Showing posts from August, 2021

Sheepdogs, Contd.

  When David Grossman wrote his now-famous passage discussing sheep, sheepdogs and wolves in his book On Combat , he on several occasions paused to ensure the reader knew he meant no insult with his description of the sheep.  Throughout, however, the whole narrative drips with condescension towards the sheep (civilians that veterans and others often derisively refer to as “sheeple”), as he condescendingly shares his respect their decisions to be stupid, unaware and blind to real danger. Every bit of it is relatable.  Possibly the only redeeming quality to the arrogance is the reality that the sheepdogs, the protectors, will without a moment’s hesitation leap to protect the sheep with everything to include their own lives. Nevertheless, it surprises nobody that sheep congregate with sheep, sheepdogs with other sheepdogs, and both share a distaste for the other.  For the wolf there is little analysis. There is nothing better than carrying a gun.  Nothing better than being empowered by yo

The Friend With the Terminal Disease

It is unusual for me to write about something as it happens.  Typically, I reflect on it years later and I sound much smarter for having done so.  The current circumstance is different, however, and the disquiet I feel (and I suspect many others) is occurring real time. In 2010, as a civilian under the benevolent protection of the 173rd Airborne, I spent a few months wandering through some breathtakingly beautiful and equally dangerous areas of eastern Afghanistan. The area has been the subject of numerous news articles, YouTube videos and mentioned in more purple heart citations than I can count.  The country was lovely, but the people would kill you. When you have a gun, you scan for threats; when you have a camera, you look at people.  The children are the more interesting subjects by far, as they are less able to conceal true emotions than their elders. Moreover, they tend to reflect whatever their parents told them to think rather than some ideological position of their own.  They