Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs

Many apologies if this has been posted before but I have just been sent it by one of my Training Officers and thought you lot might enjoy. Echos of Jack Nicholson's "World that has walls" speech but a good read, despite the sentimentality!

MODs, please remove if re-post or move if wrong location

Jill Edwards, a junior maths major at the University of Washington, and a member of the UW student senate, opposed a memorial to U graduate "Pappy" Boyington. Boyington was a U.S. Marine aviator who earned the Medal of Honor in World War II. Edwards said that she didn't think it was appropriate to honor a person who killed other people. She also said that a member of the Marine Corps was NOT an example of the sort of person the University of Washington wanted to produce.

What follows is Gen. Dula's letter to the University of Washington student senate leader. Read and comprehend what is being said, and decide if you want to be a "sheep".


To: Edwards, Jill (student, U)


Miss Edwards, I read of your 'student activity' regarding the proposed memorial to Col Greg Boyington, USMC and a Medal of Honor winner. I suspect you will receive a bellyful of angry e-mails from conservative folks like me.

You may be too young to appreciate fully the sacrifices of generations of servicemen and servicewomen on whose shoulders you and your fellow students stand. I forgive you for the untutored ways of youth and your naiveté.

It may be that you are, simply, a sheep. There's no dishonor in being a sheep - - as long as you know and accept what you are. Please take a couple of minutes to read the following. And be grateful for the millions of American sheepdogs who permit you the freedom to express even bad ideas.

Brett Dula

Sheepdog, retired

------------ --------- --------- --------- --------- --------- -


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 had 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? You have 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, can not and will not ever harm the sheep.

Any sheep dog that 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 warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.

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.
Spooky...I have for a long time now, thought of the human race in EXACTLY those terms. But I've never even heard of William J Bennet before today.
I understand where he's coming from but the drippy americanisms still make me want to vomit!!


War Hero
Okay but did she understand (probably not) and what was the final outcome? Did the memorial go up.
Have never heard this one before. Most impressed! Will attempt to remember the salient points in order to point them out to those of my Grandchildrens' generation who hold these peculiar views about the motives of young men and women who are prepared to put their (too little) money where their collective mouth is!

Bless you all wherever you may be soldiering, sailing, or flying, or just supporting those who do on our behalf.



While I absolutely and vehemently disagree with the silly student, I also disagree with the reply.

To suggest that the armed forces are a nations sheepdog is nice emotive thinking, but in the end very misleading. The armed forces are there to enforce the political will of the government through the use of force! It is the governments role to protect the country and its citizens, or in our case Queen' subjects and the role of the armed forces is to serve its government. I do not say that in a bad way. In fact IMHO it is a very good thing to serve, which is why the U.S. Marine should get his memorial, because he was serving his government, and thereby his people. But let us never forget that he was only defending his country because he was told to do so. Just like the Czech army did not defend their country in the 30's, because they were told not to.

Therefore do not think of the armed forces as a sheepdog, who is often thought of as a benign and caring and selfless creature, but rather as an attack dog who will attack what its handler wants it to attack. Both the sheepdog and the attack dog will guard against the wolf but that does not make the attack dog a sheepdog.
This something of a storm in a teacup- which happened 10 months ago at a Student Union meeting. Here are the minutes:

I agree that it would seem that the dizzy mare at UDub needs to get a grip and wind her neck in in this particular case since there is nothing inherently ignoble about public service in any form. However, I think there needs to be a more nuanced appraisal of this rather dewey-eyed, sentimental and self congratulatory points of view expressed above.

At the organisational level these men presume that the armed forces are a passive force and that their actions are in no way responsible for the creation of "wolves" at times. It's all well and good to proclaim you are a sheepdog, but to other people you can appear just as big and scary as a wolf. I think Stooge's attack dog analogy is more accurate, the armed forces are an instrument of policy, nothing more. It is for someone else to decide what is wolf and what isn't, what constitutes a threat and what doesn't. Did Saddam Hussein pose a threat to the British or American flock?

It would be a mistake for anyone in uniform to accept such self-congratulatory ideas without question because it can lead to a dangerous complacency. If one were to accept these ideas too readily it can become too easy for one to assume the position that whatever one does is right and in a noble cause and therefore can be justified. We all know of occasions where force has been inappropriately applied, both in war and in peace, which have resulted in significant adverse political and humanitarian consequences which undermine the principles and, on rare occasions, the people which which we purport to defend.

Oh, in case anyone is wondering who William J Bennet is, he's a former US Secretary of Education, Drug Czar and is a self-appointed guardian of American Values and Morality. He has written a number of books, such as:

The Broken Hearth: Reversing the Moral Collapse of the American Family (2001), The Death of Outrage: Bill Clinton and the Assault on American Ideals (1998), Our Sacred Honor (1997, compilation of writings by the Founding Fathers), Body Count: Moral Poverty...and How to Win America's War Against Crime and Drugs (1996), Moral Compass: Stories for a Life's Journey (1995), The De-Valuing of America: The Fight for Our Culture and Our Children (1992)

Then, in 2003, it was discovered that he was a Vegas slot-jockey who had p1ssed away upwards of $2million. (Oddly enough, he's been rather quiet on the moral rectitude front of late.) He's a member of the Project for the New American Century and, like most of those involved with the think-tank that brought you the Iraq war, he has never put on a uniform in his life- having received a graduate school deferment from service in Vietnam. Accordingly, I would argue he has as much of a clue of what serving in the armed forces entails as the silly dilletante who started this fuss.
What a superb exchange of points of view on such a short little thread.

First, CarpeDiem introduces us to what at first blush looks to be a valid way to look at things but which upon just a little examination turns out to be a rather puerile manipulative little fairy story.
(They got a whole lot of sheep into sheep dogs uniforms to sit in trenches killing other sheep in sheepdog uniforms during World War 1 to cite just one example.)

But thanks all the same CarpeDiem, the discussion of what is a valid reason for taking up arms is an old one in need of constant review,
generation on generation.

But Crabby comes back with a blinder reminding us all just who this little weasel William J. Bennett actually is.
And My Oh My! The son of a b'itch only works for the wolves who masquerade as sheepdogs who in their time have suckered poor trusting sheep into pretending they are U.S. uniformed sheepdogs only to see them devoured in wars of the wolves making.
(The death of the All American hero Tillman should stand for all time as a salutary tale.)

Then to cap it all Crabby informs us that Bennett who comes from the same den as the bloke who wrote an essay entitled 'The End of History' for gods sake, has a chronic gambling habit!

Well done everybody. Nice read.
P.S. I think we might all have to be a little circumspect in criticising Miss Dewy Eyes, after all isn't that what we would all like at the end of the day, a world in which people don't generally want to kill each other?
I noticed with respect to him that Gen. Jackson even when pushed a lot on newsnight would not condemn or criticize the position held by the peace campaigner rescued by the S.A.S.
(There for once sat a wizened general too long in the tooth to be as enthusiastic about the efficacy of war as a young recruit.)

sorry to go on but: does anyone remember what they actually felt but probably hid from themselves when they did baynet practice for the first time?
Do you remember how the emerging sheep dog had to strive to overcome the inner sheep in you?
Do you remember how you felt a twinge of shame at the aversion you had at sticking the baynet in and noticing the sheep in you and how you worked hard to overcome it?
Who is it who decides that to be a peace loving sheep is a shameful thing?
Well if we are the sheepdogs, then I guess Tony B and his mob are the shepheards. Oh good God help us all.

Little Bow Blair has lost his flock, or given it away or allowed it to become full of goats, lamas, allpacas and bison.


War Hero
Oooooooh whaaaat a loveeerrrlllyyy wwwaaaarrrrrr!

What a fantastic thread we've got here.

There is a reason why we join the armed forces. We do not think when we go to the recruiting office that we wish to become a tool of foreign policy, or to answer the call of Bliar.

Sometimes, we join for comradeship, sometimes we join to escape the life we lead, sometimes we join for the glamour, the guns or the action. Occasionally, we join for service because of a strong need to protect the sheep. There is a tier of people that join because they see a leadership role, or glory or even duty.

What is never far away from the minds of those who join is the thought of guns, war and action.

It's a pity that Bennett made the speech, because he is obviously a waster. However, the analogy is a good one in terms of the nature of man.

There are indeed tree-huggers who close their eyes to the evil that others can do and see no need for the protection offered by those that would stand up and fight such evil.

Those that join the police, the army etc., voluntarily are not there to live peaceful lives. They see their innate capability for battle, albeit that it may be a subconscious process.

We have volunteer armies at this time, so the people that serve do so willingly.

The people that sign on the dotted line are indeed different from those that lead the lives of peace.

They are different again from the wolves who would cause hurt and death through selfish desire.

It was due to the evil that men do that we had conscription in two world wars. That conscription was brought about through the deeds of evil men, but brought together men and women of peace, of duty, of desire to protect and also it brought into its fold more evil men who did evil things.

It's a difficult thing to quantify because in all things, there is good and evil. A soldier who fights and dies on the battlefield, feels love for his family, evil men love their mothers and peaceniks feel love for theirs too. The officer who commands his men, not only feels such love for his family, but also his men.

There is honour in fighting the good fight. There is honour in living in peace.

One thing that throws all this together is the men and women that rule. These are the people that decide whether others will die for a cause, whether there will be sacrifices.

Hitler was a leader, as was Pol Pot and Stalin. Bliar is a leader, as is Bush. The body-count and the misery that is caused by war is a thing that must be laid on the doorstep of the place where the buck stops.

The peaceniks must not blame the soldier for death and war, the peacenik should in all concience feel love and warmth for the soldier who is sent to fight and die for a politicians cause. The soldier does not feel hatred towards the peacenik, only the politician who sends him on the fools errand.
Well I suppose it makes a difference from lions and donkeys...
Further to my earlier point, I'd like to throw in a quote from Abraham Lincoln:

“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right”

Somewhere between the dalliances of a 20yr old girl and the pontifications of a conservative talking head lies the truth. Anyone who wears a uniform should be forever mindful that, for whatever reason, they hold themselves, and are held by others, to a higher standard- even though they are sadly all too frequently called upon to do things which most people today are unable to conceive. The nature of their business demands the best that humanity can offer, but it also has the capacity to bring out the worst.
Self-congratulatory platitudes are no substitute for actual thinking, no matter how comforting they may be.

I've met Irish Protestants who claimed to have joined up for the opportunity to "kill Taigs" ; working lads because it got them trades they couldn't afford themselves; others because they couldn't get a job elsewhere - not very sheepdog-like, is it?

Personally, I had many motives for joining, but 'keeping the sheep safe' was never one of them. I was aware from the earliest moment that I was not a servant of the people, or of the nation, or of the government. I was a servant of the Crown, to be sent out in Her Majesty's name to defend her in person, crown and dignity by whatever method deemed necessary.

Let's not bother with dubious analogies and stick to describing ourselves by the only label that's needed - Soldiers. To my mind that says everything that needs saying. Anyone who doesn't understand, doesn't count.

Merry Christmas. May you come safe to bed, and all well.


War Hero
Well said you!

I joined because I wanted to do my bit for Queen & Country, and a little bit 'cos I like fighting and guns.

Not once did I give a shite about our glorious leaders (apart from her goo dlady self that is).
I voluntarily joined up.
So it was down to me a well behaved youngster to get over my aversion to sticking a bayonet in a straw stuffed sack during bayonet practice.
This I did to all outward appearances but never completely without a small sharp reservation that I kept very much to myself.
The first taste of beer repulses as well but you get used to it.

I mention this again because years later I heard an interview with the playwright Arnold Wesker.
In it he was talking about doing National Service in the R.A.F.
He was of course drafted so his position was different to a volunteer.

He mention how during a training session he and the others were made to run at targets yelling blue murder to then thrust the bayonet in with relish up to the hilt.

But he refused to do it. When asked why not he stood there in front of all the others and the fierce training Sergeant and said he didn't want to train to be that kind of person.

He was eventually threatened that he would be put on a charge and he held his ground and was sent to the glass house.

Everyone else did what they were told but Wesker made things difficult for himself and no doubt became a marked man by standing up, right or wrongly for the things he believed in.

Was he a sheep, a sheep dog or just his own man?

Once finished with National Service, Wesker went on to write a famous satire of life in the R.A.F. called 'Chips with Everything' which ran in the
West End for a few years.

So at least he got something out of it anyway.
Here is a little link some of you might find interesting:


Shite, I must be a closet psycho. When I first did bayonet practice all I didn't think at all. I was too annoyed to think of anything. We had 3 hours of being mucked about and brain washing;

"Whats a bayonet for?"


"Whats a bayonet for?"


and the always popular;

"On guard"


Jesus, I had tried to suppress the memories of the Guards Depot.

Back on thread, I prefer the quote along the lines of for a gentle man to sleep at night there needs to be rough men prepared to protect him.
CarpeDiem said:

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

..........Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be............

Surely this contradicts Grossmans thesis that killers (for good or ill) are born not made. I'll freely admit that all I know of this is from discussions on ARRSE and the Grub Smith documentary but he seemed pretty clear on this point.

The modern practice of firing on man shaped targets effectively conditions "sheep" to function as killers at the critical moment but they pay a psycological cost afterwards. Whereas the born killers (moral or amoral) don't. The point being killers are still killers and sheep are still sheep whether conditioned or not.
Which is such a tragedy for all the sheep forced to act like 'sheep dogs'.
Like feeding processed animal remains to vegatarians like cows, you end up with B.S.E.
Carpe's post truncates the essay for some reason. I assume before it reached him.

There is a fair bit more to be read here - LINK and he does expand on the point I picked up on above.

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