CDR, it's not who you do it's what you do that counts, sexual orientation has nothing to do with a)morailty or b) an army's ability to fight. As for the General passing along hearsay as fact is not nice.

Outlaw Mike said...

And something else. Our media made it look like Gen. Sheehan took place on top of a pedestal with a bullhorn and shouted out loud: 'GAYS UNDERMINE THE DUTCH ARMY'.

What did Sheehan say? Let's investigate. He said: '<span>"They declared a peace dividend and made a conscious effort to socialize their military -- that includes the unionization of their militaries, it includes open homosexuality."</span>
<span>He's actually SPOT ON with regards to euro armies trading in combat capability for peace dividend bullshit. And then he sums up a few issues - I'm sure he had more on his mind - and one of those two is gays serving openly in the US military. It seems to me that in the whole bruhaha the point gets lots that Sheehan first and foremost blames unionization. And he's DAMN RIGHT 'bout that.</span>
<span>Sure, the Dutch Army, which has openly gays serving, performed well in AF. But you wanna hear MY theory about that CDR? Among the top brass in the Dutch Army and, yes, politics too, the Srebrenica thing has left an awful smear on the army's reputation and by extension, Holland's. That had to be righted. </span><span>I seriously doubt that if Srebrenica had not happened, the Dutch would have been so gung ho in AF.</span>

Sheehan bears a grudge against gays and what happened is a Freudian slip. He could have mentioned shoestring budgets for no.2 - but the gay remark came out first. Am I gonna blame him for that? NO. Do I think it's over the top? YES. But crucify Sheehan? Again NO.

There are many more who ought to be crucified before you come to Sheehan.

Also, I'd like to hear the arguments of the former Dutch Chief of Staff who allegedly tipped Sheehan on the gay issue. Let us just hope that man wasn't Van Uhm back in the day.

Outlaw Mike said...

And then all that bullshit regarding the Israeli army allowing gays. That's only since 93. I'd first have to see whether the IDF is still able to pull off things like in 48, 56, 67 or 73.

Yes it's true, a DADT policy is not nice towards gay people. I realize that. But for God's sake, whoever said an Army is an institution you go in for being nice to people? An army is meant to break things.

I have seen in my own country how the loosening of regulations has led to the pussification of the Belgian military. The no. 1 reason is of course that we have to make do with crumbs. No2 is army unions. But one of the things that happened in the process was the ability to openly serve as gay. But there are many more things. Adopting civic society parlance eg. The BE army website is blathering about green days and diversity and the whole f*cking nonsense too. Honestly, I'm SICK of it all.

So there you have a fella like Sheehan who has in all likelihood watched euro armies DETERIORATE. He sees the same mechanisms at work in the US of A. He's lamenting about it.

And now he's almost facing a firing squad for it. Sad.

chet said...

I'm still waiting for someone to tell me how homosexuality helps any military achieve victory.

Why expend effort on agendas that don't promote victory? Why change policy if current policy cannot be proven to be more or less detrimental to victory that the proposed change?

Is a straight military somehow disadvantaged?

Answers: It doesn't. We shouldn't. It isn't.

There, now. We didn't need to expend as much effort on that sideshow circus as we thought, did we? Go take nebulous moral virtue ball and play somewhere else. We kill people over on this end of the field.

Myopic? You're frikkin right......we used to call it "focusing" on victory. Nothing else.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Very disappointed in this post, Phib.

Was General Sheehan supposed to say something in testimony that was something other than he believed to be true? Though the Dutch, I am certain, will deny ever having anyone say such a thing to General Sheehan, I am also certain that the Dutch CSTAFF did indeed tell the General exactly what he testified to Congress.

The deliberately misleading nature of the coverage of this issue by the MSM is another example of how any possible countervaling viewpoint will be ridiculed, and anyone expressing it, demonized. Not much by way of discussion can be gleaned from that approach. Which is likely the precise intention.

The Dutch abdicated every bit of honor with the cowardice of their soldiers. Though they state that their investigation never concluded what General Sheehan attributed, I would like to know what their investigation of the massacre DID turn up. General Sheehan knew a combat unit when he saw it and when he didn't. And good leadership and bad.

"Every man or woman that meets the criteria physically and mentally is welcome to serve in our armed forces regardless of (religious) belief, sexual preference or whatever" Really? Felons? Drug users? And at what price of espirit and military discipline was that statement bought?

Byron said...

The ONLY downside to gays serving openly will be the Diversity Dictators, eh, Directorates that will surely follow. Since we haven't been able to hold female soldiers and sailors to the same standards and expectations (sorry, DB, some women are outstanding...many are useless and more trouble than they're worth), then why should we expect to see openly gay men and women not eventually start working the diversity system to their benefit and the services's detriment?

Work with a gay guy? No problem. Live next door to them? Done it. Eat dinner and party with them? Hell yes, party like a mofo. Dog.Hunt. Don't have one.

Kristen said...

I think it's unfortunate that because you disagree with General Sheehan, you are assuming bad faith on his part.

ewok40k said...

Peterk said...

got a question, need a solid answer. It is my understanding that in those countries where homosexuals are allowed to serve openly in the military that they are not allowed to serve in combat units. I have seen this information posted on a variety of websites. Is that correct?

thanks in advance

Saturn5 said...

<span><span>I disapprove Gen Sheen’s </span></span><span><span><span>prejudice</span></span></span><span><span> </span><span><span>against gays as much as I disapprove your </span></span></span><span><span><span>prejudice</span></span></span><span><span> </span><span><span>against </span></span></span><span><span>Turkey</span></span><span><span>. </span></span>
<span><span> </span></span>
<span><span>I admit that </span></span><span><span>Turkey</span></span><span><span> is not the best country on earth on human right issues, but </span></span><span><span>Turkey</span></span><span><span> bashing will not prove that your idea is just or right. </span></span>

MR T's Haircut said...


Like I told you Phib,

Not so much because they boink each other rather because the policies of pacification that allow social engineering lead to a reduction in capabality. It is no secret the Army had Brigades inside Divisional org charts that are long on tail (pun intended) and short on teeth..

Social engineering of our armed forces is leading us down the same path...

I agree with the Gen Sheehan's premise.  The dead of <span>Srebrenica are proof.</span>

GBS said...

<span><span>According to his bio at:</span></span>
<span><span>General Sheehan was Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic and Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command (SACLANT), not SACEUR.  He retired from that position in 1997.  General George Joulwan was SACEUR during that timeframe</span></span>
<span><span>Regardless, s</span>ince you<span>'re</span> <span>doing your own smear</span>ing while proclaiming that you "know a h3ll of a lot more about the Dutch military than...Gen. Sheehan", perhaps you could pull up your skirt a bit more and explain how you have <span>better</span> insight than <span>a</span> guy who was <span>in a pretty good position to know what happened at</span> Srebrenica<span>?</span><span>  </span></span>
<span><span>Do you believe the General was lying to the Senate panel?</span></span>

cdrsalamander said...

Steve, you really should get out more. 

BTW, as for Social Mores - compare teenage pregnancy, STD and standardized testing scores between the average Dutch public school and the average American one.

I have.

Walk through downtown Amsterdam and The Hague at 2am - then walk through downtown Chicago and Detroit at 2am.

I don't think you have quite thought this through - which is why you are attacking a people you don't know - just like Sheehan.

cdrsalamander said...

Take a deep breath and re-read my post.  I'll help and quote myself; "<span>The last three paragraphs are exactly true .... but what does this have to do with the price of tea in China?<span>"</span></span>

I agreed with him on Srebrenica.  Go back and read the post.  

Oh, and for the record, it isn't a skirt, it's a kilt.

SACEUR's HQ and home is in Belgium.  He does not interact with the Dutch people or the Dutch military on a day to day business besides the few that may or may not be in SACEUR's Command Group.

Yes, I know a lot more about the Dutch and the Dutch military than he does, like I said, at the personal level - where it counts.

GBS said...

<span>So you are in a agreement with the para that states...</span>
<span>"A retired U.S. general says Dutch troops failed to defend against the 1995 genocide in the Bosnian war because the army was weakened, partly because it included openly gay soldiers."</span>
<span>Then how can you be in "alignment" with Senator Levin?</span>
<span>Once again, he wasn't SACEUR.  You asserting that you know more about the Dutch military, circa 1995, than General Sheehan, and it actually being so, are two different things. </span>

cdrsalamander said...

I am sorry if I insulted you are Turkey - as I know you are a regular here and over at Midrats.

This is strictly WRT DADT, and I have head in detail from the Turkish officers I have served with what they do with homosexuals they find in their ranks.  It is there.  That is just the way Turkey deals with it.

It is also clear that in AFG and elsewhere, the Turks contribute in a very limited manner per individual do to caveats and national ROE compared to the Dutch.  

In my zeal to respond to Sheehan's attack on the Dutch - I did perhaps go to far bringing the Turks in to this.  For that, I apologize.  I could have made my point without doing that.  Your comments are exactly correct.

As for the Greeks - I'll let you defend them.   ;)

cdrsalamander said...

Bad faith?  How about bad information.

cdrsalamander said...

Am I to ignore the dozen + company, field grade, and senior enlisted Dutch that I have talked with about this subject?  Not a single one - zip, zero, nada - ever mentioned homosexuality as an issue with this incident or in general.

DADT can be argued from both sides by good people - but this is something that I could not let stand.  It simply is not grounded in fact.

There is plenty of blame to go around and substandard performance with this incident - and no one has done this more than the Dutch - but it has nothing to do with DADT.  Nothing.

cdrsalamander said...

I would like to hear it as well.  I would also like to see somewhere - anywhere in English or Dutch where homosexuality has been seen as a problem WRT their warfighting abilities.

When the the senior NCOs, company and field grade officers say no, and I don't read it anywhere - as I supposed to accept hearsay just because it comes from Sheehan?  

If he tells me that witches float on water because they are made of wood - does that make it so when all the evidence I have in front of me says it isn't true?

There are plenty of reasons to keep DADT - some mentioned in comments - that is what you talk about at SASC hearings .... not this.

Anonymous said...

They seem to be doing pretty well in AFG, and I do not think the make-up of their military personnel has changed much since Bosnia.

T-1 said...

Sorry, that was me.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Well Phib, whether I believe the USMC General who had a front row seat to the incident, or those Dutch officers who may have a stake in putting the best face on a tragic and cowardly set of acts leading to a massacre, I will take the former. 

As for General van den Breemen's remarks or that of Kleian, General Sheehan is neither "crazy" nor suddenly "way off the mark".  He is a highly-respected leader of Marines who would never have had one of his battalions be so cowardly as to submit to de facto capture without a fight, leading to the massacre of 8,000 innocents. 

For all of their bluster post-event, they ought to understand the dishonor and shame that the incident casts upon all Dutch arms for generations.  If General Sheehan tells me that such remarks were made by the Dutch CSTAFF at the time, I believe it.  Well before I would believe the Officers and Staff of an armed force that would be so cowardly as to have such a thing happen.  It goes well beyond "blame and substandard performance".  It is cowardice, brought about by lack of leadership, and lack of character. 

And now those same leaders choose to question the character of General Sheehan?  You used the term shame.  The Dutch ought to know what that means.  But don't apply it to General Sheehan.

AW1 Tim said...


   I have had no direct contact with anyone in the Dutch Navy during my time in service, or even afterward. However, I did have interactions for about a week or so, each time, back in '79. I have heard very good things about the Dutch in Afghanistan, but back in the day, my impressions of their soldiers were nowhere near as complimentary. Now, we were also in the "fuzzy US Navy" but these guys were something else. Here's my comments from another blog on this same subject:

On two occasions, both in 1979, I had contacts with Dutch troops, as part of a Nato exercise. I’m trying to remember the name of it, If I can find my old cruise books, it’s probably in there.
Anyway, my impressions of them were not good. They didn’t wear their uniforms well, their hair was long, and there was always a hint of marijuana about them. It might have been some weird cigarettes, because they also were fond of clove ones.
These Dutch troops were part of the base security detail, and we knew that if anyone attacked, they’d likely bail on us right promptly.
Now, I have heard much better reports of the current Dutch troops, but my initial observations, back in the gay, were not good.

cdrsalamander said...

You are making this too hard.  Let be make this simple.  Those three paragraphs that I say he is correct about are, 
"<span>Dutch troops serving as U.N. peacekeepers and tasked with defending the town of Srebrenica in 1995 were an example of a force that became ill-equipped for war.</span>
"The battalion was understrength, poorly led, and the Serbs came into town, handcuffed the soldiers to the telephone poles, marched the Muslims off, and executed them," Sheehan said.

<span>"That was the largest massacre in Europe since World War II," he said of the killing of some 8,000 Bosnian Muslim boys and men after Serbian forces captured the town.</span>"

Oh, and my bust - Sheehan was SACLANT (based in Norfolk) not SACEUR.  Sheehan is even further removed from the Dutch and wasn't even responsible for the Bosnian AOR.

cdrsalamander said...

We do not disagree on the tactical issue in Bosnia.  I pinged hard on the Dutch on this a few years ago - that isn't the issue here.

General Sheehan was out of order - and seems to have misremembered things.  Now that the other parties have come out to say that what General Sheehan attributed to them is not accurate - General Sheehan needs to come out and make a statement one way or another.

He wouldn't be the first person to misremember something over a decade old.  Time is like that.

If you once posted that I said, "LCS is the best ship ever designed by modern man." ... and I came back and stated, "I never said anything like that - that would be insane."

I would expect you either to say, "I thought that was someone else, my bust." or "That Salamander is a lying SOB."

The Dutch military, BTW, has no dog in our DADT fight.  A retired Dutch General Officer has no reason to get in our fight. 

If General Sheehan does not make this right - then shame on him.   General van den Breeman cannot prove a negative.  He says he never said such a thing - a thing that in any even is totally out of character for him anyway.  So, yes.  In this case, knowing the facts at hand; yes, I believe the Dutch General.  I believe General Sheehan has made a mistake.  He is human.

I make them all the time.  I have on this blog.  When I have, I have apologized and made amends.  No shame in that.  Not correcting your errors?  That is shameful.  Blaming a massacre on something that had nothing to do with it - that is as well.

We will have to agree to disagree.

Old NFO said...

The general's problem is that he offended politically correct standards.  He would have faced the same PC outrage if he had said something similar about women in combat units or Moslems in the Army Medical Corps.

Our military's most important mission, is to promote diversity, end sexism, and soon, to advocate and promote homosexuality.  If people have to die and combat effectiveness has to suffer to promote our new more inclusive force, well that's just the price we have to pay to placate people who hate the military anyway.  Good luck recruiting.

UltimaRatioRegis said...


"back in the gay"?  Freudian slip! ;)

UltimaRatioRegis said...

We WILL have to agree to disagree.  I trust General Sheehan's recollections over those of the Dutch officers.  He was a Marine's Marine, and a combat leader.  I think he is remembering accurately.

Not only do I trust what he says against what any Dutch officer or MOD playing CYA says, but I trust his judgment on the matter for which he was testifying over that of any of the reporters who deliberately skewed his words.  I trust his judgment over that of Carl Levin, Admiral Mullen, and Secretary Gates. 

And I trust his judgment and integrity, and his recollection over that of the humble host of this-here blog.  He has nothing to "make right" or clarify. 

The shame is all on the Dutch.  The blood of the massacre is on their hands.  They might do well to remember that.

AW1 Tim said...

  German Petticoat...  ;)

  I write well enough. It's the spelling that trips me up. Sigh.

Malachy Marine said...

In case you missed it... We have a partially gay military. There are currently soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coastguardsmen who are in fact homosexual. It currently does not affect operational readiness. The question is not/should not be what advantage allowing service members to work openly brings to warfighting capabilities. Rather, what harm does it bring to achieving that warfighting mentality and capability? IMHO there is advantage to allow open service and only with minimal detrimental effects to warfighting.

Allowing open service increases the qualified recruiting pool (which has been tough to achieve for some services the past few years) meaning we don't have to scrape the bottom of the barrel for "moral waivers" for past transgressions of federal and state law.

Additionally, the arguments that it would degrade the good order and discipline of any unit in the military is appalling. Essentially, this suggests that our servicemembers are NOT professional enough to work with someone, whom has a different outlook on life. This is ridiculous. Certainly, there will be some units/commands that will have more difficulty than others. However, the excuse that its "too hard" or "makes certain people uncomfortable" is not a tangible or credible response. 

Bottomline: Our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coastguardsmen perform tasks daily (in theater) that are more difficult and challenging than permitting open service. Telling them that they are not professional or adult enough IOT handle it is counter to the countless man-hours of training and instruction they receive throughout their careers.

N.B. If you bring up the whole "flamboyant" homosexuality issue. I personally do not think such personalities and attitudes work within a military context. Great. We currently have a system to deal with such people. Its called Admin Sep processing for "incompatible with military service." Done deal.


MR T's Haircut said...

Me thinks because the balance of non gay vs gay is allowing the status quo to continue.. but make no mistake.. the army is cherry picking by demographics which units are fielded in combat.. how else can you explain the out of balance rotation of Airborne divisions vs infantry?

MR T's Haircut said...

I got other things to insult the Turks over besides Homosexual treatment...

MR T's Haircut said...

I am drawn to one undeniable observation in all of these posts... UN = GAY...

Malachy Marine said...

Me thinks this has more to do with a drop in warfighting capability and mentality within the Army as a whole rather than a specific issue with demographics (though it certainly plays a part). Look to COP Keating near Kamdesh, as well as the COP near Wanat. Both were overrun by insurgents within the last year. The reasons behind this were many, to include a lack of forethought by field-grade officers to emplace a COP (a deliberate defensive postion or BP for those of you that know what I'm talking about) in such obviously ill-suited and untenable locations.

However, IMHO BOTH COPs suffered from a lack of tactical aggressiveness at the company grade level. Essentially, they did not apply the one rule of the defense: maintain and aggressive and offensive mindset. Had each COP employed a well-thought out and CONSTANTLY UPDATED/IMPROVED obstacle plan, pre-planned targets, and security patrolling schedule, to name but a few things, both COPs would be actively operating today and we would have not lost so many soldiers unnecessarily. 

These failures are of a tactical and operational nature and a general lack for the appropriate mindset. Demographics take no part in such folly.

GBS said...

Sorry I'm making this hard.  Your writing is typically much more logical and clear-headed.  What I see is that you disagree with the General, so you post a bunch of MSM (crap) quotes blasting him while proclaiming your superior first-hand knowledge over a senior NATO commander who, by the way, was in a position to know better than any of US about what happened.  It's one thing to disagree with the basic premise, and promote your point of view<span>.</span>  It is another thing to join what you seem on most days to (rightly) despise.

Malachy Marine said...

I realized I just contradicted myself... CORRECTION: Demographics play but a VERY small, marginally significant part in such folly.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

You did it again, by the way, Phib.  Check the google ads on the starboard side.

cdrsalamander said...


cdrsalamander said...

Once again - read the post.  In total.  What Shedhan said simply does not match with the facts - either first hand or second.  Review the facts at hand.

General Sheehan does not know better than anyone else the impact of homosexuality on the Dutch armed forces.  I think the Dutch Chief of Staff - which denies ever having said anything like what is claimed - does know the Dutch military and the impact.

So do those who serve in the Dutch military.  So do those who have served WITH the Dutch military.

Don't get caught up in personalities.

mark said...

Pardon the interuption, but the issue to me is an unwillingness to take the point and interpose the serving soliers between the warring parties.  That is not a failure of will by gay soldiers, but a a failure by their political command.  No shame on the soldiers, but I value EUFOr not at all.  General Sheehan was either in his cups, senile, or mis-quoted.

mark said...

I'm thinking he is fighting against a lack of will which has spread from the political to the military.  Allowing gays to serve is certainly a part, but only a portion  of a general lack of will to fix bayonets.

Malachy Marine said...

Try to tell Marines they lack the will to fix bayonets. You might get an unwelcome response, followed by a shift kick to the head (Thank you SemperFu).

mark said...

There are Dutch marines, then.  Glad to hear it.

mark said...

I'm to entirely sure what the General meant to say, but given the location of his speach and his status, he was speaking personally.  I really can't see gay soldiers causing the massacre, but I can definetely see a lack of will.

Malachy Marine said...

Sorry, I misunderstood and thought you were referencing the US military... And yes, there are Dutch Marines.

mark said...

Well said, at least the witches float on water bit.  Can we deal wth yet another minority?  Sexual  preferences should stay in the foxhole or the bunk, but is the gay soldier or sailor less of a competent fighter in these times, than a hetro sexual?  Beats me.  Examples from abroad seem to prove they are, but can the voluteer military put up with it?  Time to ask the serving military and to hell with the political generals and admirals and double hell to the DOD political types.

mark said...

I should never had assumed there wouldn't be dutch marines.  I'm just upset the army gave up the value of close combat with a useful tool once the bullets ran out.  I'm looking around for an improvised combat tool (rock) now that I'm out of mags.

andrewdb said...

Intersting day on Capital Hill as part of the national lobby day on the repeal of DADT.  Having spent a number of years working this subject, incuding a number of previous lobby days, this is the first time I have been stopped in the halls (about a half dozen times today) by people wanting to thank me for lobbying on this, and to encourage us to continue to seek repeal.  This has never happened to me before.

The most interesting part of the General's remarks at the hearing Thursday was when he said he had NEVER commanded openly gay troops.  This is odd, since he was a senior NATO commander, overseeing Dutch and other allied troops at a time when they had openly serving gays.  I am sorry URR, I don't think his testimony as reliable, certainly not compared to the Chief of Staff of the Dutch Army, the Dutch Defense Minister, or their Prime Minister, all of whom have made public statements on the subject in the last 24 hours.  A freind tonight at the reception said he had spoken with the Defense Attache at the Dutch Embassy this afternoon, and the Dutch govenment's position is that they have accepted the apologies of Sen. Levin and the US Ambassador in The Hague, and the matter is now closed.

I feel left out, my sidbar ads are for Amazon and a wine club.

andrewdb said...

I know you pointed this out but 1979 is almost 30 years ago.

Remember, the current naval strategy of the United States says we will get that 1000 ship navy in part by relying on our allies, such as the Netherlands.

AW1 Tim said...

 Yeah... I know.... Sigh...

Malachy Marine said...

What's your evidence that openly gay servicemembers are less competent warfighters? Not sure I understand the logic behind that one... Last I checked the Dutch are doing a bang up job in Afg (as much as their political establishment allows), the Brits don't fair too poorly either (last bayonet charge in history was courtesy of a Brit unit in Iraq, I think near Basra, circa 2004-2005). Fairly certain that sexual preference has no bearing on tactical or technical proficiency, leadership ability, warrior spirit, or understanding how to kill the enemy before he kills you. Just a thought from a lowly, knuckle dragging grunt.

mark said...

Dude URB, you are pretty full of it when it comes to a real appraisal of European arms and real politik during those days.  Your comments on current events seem to be spot on, but not back on the high school days.  stick to what you know or go back to school, although I would not reccomend '90's events, too fleeting and without much value. 

sobersubmrnr said...

Sorry, CDR. I've been around the RNN too and I'm not impressed. They may be good ship handlers, but their ideas about good order and discipline are rather lacking. I also have a good buddy who is a Guard EOD 1SG who has worked with the Dutch Army. He's not impressed after what he saw of them in the Balkans. Something about a sit-down strike that blocked a gate.

mark said...

I'm not much of a European and I'm not much on integration.  I'll allow that the European warriors fight well, but I'm not so sure that we want follow their example at higher level politics.  In short, if I was a warrior under Europen comand, I would glsdly fight with a gay competant sargeant in command of my section, but a bit less happy if I was under the command of a  government given over to some farrcical    ideal of a new world order, which  ignored reality.

sobersubmrnr said...

Spot on, URR. Well said.

mark said...

I'll bite.  The airborne arrives with a signifcantly smaller loadout   than an infantry division.  Footprint is the current term, I think.  Cherry Picking,, yes, but there is  goal in mind.

Malachy Marine said...

Under my understanding the Army has stolen a page from the Marine Corps' handbook in the past several years. It's called task organization. For the Green-side, it means the MAGTF. You can also look to RCT-7 in the push through Baghdad. Or even RCT-5 from the Inchon Amphibious landing. Seems to me like this supposedly "new" concept from the Army, Brigade Combat Teams, really came from the Marines. The Army is even saying its attempting to become more expeditionary!!! Thats the Marines job! 

All ranting aside, the Army no longer actually maintains divisions how she used to. While the classifications of Airborne and Air Assault may still exist, they are not applied in reality. Each BCT has a few infantry battalions, an arty battalion, and a few other things... in the end, their whole "light infantry" thing has gone out the window.

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

A thousand ship Navy that isn't 1000 USN ships, is not a 1000 ship Navy.

MR T's Haircut said...

Mark, Airborne have higher standards and based on these uncompomised standards the wheat gets seperated from the chaff.. quality of service.  The infantry divisions are often orders of convenience and the dirty secret is the combat readiness of airborne over infantry IS due in part to the social engineering we have spooned into the shoe...

Isnt this what we rail about on Diversity Thursday?  Shouldnt we be more concerned about fielding the best trained and equipped fighting force?  We cannot do it when we do not have good seed corn..

UltimaRatioRegis said...


We will differ on whose word to respect.  I have served under General Sheehan and men like him.  I trust him, with my life and the life of my Marines.  The way I would and did Generals Conway and Mattis.  I do not trust the Dutch.  Not the Chief of Staff, nor the MOD.  Nor those commenting or involved with the massacre of 8,000 civilians due to cowardice. They have abdicated that trust since those two days in 1995.

You can disagree till the cows come home with the General's opinions.  However, when you (and Phib) say General Sheehan "smeared" the Dutch and should feel "shame" for it.  That I find very objectionable.  The connotation with those words is that General Sheehan said something he knew not to be true in his testimony, with the deliberate end of bringing discredit and dishonor upon the Dutch because of it. 

I would take General Sheehan's word to the bank.  Can't really say that about those people he was testifying TO, who roam those halls of Congress, now can I?  He has served his country in places almost none of those people could conceive even in their worst nightmares.  That earns him far better than the shabby and underhanded treatment he is receiving with this post and your opinion. 

I AM glad to see that the Dutch have accepted our apologies and consider the matter closed.  That is might nice of them.  I am sure the 8,000 cadavers of the innocents killed in cold blood due to their cowardice consider the matter closed, too.

We see again that anyone with a dissenting opinion is demonized as hateful and discriminatory.  Why don't we just outlaw dissenting opinion and stop making a sham display of debate and exchange?  That way we get to hold the government-mandated opinions and we can move on with the strong leadership of heroes like Carl Levin.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Mark, dude.  I had been in the service many years before the massacre in Bosnia, going back to the Cold War days of the early and mid-80s.  Dude, I also worked in the Partnership for Peace Program in 1998, and got to see first hand many of Europe's military forces and their leadership.  Also, dude, I participated in a number of NATO exercises that involved almost every military of Western Europe. 

So save the lecture on all the things I don't know and was in high school for.  Dude.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Sure it is, Scott!  Why, we can partner with the Brits, the French, the Dutch, the Chinese, to help us go and fight the, umm, Chinese.......

Never mind.

ewok40k said...

If the Dutch forces resisted we would have 300 or so more corpses, only in blue helmets. Maybe they should have done that to awaken "peacemongers" back home that there is a war going on in Europe, but this is another matter. They had been sent in without clear ROE, with inadequate forces and with clusterfucked command structure. US forces if deployed in such manner I am afraid wouldnt go any better - gays in the open or not.

And regarding gays themselves,

I would entertain seeing general Sheehan leading equally-armed battalion of Marines  against those :P

UltimaRatioRegis said...


Your assertions are wrong.  The Marines would fight with whatever they have.  See: Wake Island. General Sheehan out front.

You have hit on the quintessence of military honor however.  300 corpses in blue helmets with honor intact is far preferable to 8,000 corpses and 300 cowards handcuffed to light poles. 

That young Canadian company commander in a similar incident nearby did not flinch from taking the defensive with weapons loaded and ready.

Byron said...

Had they resisted, they would have at least died with their honor intact. Instead they live today with the shame they richly deserve. They were there with the mission to protect the innocent, not allow themselves to be handcuffed while those same innocents were slaughtered like cattle. Sorry, I can't defend them in the least.

Ask yourself, if URR had been in command of Marines at that spot, would this massacre have happened uncontested? True, he might not be here today stirring the pot, but he would surely stand at guard at Heaven's Gate in honor for all time.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Thanks for the kind words, Byron.  I will add that, should yours truly have been a casualty early, then the same would have been true of every Marine Officer, SNCO, and NCO in the unit.  Warrior culture and ethos, and an ingrained sense of honor ensures that. 

Which is precisely what General Sheehan remarked on, the dilution of that warrior culture and ethos, AS CHARACTERIZED by accomodations made in the politically correct inclusiveness of the Dutch Army.  THAT was the cause of the despicable conduct of their soldiers that day.  Was that not something that Dutch senior officers and SNOCs lamented as they watched it?  Undoubtedly.  Did they comment so to General Sheehan, despite their recent denials of doing so?  I believe that they did.

andrewdb said...

You may want to consider not "demonizing" those you disagree with URR - like accusing the Dutch of cowerdice when they were following the peacekeepin ROE (as opposed to peace-enforcement ROEs).

Now why anyone would think they could rely on peacekeeping forces is beyond me, but that has nothing to do with gays serving openly.  Other countries serving at the same time and place didn't have this problem, and they also had gays serving openly.

You might want to review the Constitution on civilian conrol of our military. It may be fashionable to denigrate Hill staffers and attack them for not having served (some have more haven't) but my previous suggestions that military service is a responsibility rather than a privelidge have not been well received here.  This "republic" - I do not think it means what you think it means.

Finally, I might clarify that the people stopping me in the halls were not Congresional staffers that I could tell, but other Americans exercising their First Amendment rights to petition their government (likly to nationalize 18% of our economy, but we don't discriminate on what a citizen's message is, even if I disagree with it).

UltimaRatioRegis said...


Please save the lecture on Constitution and civilian control of the military. I am more than familiar with it and would be happy to discuss Constitutional Law with you any time and place.  

Spare also the lecture on why the Dutch allowed what they knew was to be a massacre and then hid behind ROE as a cover for their cowardice. 

You have a more honest and knowledgeable perspective on the situation in Europe's military forces and the Balkans in 1995 than General Sheehan?  I don't think so.  His remarks are well-considered, truthful, and spot on. 

I never denigrated you for not serving.  However, I cannot give you a pass (or the Dutch either) for trying to denigrate General Sheehan, question his honesty, his competence, and even his sanity, regarding the questions which he answered before Congress. In THAT, you have no say. 

That his views and opinions are counter to the same socialization of America's military here, and the political sacred cow that has become, is YOUR issue, not his.

jscam87 said...

Worked with Dutch ships several times out of Roosy Rds.  They, on average, were consistantly above average.  Plus they had great beer on tap in the wardroom!  My experiences match the CDR's...

Therapist1 said...

I am not sure how gay has anything to do with it.  It appears to me that any time the ROE are written by the U.N, innocent people die [See Rwanda].

Combat NFO said...

I guess reality doesn't matter to people when the topic is homosexuality.  I'm surprised he showed restraint and didn't say our difficulties in Iraq and Afghanistan are due to the service of women in combat.  Correlation does not imply causation.  Show cause, or just be ignored.

Quartermaster said...

Phib, those of us who have thought this through for some funny reason still see things the way Steve does. Moral courage lends itself to valor and has been the basis of the greatness of the british and US militaries. Allowing moral deviance gets you what the Dutch had in the Balkans. ALL PC trash has the same effect.

Really, the one that has failed to compleletly think this through is you. Women and other PC trash degrades a military force. My observation of the Dutch military is exactly as others have observed above, the Officer Corps (some of which, a very small number, are queer) are professional, with the enlisted ranks not worth the air they breathe. The overall atmosphere that allows such indiscipline also allows women in combat units and Homosexuals right beside them. It's the attitude 'Phib, it's the attitude.

This issue is one of two glaring inconsistencies with you. Something to which you need to give some very serious thought. You are rightly quite abrasive with LCS, but the other trash that is corrosive of good discipline, and the proper manning of the force you come down on the wrong side.

C-dore 14 said...

T1, You are correct.  The failure of the Dutch battalion at Srebrenicia had more to do with the UN's ROE than with the presence of homosexuals (or even labor unions) in their ranks.  As a NATO officer involved in planning the maritime blockade (and later as a task unit commander involved in executing it) I found that the UN forces in Bosnia were deliberately under-equipped and operated under such restrictive ROE that they were lucky to be able to defend themselves let alone anyone else.  It was only when military forces started operating under NATO ROE (which we Americans would still find restrictive) that the Bosnian situation started to move towards resolution. 

Malachy Marine said...

<span>So whats your retort for the Brits and Canadians? Are their Other Ranks as debased, undisciplined, and lacking in moral/physical courage as you claim the Dutch are? I think I know a Top Sergeant in the Royal Marines that might have a few words with you... Even if your assertions of the Dutch are correct WRT their lack of ability as a military force, prove to me the CAUSATION that homosexuality is the root of it and not say... its Unions. All that has been said here merely reflects a correlation between to facts and not a causal relationship.</span>

C-dore 14 said...

sober, That hasn't been my experience.  Sure some of them are sloppy and their union grievances can be a pain (probably what your buddy saw) but I was always glad to have a RNLN ship in the screen while enforcing UN sanctions off Yugoslavia.  They operated professionally (better than a couple of "other NATO nations" that I won't name) and their frigates came equipped with a unit of Dutch Marines who were ready, willing, and (on one occasion I was involved in) able to "fast rope" down to take over a potential blockade runner.

C-dore 14 said...

URR, Agree with your comment about the USMC but think it unlikely that the USG would have committed American troops to operate under the ROE that the Dutch operated under.  That's one of the reasons that our units, with the exception of a small group in Macedonia, operated under NATO or national ROE during the Bosnia Civil War.

Regarding ewok's comment are "awakening the 'peace mongers' back home" I think that it's just as likely that those 300 corpses would have resulted in pressure to withdraw Dutch forces from Bosnia as the Belgians did from Rwanda after 10 of their UN peace-keepers were disarmed and murdered there.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

<span>The Telegraph story you have linked to here in your latest update is quite a fanciful and deliberately misleading representation of what General Sheehan was asked and what he said.   
Does anyone really think that General van den Breemen would admit to telling General Sheehan what he told him?  He doesn't have the freedom to do so without facing not only criticism, but prosecution.  We are headed for the same predicament over political correctness and incursions on our own freedoms of speech and expression. 
From the Geert Wilders situation:  
"The court ruled that it is in the public interest to prosecute Wilders because, in a democratic legal system, a clear line must be drawn between hate speech and public debate."  
In the public interest?  Really?  Is that sorta like "for the children"?  Nevertheless, the line is now there.  Watch how far and how fast that line moves in order to stifle dissent.  I am referring not just to Holland but to America.  Democratic legal system?  Not hardly.  Not for long, at any rate.

UltimaRatioRegis said...


Don't think General Sheehan would disagree.  But that was not what was asked or what was being discussed.

sobersubmrnr said...

Concur. Arguing for the lifting of DADT while railing against the "Diversity Bullies" is a contradiction. Anyone with any knowledge of how the PC Police operate know what will happen if the exclusion law is repealed. CDR, your position on DADT doesn't make any sense.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Er, 1979 is MORE than 30 years ago.

UltimaRatioRegis said...


We are all interested in how that plays out, re: abandoning of bayonets.  I would think they would come in quite handy, fixed or in hand, in a close combat situation.  Apparently others do not.

Quartermaster said...

Unions, my friend, are part of the PC nonsense that has drug the Dutch forces down. Although there are homosexuals in both Canadian and Brit forces, they have fallen a long way from what they were. The corrosives that homosexuals are part of are working freely on both forces.

Quartermaster said...

'Phib, to be consistent you would call for the end of the diversity garbage before repealing DADT. That repela would be corrosive by itself, just as trying to throw wowmen in the mix has been a coorosive, but throwing the whole recipe together as you are essentially pushing for will be the death of the force.

I'm sorry, I have to state categorically that your position is inconsistent and not thought out. I never accused you, nor has anyone else, of blaming the Blacks,, for the diversity bullies, although many of them are at fault because they support those who push the trash. You are getting the cart before the horse and what you are pushing, and the radical left is pushing, will corrode the force. Honest people are already telling young men to stay away, that the servuice isn't worth the candle because their valor is being trashed by the PC hordes. Why are you calling for the Congress to double down and really harm the force? Simply saying you aren't isn't enough. We already know what the outcome will be, just you do. The question is why do you want the military to have to bear one more Albatross when they can't bear what they have to deal with now?

This may seem harsh 'Phib, bu th truth is either you haven't thought this out, or you have and you actually welcome the impact it will cause. I really hate to think it may be the latter, but I'm beginning to see a picture here that is truly distasteful.

Malachy Marine said...

Don't worry. Marines aren't getting rid of theirs anytime soon.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Your assertions are likely correct regarding USG willingness to deploy US forces under UN ROE.  For now.  I do believe part of what General Sheehan is remarking on is the deterioration of the willingness to fight, and understanding of military matters in European nations that ARE willing to deploy under UN ROE.   
Those nations either ignore the advice and counsel of their senior military leadership, or have successfully produced a set of senior officers that dare not challenge as to why UN ROE is a terrible idea, nor do they ensure their forces are properly trained (mentally and physicaaly) and equipped for combat.  Either way, the socialization and unionization of their militarties is both a by-product and a contributor to that decline. General Sheehan's comments on homosexuals serving openly as a part of that situation bears listening to.   
At no time, however, did the General say that gay soldiers "caused" the massacre.  But he did mention that it was presented to him as an indicator contributing to the decline of the Dutch Army which resulted in the massacre.  I believe that is precisely what happened, despite the denials of Dutch senior officers this week.  
Look like soldiers, train like soldiers, think like soldiers, fight like soldiers.  It has been thus since antiquity.  Deviate, in the name of "transformation", "diversity", "a force for good", or any other reason, and the results are predictable.</span>

chet said...

"Partially gay"? Yes, I missed it. Classic straw man. Homosexuals represent a minute fraction of today's forces. There is no vast untapped recruiting pool of homosexuals waiting to join, either. In addition, there is no contribution being made by closet homosexuals that can't be made my straight troops. None.
 It's nice to float platitudes about professionalism but the fact is....screw edited. I'm not changing anyone's mind. Be "appalled" all you want. Open homosexuality will cause twice the issues co-ed service has, at least.
 On with the experiment, boys and girls. What do we have to lose? Right?

C-dore 14 said...

URR, Overlooked by the media in their rush to focus on the homosexual issue were Sheehan's comments on the post-Cold War situation that led to European forces volunteering for peace-keeping missions.  In the period that immediately followed the First Gulf War and the breakup of the USSR many NATO nations, including our own to a lesser extent, seized upon the peace-keeping mission as a "raison d'etre" for their military forces.  In doing so they failed to seriously consider the risks associated with these missions as well as their own history.

As for ROE, let's just say that I have a pretty good understanding based on my years as a Pol/Mil planner as to what the USG will sign off on.

UltimaRatioRegis said...


Concur with your comments re: media.

As for ROE, however, you may be right as rain about what the USG is willing to sign off on at the current time.  Ten, fifteen years on, if we have gone down the Euro-socialist collective security peacekeepers-over-warfighters path, all bets are off.

Anthony Mirvish said...

General Sheehan's main point was that after the Cold War, the Europeans chose to emphasize factors other than those of a strictly traditional military nature in their armed forces.  As URR and C-14 have pointed out, that reflected the view that general war or even warfighting was much less likely.  They also wanted their militaries to more closely what they saw as their society's values and culture (some, like the Dutch, were already pretty liberal before that).  In some cases, rulings of the EU's courts pushed aspects of this (which is why restrictions based on gender were lifted).  All of that is very well-documented.  That this meant, by definition, a different approach to defense issues.  Whether this ultimately matters depends on how much effect you think the parent society's values and culture have on its military, and whether an effective military culture can be maintained no matter what values its society holds. 

Historical evidence suggests that eventually a military will reflect the cultural preferences of its parent society and change along with it, and not always for the good.  This can, however, exist with a relatively high level of technical competence, although that may not be enough if the intangibles are wrong.   For example, the Roman armies of the classical Republic, those of the Republic's final century and those of the Empire were all highly effective military forces.  However, the outlook, political reliability, and motivations of the soliders were significantly different in each period.  This had limited effect in the hands of capable leaders or good emperors; it was much more relevant when those factors weren't present.  The 18th century European armies were largely professional, consisting of career soldiers.  They fought major wars but not generally ideologically total ones.  Despite their professionalism, they proved less capable against the nationalist and ideological armies of Revolutionary France.  In more modern times, France's army entered WWII well-regarded by its German foes and the general level of competence was high.  But, it proved brittle because far too many people in France concluded that WWI proved that nothing was really worth fighting that hard about.  None of the major NATO armies have fought a major war against a competent, peer enemy since WWII, and we haven't recently.  IMO, claims about how much or little European personnel policies matter wait a more realistic test.

Tom Mowry said...

The reality is that gays serve in our military right now. They always have. Even in the 80's we knew who was and wasn't and I am sure that there were many who were and you would never know. We didn't know because they were flamboyant or coming on to other guys on the ship. For the most part they over compensated when we were all hanging out. We were an effective fighting force then and we are now. So what changes if gay soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen are allowed to serve openly? Nothing. We will still be an effective force. The military is not going to become a bunch of sissys, nancys or mamby pampbys. All the other rules will still apply. Fraternization is fraternization, uniform codes are uniforms codes. The United States military is the most professional fighting force in the world.

No Higher Honor

UltimaRatioRegis said...

<span>"<span> So what changes if gay soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen are allowed to serve openly? Nothing. We will still be an effective force. The military is not going to become a bunch of sissys, nancys or mamby pampbys. All the other rules will still apply. Fraternization is fraternization, uniform codes are uniforms codes. The United States military is the most professional fighting force in the world.  "</span>  
Those are some fair-sized assumptions, too large to not investigate very thoroughly and objectively before a change in policy.  Especially with the hash the Diversity Nazis will make of having yet another politically protected victim group to advocate for, one that has its own very loud and very anti-military advocacy groups already. For if we are wrong, and the Law of Unintended Consequences rules the day, we have done damage that cannot be undone.  Such a bill is ALWAYS paid for with lives on a battlefield.  
Uniform Codes are Uniform Codes?  There is that pesky Article 125.  We shall see.  Fraternization is not always fraternization, either.</span>

Tom Mowry said...

Point taken on the fraternization issue, but it appears the problem here is that the rules are not enforced. That is a different issue. So when I say fraternization is fraternization, it is against the rules straight or gay. Enforce the rules and have some consequences and people will comply. Here is an example. My first Captain had two simple rules; don't do drugs, and don't be late. There were no excuses for either behavior. He told me this when I was doing my check in as a young seaman apprentice. He also told me what the consequences would be. 45, 45 and 1/2 amonth for two. This was not a hollow threat. If you were one minute, one hour or one day late it did not matter. He followed through with the consequences. XOI and Captains Mast. was usually the same day of the offence.
If you got popped on a pee test again no excuses you were going on restriction. As a result we had an extremely low drug use rate and I can barely remember anyone being late.
In another example I can remember doing my PQS for Messenger of the Watch and Petty Officer of the Watch and being asked what I would do if there was a race riot on the mess decks. I joined in 1981 and I was told that this had been a problem in the late seventies and that is why we just needed to be prepared in case.
The same arguments have been used against intergration, and women in the military.

Perhaps I oversimplified, but I think that if you make rules about what is acceptable behavior, have consequences and then follow through with the punishments this will work. I will go back to my original comment on this topic. It's not who you do it's what you do. Of course that is just my opinion and we all know the about opinions.

Combat NFO said...

Failure to enforce fraternization rules doesn't make it something else.  Frat is still frat, regardless of whether leadership leads, or fails to lead.  Don't blame gay people for the inability of straight people to follow and/or enforce the UCMJ.  Start enforcing the regulations, and the military won't have frat problems.

UltimaRatioRegis said...


Nobody is "blaming gay people" and you know it.  The problem with the Diversity Dictators is that they create a climate of fear regarding the enforcement of regulations against their particular victim group du jour.  See: Ft Hood, USNA. 

So please, don't tell me that allowing gays in the military to serve openly is simply a matter of rules enforcement.  They will bring with them an advocacy and activist apparatus that will in many ways prevent honest attempts to do just that, at the cost of the careers of those trying to do the enforcing. 

Those considerations are on top of myriad cultural, legal, fiscal, and above all, READINESS issues that should be very carefully and honestly considered.

C-dore 14 said...

URR, 15 years ago I was a NATO planner and can guarantee you that the US wasn't about to agree to those restrictive ROE.  Since then we've only become more firm in that regard.

UltimaRatioRegis said...


Here's hoping you are right.  But all it takes is a big gulp of the Euro-Kool aid and who knows what we would be willing to do and not do?

It is probable that, in 1990, if you were told that the 570-ship US Navy would be precisely half that size in twenty years, with much reduced counter-mine capability, half the amphibs, and little more than 25% of the auxiliaries, you may not have found such to be highly unlikely.  Yet, here we are.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Here's hoping you are right.  But all it takes is a big gulp of the Euro-Kool aid and who knows what we would be willing to do and not do? 
It is probable that, in 1990, if you were told that the 570-ship US Navy would be precisely half that size in twenty years, with much reduced counter-mine capability, half the amphibs, and little more than 25% of the auxiliaries, you would have found such assertions to be highly unlikely.  Yet, here we are.</span>

C-dore 14 said...

Tom, Who was your first CO?  Sounds like he and I would have agreed on some things.

Tom Mowry said...

Harry Maxner, he had too nick names Maximum Maxner, and High Voltage, there was also a third not let his ship look like crap ever...

C-dore 14 said...

Assume that he was an East Coast CO since I didn't know about him (I was in DC and a West Coast XO in the early '80s).  BTW, I agree with rule #3 as well.  

C-dore 14 said...

URR, One of the reasons that I support the repeal of DADT, as I've written here before, is that the current policy limits a commander's discretion and allows shirkers a way out of deployments, service, etc.  Moreover, since most policies of this type are aimed at controlling behavior, being able to apply the anti-fraternization sections of the UCMJ to gays and lesbians in the military at levels lower than the "nuclear option" of discharge will be helpful.

Your example is a good one about the complications of trying to control behavior of military personnel, although it tells me as much about the Captain's chain of command as it does about her and the CWO.  Yes, the Diversity community will create a new "protected class" when the policy is repealed so folks in leadership positions need to be ready to deal with this fact.  The Diversity community has existed since I was an Ensign so I doubt if they or the way they act is going to go away just because it pi55es us off.  A good commander who treats his/her personnel fairly and who has a boss with a little bit of backbone should be able to weather the storm.  If not, life after retirement isn't so bad.

andrewdb said...

URR - You don't know if I served or not.  Ask our host about me next time you see him in meatspace.  I may not be a Marine, but it is the smallest service, so a lot of people aren't Marines.  In fact, the latest figure I've heard is that 99% of the population isn't serving, more is the pity.

andrewdb said...

PS - As a 24 year member of the bar, I look forward to the opportunity to discuss Con Law with you some time.

UltimaRatioRegis said...


I don't much care whether you served or not.  Either way, General Sheehan HAS served, and honorably.  Dragging his reputation and character through the mud because you don't like one of his honestly-expressed assertions doesn't wash whether you did or not.

Andrewdb said...

Yes, Gen Sheehan served honorably, which is why it so dissapointing when he says something stupid like this in retirement.  Smedley Butler served very honorably, too, and I don't think his retirement was what he hoped it would be. I am sorry you didn't join our host and Galrahn at the West conference when I bought them a round.  Next year I'll buy one for you.

UltimaRatioRegis said...

Well, Andrew,

Next time General Sheehan testifies in the hallowed halls, I will remind him that instead of being truthful he needs to only say that which is politically palatable, and to check with you first. 

Tom Mowry said...

East Coast is Correct, he was the first CO of DDG 995, there is a funny story about rule 3 that I will tell you sometime

OnceAMarine said...

URR and Byron are both on target.  Sorry Andrew, warriors don't hide behind ROE's when a command decision has to be made on the spot and in the moment.  Can anyone here imagine a world where US Marines, regardless of circumstances, would allow themselves to be handcuffed to utility poles while civilians are led to slaughter?  Here's an article of faith that has been passed down for over 235 years from one generation of Marines to the next: You can not always preserve your life but you can always preserve your honor.  There is no excuse for the cowardice displayed by the Dutch in Srebrenicia.

Anthony Mirvish said...

The evidence has been that it is hard to enforce rules when doing so can be presented as a form of persecution against a particular group and/or if those rules bump up too hard against either human nature or what people think of as being relatively harmless activities.  

One needs to be mindful that there are limits to what laws and programs can enforce, and that certain things can be inherently unworkable. Prohibition was an obvious example.  The various fascist and communist dictatorships had unlimited power available to them; they could enforce verbal agreement and outward compliance with their dictates, but they couldn't make anyone actually love or believe in Big Brother...they proved very good though at getting people to not give a damn, which is why their societies failed.

sobersubmrnr said...

Now, for another take on the subject:

Sorry, but I don't see where he smeared the Dutch. He's telling it the way he sees it, which is what a witness before Congress is supposed to do.

USMC Steve said...

Cdrsalamander, I don't need to get out more.  Your comparison of Detroit with Amsterdam has no merit here.  It actually proves my point.  I have been to that shithole and was not a bit impressed with it.  Given that they are all so well educated, one might wonder why they are taught nothing about conventional morality and proper conduct.  their sociailist education teaches them that they owe no one anything, the individual is everything, and their military is a microcosm of all that is wrong with their country.  Every whackjob who wants to be different screams and whines, and the Dutch kiss their asses in a frightened manner rather than be pointed out as sexist, racist, ethnicist, whatever other -ist might apply, rather than telling everyone to shut the fuck up, ruck the fuck up, and ante up.  the same is happening in our country right now too, but faster.  And as I have actually seen the operations of their land forces, and know what they are all about, unless you have more experience in that department than I, DO NOT even lecture me.  I grasp the concept that the military is about subverting one's personal will and welfare for the good of the group, mission, country.  THEY DO NOT.

Andrewdb said...

The real scandal is the ROE from the UN.  Here's a good description from someone who was there:

Theodore said...

CDR, Salamander, are you sure the cuffing soldiers to poles is correct for Srebenica? I rather had the impression that shameful episode was somewhere else in the Yugoslavian theatre, so including it can be seen as possible smear/lie #1,  this can have been a honest mistake.

Unionization of the Dutch military a reaction to the end of the Cold War? The oldest Dutch military unions date back to the 19th century, smear/lie #2.

"Allowing gays to serve" a reaction to the end of the Cold War? The Dutch stopped the use of homosexuality as a way to dodge the draft in 1974 and never looked back. So they claim now to have been the FIRST to openly allow gays to serve openly, Sheehan denied that there had been decades of gays serving openly in the Dutch forces smear/lie #3.  

He claimed that his source would have been a chief of staff fired by parliament, there is no such critter, smear/lie #4.

He was unable to  name his source correctly, but the name and function point to the only Dutch 4 star marine general in history, who himself was not directly caught up in the scandal (the loss of job attributed to him by Sheehan points to an amy general, both claim not to have said anything like that). Now Sheehan had no reason to screw up the name of his source, so we can safely say that this might just have been a honest error, but it shows that he is not a source to be trusted blindly concerning the Dutch military.  The statements he attributed to the Dutch source are however clearly serving Sheehan's point of view, and are about as likely to have been made by a high Dutch ranking officer, who was happily visiting the military gay meetings to stay informed (about, say, a rise of homophobia), as Sheehan himself stating "We would have defeated the Vietcoons, if not for the {N-words} in our army" as a witness before congress. Smear/lie #5.

The Dutch reaction did not seem angry to me, in relation to the enormity of the falsehoods stated by Sheehan.

Theodore said...

Sheehan apologized!  To a fellow marine general:

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