April 17, 2006

The Sheepdog's War

I've been thinking a lot about sheepdogs lately, if only in the back of my mind. Not the physical kind, of course, but the metaphorical, philosophical beast described by LTC Dave Grossman (Retired), that I was first exposed to in Bill Whittle's excellent "Tribes" some month's ago. Because of Whittle's essay, I've also been doing a lot of soul-searching about what it means to be Grey, and how it all relates to the budding war with Iran.

LTC Grossman's essay "On sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs" was forwarded to me this morning in an email by another retired sheepdog and I present it to you in its entirety:


By LTC(RET) Dave Grossman, RANGER,
Ph.D., author of "On Killing."

Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always, even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for? - William J. Bennett - in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997

One Vietnam veteran, an old retired colonel, once said this to me: "Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident." This is true. Remember, the murder rate is six per 100,000 per year, and the aggravated assault rate is four per 1,000 per year. What this means is that the vast majority of Americans are not inclined to hurt one another.

Some estimates say that two million Americans are victims of violent crimes every year, a tragic, staggering number, perhaps an all-time record rate of violent crime. But there are almost 300 million Americans, which means that the odds of being a victim of violent crime is considerably less than one in a hundred on any given year. Furthermore, since many violent crimes are committed by repeat offenders, the actual number of violent citizens is considerably less than two million.

Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation: We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation. They are sheep.

I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me, it is like the pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue shell.

Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, And someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful. For now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf."

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf.

But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed

Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial, that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools.

But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of denial. The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports, in camouflage fatigues, holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa." Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.

The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough high school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel those clinging, sobbing kids off of them. This is how the little lambs feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door.

Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Remember how many times you heard the word hero?

Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed,
right along with the young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, "Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference." When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warrior hood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a

There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population.

There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: Slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.

Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which one they want to be, and I'm proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.

Seven months after the attack on September 11, 2001, Todd Beamer was honored in his hometown of Cranbury, New Jersey. Todd, as you recall, was the man on Flight 93 over Pennsylvania who called on his cell phone to alert an operator from United Airlines about the hijacking. When he learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons, Todd dropped his phone and uttered the words, "Let's roll," which authorities believe was a signal to the other passengers to confront the terrorist hijackers. In one hour, a transformation occurred among the passengers - athletes, business people and parents. -- from sheep to sheepdogs and together they fought the wolves, ultimately saving an unknown number of lives on the ground.

There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men. - Edmund Burke

Here is the point I like to emphasize, especially to the thousands of police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep, real sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves. They didn't have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision.

If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay, but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior's path, then you must make a conscious and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.

For example, many officers carry their weapons in church. They are well concealed in ankle holsters, shoulder holsters or inside-the-belt holsters tucked into the small of their backs. Anytime you go to some form of religious service, there is a very good chance that a police officer in your congregation is carrying. You will never know if there is such an individual in your place of worship, until the wolf appears to massacre you and your loved ones.

I was training a group of police officers in Texas, and during the break, one officer asked his friend if he carried his weapon in church. The other cop replied, "I will never be caught without my gun in church." I asked why he felt so strongly about this, and he told me about a cop he knew who was at a church massacre in Ft. Worth, Texas in 1999. In that incident, a mentally deranged individual came into the church and opened fire, gunning down fourteen people. He said that officer believed he could have saved every life that day if he had been carrying his gun. His own son was shot, and all he could do was throw himself on the boy's body and wait to die. That cop looked me in the eye and said, "Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself after that?"

Some individuals would be horrified if they knew this police officer was carrying a weapon in church. They might call him paranoid and would probably scorn him. Yet these same individuals would be enraged and would call for "heads to roll" if they found out that the airbags in their cars were defective, or that the fire extinguisher and fire sprinklers in their kids' school did not work. They can accept the fact that fires and traffic accidents can happen and that there must be safeguards against them.

Their only response to the wolf, though, is denial, and all too often their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain. But the sheepdog quietly asks himself, "Do you have any idea how hard it would be to live with yourself if your loved ones were attacked and killed, and you had to stand there helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?"

It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and horror when the wolf shows up. Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth when you are not physically prepared: you didn't bring your gun, you didn't train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy. Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you are psychologically shattered by your fear, helplessness and horror at your moment of truth.

Gavin de Becker puts it like this in Fear Less, his superb post-9/11 book, which should be required reading for anyone trying to come to terms with our current world situation: "...denial can be seductive, but it has an insidious side effect. For all the peace of mind deniers think they get by saying it isn't so, the fall they take when faced with new violence is all the more unsettling." Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some level. And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all aspects of his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes.

If you are warrior who is legally authorized to carry a weapon and you step outside without that weapon, then you become a sheep, pretending that the bad man will not come today. No one can be "on" 24/7, for a lifetime. Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself..."Baa."

This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees, a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the other.

Most of us live somewhere in between. Since 9-11 almost everyone in America took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started taking their job more seriously. The degree to which you move up that continuum, away from sheephood and denial, is the degree to which you and your loved ones will survive, physically and psychologically at your moment of truth.

Most of us can define where we fall in Grossman's essay if we are honest with ourselves. Most won't be honest of course, including many of you reading this. Dishonesty to one's self is, after all, the defining characteristic of Sheep, even perfectly nice Sheep.

Bill Whittle makes a slightly different observation. While Grossman speaks of sheep, sheepdogs and wolves, Whittle's essay seeks to define us as self-selecting tribes:

...let's get past Republican and Democrat, Red and Blue, too. Let's talk about these two Tribes: Pink, the color of bunny ears, and Grey, the color of a mechanical pencil lead.

I live in both worlds. In entertainment, everything is Pink, the color of Angelyne's Stingray – it's exciting and dynamic and glamorous. I'm also a pilot, and I know honest-to-God rocket scientists, and combat flight crews and Special Ops guys -- stone-cold Grey, all of them -- and am proud and deeply honored to call them my friends.

The Pink Tribe is all about feeling good: feeling good about yourself! Sexually, emotionally, artistically – nothing is off limits, nothing is forbidden, convention is fossilized insanity and everybody gets to do their own thing without regard to consequences, reality, or natural law. We all have our own reality – one small personal reality is called “science,” say – and we Make Our Own Luck and we Visualize Good Things and There Are No Coincidences and Everything Happens for a Reason and You Can Be Whatever You Want to Be and we all have Special Psychic Powers and if something Bad should happen it's because Someone Bad Made It Happen. A Spell, perhaps.

The Pink Tribe motto, in fact, is the ultimate Zen Koan, the sound of one hand clapping: EVERYBODY IS SPECIAL.

Then, in the other corner, there is the Grey Tribe – the grey of reinforced concrete. This is a Tribe where emotion is repressed because Emotion Clouds Judgment. This is the world of Quadratic Equations and Stress Risers and Loads Torsional, Compressive and Tensile, a place where Reality Can Ruin Your Best Day, the place where Murphy mercilessly picks off the Weak and the Incompetent, where the Speed Limit is 186,282.36 miles per second, where every bridge has a Failure Load and levees come in 50 year, 100 year and 1000 Year Flood Flavors.

The Grey Tribe motto is, near as I can tell, THINGS BREAK SOMETIMES AND PLEASE DON'T LET IT BE MY BRIDGE.

In America right now, we are engaging in a philosophical battle where the Sheep are busily denying the teeth of the Wolves, even to the point of attacking the sheepdogs because they, too, have teeth. Even when the Sheep become confused between wolf and sheepdog, it is still very easy for sheepdogs to tell wolf from sheep; and Pink from Grey.

Conflict with Iran should be avoided if possible, but not at all costs, and it appears the point of no return is approaching with breathtaking speed.

Iran is dominated by a radical sect of Shi'a Islam that seeks to bring about the end of this world as an immediate shortcut to their eternal salvation. Mutually-Assured Destruction that has been so repellant to secular nations for the past 60 years does not apply to Iran. This is not the desire of the bulk of Iran's people. The Mullahs believe that a blinding flash and momentary pain is all that separates them from an eternity in Paradise.

Iran is building up both their technology and their rhetoric at a time that their current President thinks he speaks directly with their Messiah. There need be no clearer message, one simply has to listen, and the sheep will adamantly refuse.

It is a suicidal path the Sheep have taken, but to acknowledge any other possibility is to acknowledge the failure of their own ideology, an ideology they adhere to with no less fervor than that of Mullahs that would set alight the world.

Sheep and Wolf, predator and prey, they are both blinded to facts by their fanaticism. As Whittle defined the Pinks before:

...nothing is forbidden, convention is fossilized insanity and everybody gets to do their own thing without regard to consequences, reality, or natural law.

The consequences of the Mullah's eschatology and the denial of the Sheep are a recipe for the End of Days, an orgasm of Pink philosophies conspiring to obliterate millions in a blinding flash. Only the Sheepdogs stand in the way.

This is the Sheepdog's war to fight, and fight they must. That is the reality that has presented itself to us. As Sheepdogs and as Greys this is not a war we would choose, but one that has been thrust upon us by the overly tolerant of the West and overly intolerant of the Middle East. Iran's Mullah's would have nuclear weapons, and they have promised over and over again to use them, potentially triggering the deaths of millions.

This must not stand. Iran must not have nuclear weapons, nor nuclear facilities that can enrich nuclear materials to create these weapons. Any and all reasonable options should be on the table to prevent this eventuality, conventional and unconventional alike.

Let the Sheep bleat if the bombs must fall. At the very least, their noise shows that their throats have not been ripped out by the Wolves.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at April 17, 2006 12:30 PM | TrackBack

The left will not allow America to engage Iran in a fight. They have prepared every possible method of preventing this country from going to any war under any circumstance.

The fifth-column left has succeeded in destroying America.

Posted by: Boomshakalaka at April 17, 2006 01:51 PM

If you doubt that there are some Americans that are actively siding with *anyone* who hates American, think again.

We have no chance of disarmign Iran under the current political climate in the US. We have the left to thank for that.

Posted by: Bhiptis at April 17, 2006 01:53 PM

It seems unlikely there will be any kind of international support to go to war with Iran's mullahs, unless they do something really crazy like openly invade Israel or Iraq.

Absent that support, it's hard to see how Bush could remove the mullahs without making the U.S. extremely unpopular, to the point we really are isolated. Even with the far worse record of Hussein, removing him was extremely controversial.

OTOH, it's possible Bush doesn't care what anyone thinks and will do what he believes is necessary to make America safe regardless of the consequences.

If not, this and the last decade will be remembered as the brief window of time in modern history where Americans didn't live with the constant threat of nuclear annihilation.

Remember, repressive regimes fall for only one reason: the failure of will to crush revolutionaries. Don't bet on the mullahs to experience a moral revelation or a weakening of resolve.

Posted by: TallDave at April 17, 2006 02:05 PM

Well said...

Bleating hearts... until their throats are ripped out...

Posted by: USAF-Ret at April 17, 2006 02:17 PM

What do we do with the sheep who prevent us from defending other sheep from the wolves?

These are evil sheep who side with the wolves. They do everything they can to prevent protection of other sheep, but they do not strike the killing blow themselves. Perhaps some are wolves in sheep clothing? Perhaps others are evil cowardly sheep whose only defense is to point to other bigger sheep for the wolves to feast upon.

Either way, we may need to start considering the elimination of the evil sheep who help the wolves.

If anything leads to USA Civil War II, it will be a result of needing to deal with those evil sheep.

Posted by: Shorse at April 17, 2006 02:20 PM

"OTOH Bush doesn't care...."

Hopefully, he still has his convictions to do the right thing. What does he have to worry about? His enemies will hate him no matter what he does (they would hate him if he even replaced Cheney with Ted Kennedy as VP, and then resigned as Prez, elevating Teddy to Prez!) So, what does Bush really have to lose?

If he does not act against Iran, his legacy is toast. With 2.5 years left in his term, and Iran flouting that they have nukes and will use them, if Bush does NOT take the nukes away from Iran, then history will rightly judge that Bush wimped out...punted the Nuclear Iran problem to the next guy, knowing full well that the next guy may well be a liberal pacifist gal, who will have to deal with Iran 3 yrs after they first claimed to have nukes.

Bush has no options. Bush should have very little fear....what?...that people might not like him for his actions? Get real! He should only be guided by his convictions, not even a political worry about a 2nd term. Bush was born for such a time as this.

Posted by: Harry at April 17, 2006 02:20 PM


We have treason and sedition laws to take care of the "evil sheep," and neither cowardice nor denial justifys a civil war. This elimination you speak of sounds very close to summary executions, and that wil not be tolerated on this site.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at April 17, 2006 02:28 PM

Sheepdogs work to disarm sheep, and then claim "See, you need us to protect you."

How often do sheepdogs (the real kind, not the metaphorical kind) kill innocent sheep? And how often do the shepards (the real kind, not the bureacratic government kind) tolerate that kind of behavior?

Posted by: Not A Sheep at April 17, 2006 02:58 PM

"We have treason and sedition laws to take care of the "evil sheep"

..and the last time those laws were prosecuted was?

Posted by: Steve at April 17, 2006 02:58 PM

Thought-provoking articles. I fancy myself as a sheepdog but am afraid I'm at sheep at heart. Not happy about that self-appraisal, either. Maybe I can train to be more sheepdog and less sheep.

I hope the U.S. doesn't shackle Israel as I believe they will be the likely first attackers of Iran. We also need to consider what will happen to our military personnel in Iraq if we attack Iran with conventional weaponry. And what about China and Russia--they both like Iranian business and oil, but get considerable foreign aid & business from U.S.

Posted by: Michelle at April 17, 2006 03:01 PM

Perhaps if the Left had more power in the USA, they coudl get over the Right, and start to focus on the true enemy? It's about the only cure for BDS I can think of.

I guess the 2 choices are: 1)Sheepdogs take care of things, with the sheep fighting them every inch of the way, or 2)we somehow engage the sheep.

Posted by: slick at April 17, 2006 03:05 PM

Free, gratis, I present you this image taken yesterday of a sheepdog guarding its flock

Posted by: Francis at April 17, 2006 03:07 PM

I read the "sheepdogs, wolves, sheep" essay some while ago and my only quibble is that the essay lumps all the sheep together. As one person above noted, some sheep are so in denial they actually on the side of the wolves (or else they are wolves). However, some of us who aren't military or police *aren't* in denial and *do* know we need to be protected. We are happy to pay taxes to support those who defend us and to honor them with parades, special burials, GI education grants, etc.

I'm afraid I'm in the same camp as Boomshakalaka - there is a fifth column, at least some of it among the elite and powerful, and it is acting to sell us out -- one MidEast war at a time, one cartoon of Mohammed at a time.

Posted by: Judith at April 17, 2006 03:10 PM

I am not a sheepdog. I do not have teeth nor do I have claws. I am not trained as a warrior or protector. I am a sheep.

But I am a sheep with my eyes open. My father was a sheepdog for over 20 years and I have always been able to tell the difference between sheepdogs and wolves. As a sheep with my eyes open, I honor and respect the sheepdogs and I always have.

I don't want the wolves to come, but I know that they are out there and that they will come and that the sheepdogs are all that stand between me and my family and the wolves.

I think you need another classification for people like me.

Posted by: Phil at April 17, 2006 03:28 PM

Something tells me that Bush doesn't want his legacy to be remembered in the same light as Carter, with Iran being allowed to get away with flaunting the US on the world stage. There is, however, by all appearances, time yet to deal with Iran. I look forward to see how the administration uses that time.

Posted by: Final Historian at April 17, 2006 03:40 PM

Wait tell after Nov. 7. The question is can we wait 7 months?

I am a sheep that helps train sheepdogs, figure that one out.

Posted by: David at April 17, 2006 03:51 PM

Great post. In truth, I'd have to put myself on the sheep-sheepdog divide, due to two things:

1) I prefer peace(I know, who doesn't)

2) I love my family and friends more than I love peace

I do not tolerate any direct threat to my extended family members. Anyone or anything that poses an imminent threat to them will be stopped. Permanently.

Posted by: physics geek at April 17, 2006 04:01 PM

I am a sheep that helps train sheepdogs.

If we can wait 7 months perhaps we will. Nov. 8 or so will be telling.

Posted by: David at April 17, 2006 04:05 PM

I have always been able to tell the difference between sheepdogs and wolves.

While wolves never behave like sheepdogs, sometimes sheepdogs act like wolves.

Compare Francic's picture to this picture.

Posted by: Cranky Yankee at April 17, 2006 04:06 PM

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

That part made me laugh, because it is not true. A sheepdog who harms a sheep will be placed on paid leave (vacation) while the shepards whitewash the incident.

Posted by: Disgruntled Sheep at April 17, 2006 04:11 PM

I see continuing evidence of a conservative belief of "sheepdogness," while continuing evidence, at least by some leaders, of sheepness. conservative leaders who confuse the nobility of the soldier sent off to war, with the men who send them.

there is a lot of rhetoric in this country right now, and I'm not sure what this essay, although it made some good points, does to lessen it. this belief that right wing republicans do more to combat terrorism, for example, bc they tended to be more gung ho about going into Iraq, when there were signficant strategic considerations with respect to taking military action versus not, that had absolutely no correlation whatsoever with one's hawkishness or lack thereof with respect to fighting terrorism. yet the common perception, fostered by all this rhetoric, was just the opposite. this is but one of countless examples.

i see the same attitude with respect to, as it is noted above, "this budding war," with Iran, with little inclination to actually THINK about the larger picture.

the soldier does honorably - -today in the U.S perhaps as well as ever in our history -- what is their job to do. many of them are sheepdogs, or have become so. the men who make these decisions, are not soldiers. and are not necessarily sheepdogs. by the same token, many civilians are sheepdogs, and there is no monopoly on this by conservatives, in fact no such advantage even, despite a clear delusion, because of some so called "liberal" bleating hearts, and a bunch of rhetoric (see above posts), to that effect.

the greatest warriors, the real warriors, know that strength does not come from doing battle. strength comes from knowing how to do battle, and winning, when battle is necessary, and, most importantly, knowing when battle is necessary. and knowing when it is not.

right now the battle is against international terrorism. let Iran, for example, take its course. there are a lot of western, young professionals in Iran (average age, 24). proceed down the road of international diplomacy. particularly when dealing with a hysterical Iranian president (and how much authority does he hold in Iraq?)with a clear apocalyptic vision, and a U.S President,God bless his heart, who is a core representative of a fundamental religious movement in this country which has a large proportion of its followers as well believing in some type of apocalypse. this is not sheepdogness, which, I fear, many of the posters on this site, are once again, confusing with a lack of world perspective and a broader view, where and how to take action, and a lot of chest pounding by those who have never seen their comrades fighting along side slain at their feet in battle, or considered the more important question (as Iraq aptly illustrated) of both broader consequences in terms of pieces of a puzzle, and more importantly, aftermath.

let's eliminate al Qaeda first.

while the above description of sheep is apt, the better, and broader one, are those apt to simply follow what they are told, who don't think for themselves, and who believe all the rhetoric. the ones,in essence, who buy the hype.

as a practical matter, if we have to take action against Iran at some point, how we handle it, and how we have handled things, will be critical.

as I wrote on pressthenews, part of combating international terrorism requires reducing the spread and impact of radical anti Western Islamic fanaticism. Therefore, and this was one of the problems with Iraq, it is important that we work with the Arab world, not against it. This makes Iraq more delicate than it might appear, because our goal is to reduce the appeal of this radical faction of extremism. One way to do that, for example, is recognizing the importance of two things when we take international action. First, understanding what we need to do, and how to do it. We failed miserably on this with respect to Iraq. The second is the communicative aspect. We may have failed here almost as bad. It's perhaps superficial, but it's a start, here I suggested, for instance, were we to increase troop size in Iraq, it is critical that it be "accompanied by a broad, aggressive, international education campaign, that emphasizes that we are in Iraq protecting the Iraq government, while we assist the Iraq army in becoming self sufficent, from the anti Iraq insurgency within, and are increasing our short term committment to make sure this gets accomplished for the benefit of the Iraqi people, free from dictatorship, to become completely self governing as is their inherent right. But this should have been done from the get go, as well." this becomes more problematic with Iran.

Posted by: Ivan Carter at April 17, 2006 04:13 PM


Yes, this does look like an obvious screw up. But you say that wolves never behave like sheepdogs?

So you never heard of somebody dressing up like a policeman, using a vehicle that looks like an unmarked police car, to pull over women, pretending to cite them for speeding, and then rape them? That sounds like a wolve in sheep(dogs) clothing to me. Also, suicide bombers wearing a uniform to get closer to army or police in order to maximize their number of people killed. The list goes on...

Posted by: Harry at April 17, 2006 04:18 PM

On Sheep, etc.
Unfortunatley, in a moment of fear, we, the sheep, have let our sheepdogs become wolves. It is time for the sheep to rise up and restrain the new wolves.
Let's vote out the current administration and reestablish control over these new wolves.
Charlie Mills

Posted by: cmills at April 17, 2006 04:18 PM

and what is a sheepdog that is afraid of the sheep? I would suggest we call that mongrel GW Bush.

Posted by: wrk at April 17, 2006 04:19 PM

those who work with the wolves are not sheep

they are judas goats

ie - traitors

Posted by: The Duck at April 17, 2006 04:33 PM

What "left" won't "allow" us to fight as we need to? The powerless pansies of the Democratic Party?

The President has all the authority he needs to act decisively, and all the power he needs, TODAY, to knock the Iranian program back several years, and also to damage the mullahcracy's ability to hold down the population.

The President is a poker player, however, and we don't see his cards, nor most of the Iranians. He'll raise as he sees fit, call when he is ready, and clean out the mullahcracy of their chips.

Having said that, foreign affairs would be a lot easier if the "hate America first" left were less influential amongst the Dems.


Posted by: MG at April 17, 2006 04:46 PM

It's early, we don't need to bomb Iran yet. Let them get that long string of centrifuges into operation, then whack the whole operation. What they'd like is to provoke us into striking prematurely, so that they could easily rebuild while we were suffering the blowback from the initial strike. Nope, we're more patient than that. Quiet down, and threaten them quietly, so as not to inflame anybody. It's been good to bring this out in the open, so the world pays attention, but there is no absolute need for military action right now.

Posted by: bomb their ass and take their gas at April 17, 2006 06:06 PM

There's always an excuse for inaction. Yeah, threats, that's the answer. Iran has been at war with us since the embassy takeover.

But the "international community" wouldn't like us if we defend ourselves, so "there is absolutely no need for military action right now."


Posted by: MarkD at April 17, 2006 06:53 PM

Sometimes,the wolves steal sheep from their midst so that they can claim to be sheepdogs too. Unfortunately, many in America buy into that claim and call for the impeachment of the leader of the sheepdogs if any sheepdogs harm the other sheep in their zeal to kill the wolves that enslave them or even harm the wolves masquerading as sheepdogs over their enslaved sheep.


Posted by: Phil at April 17, 2006 07:04 PM

That was damn good.

Posted by: chris Muir at April 17, 2006 07:53 PM

This whole sheep/sheepdog/wolf analogy is getting old. I know the cops and service guys like it, and it's cute and everything, if you don't think about it too much. But there are no sheep. And there are no wolves. There are only dogs. Bad dogs. Good dogs. Mean dogs. Stupid dogs. Guard dogs. Dogs who do tricks. Feral dogs. Some of us are Rottwielers, and some of us are Poodles. And some of us are Dingos. The question is, what kind of dog are you?
Anyway, there are some dogs over there who don't like you dogs, and wanna kick your dog asses and take your dog stuff. Screw your bitches, and eat your food and sleep in your spot. So who among us is gonna stop 'em? In the end, it will be the dogs that can that will do. The rest will watch. And wait. And yapp. And try to make the best of it. Like always.

Posted by: John at April 17, 2006 08:12 PM

It's the American Left and the world against middle America. Never bet against America.

Posted by: PacRim Jim at April 17, 2006 09:26 PM

Those first strikes will have to be overwhelming in every way destroying their means to retaliate effectively. Israel should concentrate on destroying Hizbollah's and Hamas' means of attacking them and retaliating on Iran's behalf. There are far more sheep harboring sheepdog desires than appear in these forums. Why do the military planners not include the total destruction of the evil mullahs as well? Surely there are better targets than just the nuclear sites? Make Iran so hot their Revolutionary Guards have no country to return to if they make the mistake of invading Iraq and targeting our forces there.

Posted by: JimboNC at April 17, 2006 10:07 PM

Those of you who think we need to "eliminate" al Qaeda first need to understand one thing.

There is no Al Qaeda.

There is only radical islamic fundamentalism or to put it another way..

traditional islam.

Posted by: Steve at April 17, 2006 10:08 PM

this is a redneck site isn't it? I gather from the overwhelming display of flag waving jingoism here.

don't worry boys, Im on your side. no secular leftie am I.

chew on this.

Bush is no Charles Martel. We have a long road of setbacks ahead of us, decades, before someone of that quality comes around again.

Posted by: Steve at April 17, 2006 10:12 PM

I am just in awe at the courage and performance of US military. In Iraq and Afghanistan and in the war on terror they have done things that others said were impossible. This is the result of years of work going back to the rebuilding after Vietnam. We all know the weaknesses, the CIA and FBI lapses, the failures of our supposed allies and peace organizations, the confusion from being attacked by our own press, but courage of the men and women in our military has made this all good. We are winning in Iraq, in Afghanistan and against Al Qaeda. Our leadership is good. There is no one I would change, even Chaney. The flaky and weak are not in command in this time of crisis. Look at Europe and then look away. We are very lucky.

Posted by: Rob at April 17, 2006 10:19 PM

Somtimes, in an attempt to save the community, individuals are lost. There is no rejoicing in that fact, only a sad acknowledgement. Sheep, at home and abroad, are often victims because they walk in dangerous paths and graze unaware in the company of wolves.

Do sheepdogs ever become overzealous? Yes. And then they are put down. (Just ask Pvt. Lindy of Abu Ghraib notoriety.)

And yet, it is still better that one man should perish than that a nation should fall into the hands of a freedom fearing enemy.

Posted by: Cate at April 17, 2006 10:20 PM

Lots of yippin' and a yappin' going on here.

Must be a bunch a poodles sniffin' each others doggie dicks.

Posted by: Walter at April 17, 2006 11:09 PM

Gee Walter -- nice of you to drop by. Just had to get a snide remark in. Must be one of those wolves in sheep's clothing.

Posted by: Ga Deb at April 18, 2006 08:44 AM

Interesting analogy.

There are some discrepancies,as a sheep farmer who uses both sheepdogs and LIVESTOCK GUARD dogs and not having any wolf packs but coyotes and neighbouring pesky pet dogs who are out to play and molest sheep,my analogy would be little different.
Sheepdogs,aka,Border Collies are the law and order for flock's overall well being. Sheep are notorious about turning against them since the dog is there to lay down and enforce the law. Very similar to the law makers and law officers.
Sheepdogs will bite sheep noses if they are challenged or hit by sheep and get them back in line. Those same sheep who challenges the well trained sheepdogs are the ones who usually get taken out by coyotes if guard dogs aren't present since they are born with a chip on their shoulders and are looking for a place to die.
Guard dogs are a different beasts. Pass certain part of Europe (Gr.Pyrr.)where they only guard the ones they bond with and leave the rest of the flock high and dry to fend for themselves,rest of the guard dogs are exteremely territorial which includes the legal residents of known territories. They are on guard 24/7 always on the look out for possible dangers lurking about,barking to warn off any trespassers within their sites and ready to die if threat becomes imminent.They never,ever harm what falls within their territory,sheep often ignores these regal beasts until they are faced with the threat and they bunch up behind the guard dog for protection. Of course there are some sheep gladly tries to maul the guard dogs for fun, they lay on their backs and take all the blows without holding it against them.
These regal beasts are our military,always there on full guard without holding any grudge yet ready to die to defend the sheep who mauled him moments ago and ran to hide behind him in the face of the threat.
People are lot like sheep though,they fight each other for food even if they are full,they'll kill their own lambs for a little grain,during mating both gender will fight for breeding rights,they always think the grass is greener beyond the 10,000 wolts of electric fence yet they try their luck every single day without learning much and are extremely greedy creatures.
Only difference I see,sheep provides the tastiest lamb chops.......

Posted by: Fly at April 18, 2006 10:27 AM

"Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land."

Kipling said it better:

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot.

Posted by: Carl O. Witz at April 18, 2006 04:35 PM

Dave Grossman is as always right on target. There is nothing to be read in all the posted comments that add to or detract from an excellent parody.
Semper Fi and Hoo Yah.

Posted by: Ken at April 18, 2006 05:56 PM

Wow, lot's of comments. Some good, some very perceptive, and some very thoughtless stuff, too. It is very hard for me to accept the thoughtless stuff because they are in denial. How can you respond to someone in denial?

Those who self-evaulated themselves as sheep are the friends and supporters of the sheepdogs. Those who critized are the dangerous ones who would gang up upon the sheepdogs purely for spite. They certainly do not grasp the seriousness of our national situation in regards to Iran and radical Islam. We must deal with it today or our grandchildren will be dealing with it through their death. This is not the time to ridicule the sheepdogs, but to muster support for them and understand the magnitude of what we face.

As usual, CY, a great post!

Posted by: Old Soldier at April 18, 2006 08:03 PM


Riddle me this batman - why is it that the left always descends into vulgarisms to attempt to make a point? Is it that you have no mastery over the English language (well...maybe not quite the point because so many of us don't speak Or is it that vulgarity is a way to shout? Or maybe it is the last gasp of a dying POV....

Posted by: Specter at April 19, 2006 08:22 AM