Journal article Open Access

"Too Sweet and Innocent for War"?: Dutch Peacekeepers and the Use of Violence

Sion, L.

Based on anthropological fieldwork, this article studies the experience of two Dutch peacekeeping units: the "Grizzly" artillery battery that was deployed to Kosovo in 1999 (KFOR2) and the "Bulldog" infantry company that was deployed to Bosnia in 2000 (SFOR8). By examining the units' experience from training through deployment, this article argues that the Dutch army is a threatened organization that suffers from a relatively low status in society. The army gains support mainly by performing peace missions, which soldiers perceive as "feminine" and therefore inappropriate. This article examines how Dutch soldiers train for peacekeeping missions and demonstrates that this training takes the shape of infantry combat exercises, a characteristic that negatively influences the soldiers' level of satisfaction during deployments.
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