Flat White

Turning our sheepdogs into poodles

27 August 2018

7:47 AM

27 August 2018

7:47 AM

Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident. Then there are the wolves, and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy. Then there are sheepdogs, and I’m a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.

On Combat, Lt Col Dave Grossman.

This powerful analogy is later used in the 2014 movie American Sniper, the adapted story of Chris Kyle the most lethal sniper in US military history.  The scene of Chris’ dad explaining to his young sons that there are three types of people in this world – sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs – sets a key foundation for the film. Chris Kyle was an exceptionally good sheepdog.

Unfortunately, the sheepdogs of society are under a growing existential threat. A threat that if carried through to its logical conclusion, will hollow out our nation’s fighting capacity and capabilities. This threat is not something that has just appeared, it has been slowly infiltrating the ADF over the last decade.  A deliberate act of social engineering, changing our sheepdogs into the more socially acceptable, but far less fit for purpose poodles. It is the gradual neutering and feminising of our fierce and hardened warriors.

Many people have a unique gift that stands out from their day to day abilities, whether athletic prowess, mental agility, or the craftsman’s eye for detail. For our true warriors, our sheepdogs, their gift is aggression. The special ability to carry out violence to protect the sheep.

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. 

Often attributed to George Orwell.


Even the mention of aggression being a gift for good will surely trigger many due to the strange disconnect from reality in which we now live, the toxic masculinity cultural moment that has captured western societies.

There is a general unease of the sheep towards the sheepdog because the sheepdog looks a lot like the wolf. They both use violence to bring about their goals, a reality that deeply disturbs many sheep. The wolf uses violence to mercilessly destroy the sheep, and the sheepdog employs violence to protect the sheep from the predator. Unconsciously the sheep really want the sheepdog to be more like them, kind and gentle.

In the classic On War, Carl von Clausewitz wrote:

Kind-hearted people might of course think there was some ingenious way to disarm or defeat an enemy without too much bloodshed and might imagine this is the true goal of the art of war. Pleasant as it sounds, it is a fallacy that must be exposed; war is such a dangerous business that the mistakes which come from kindness are the very worst.

We are at a time where we face growing regional political and military instability. Indonesia and Turkey are drifting toward a hardening Islamic militancy. China is increasing its military posturing by building military bases on man-made islands in the South China Sea and testing their long-range bombing capabilities. North Korea continues to resist denuclearisation. All of this is concerning. Australia needs to be actively building the contingent of courageous fighting men prepared for global conflicts, along with broadening other defence capabilities.

Yet our politicians and senior defence personnel seem to be fascinated with social engineering agendas that will cause significant harm to the future of our defence force. They are moving away from a system that seeks out the very best and toughest candidates to be future elite warriors, to one that has gender and cultural diversity targets as criteria. Unfortunately, marching in Mardi Gras, paying for gender reassignment surgeriespainting fingernails, and having the former head of the Army wearing high heels seem to be the accepted and celebrated norm in recent years.

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote regarding warriors:

Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.

Instead of weeding out the ten that shouldn’t even be there, along with the eighty targets, the ADF are increasing those numbers through misguided diversity programs. Instead of finding ways to increase the nine real fighters, they are trying to stop those with the gift of aggression even getting into the defence force. And what of the one, that warrior that brings the others back?

The Special Air Services Regiment and 2nd Commando Regiment are the pinnacle organisations for our elite warrior sheepdogs, yet for the past two years there has been a cloud hanging over these units due to an Inspector-General’s inquiry into allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan.  The drawn-out nature of this inquiry appears to be influenced by wanting to appease the International Criminal Court. The ICC is one of those overbearing international bodies that Australia foolishly signed up to, unlike the USA. No inquiry into our warriors should be influenced by outside actors like the ICC, it should only be conducted by those that intimately understand the operational context, the mental stresses involved, the battlefield dynamics, and the violence of war. Anyone else will view each piece of information and evidence through the eyes of a sheep.

With the election of Scott Morrison as Prime Minister, the hope is that he will make the needed strategic change by putting in place a strong Defence Minister that understands and upholds the unique role of our warriors. One that makes sure the nation’s warriors are not led by poodles or sheep, but by other sheepdogs. The hope…

We need healthy creative sheep, and we need warrior sheepdogs that put the absolute fear of hell into the wolves of this world. The one thing we don’t need is any more poodles.

Rod McGarvie is a former ADF combat engineer.

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