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Repost from the forum

September 15, 2008

I read this letter and it was impacting enough on me that I felt the need to post it here for people that want to read it, to be able to do so.

Curt, wanted to get this out there, I think you will like this letter if you have not seen it before. Thanks, and everyone should read this. I think it is very interesting point of view no matter what “type” of American you are…

Sean in Illinois.

(This letter was written by Charles Grennel and his comrades who are veterans of the Global War on Terror. Grennel is an Army Reservist who spent two years in Iraq and was a principal in putting together the first Iraq elections, January of 2005. It was written to Jill Edwards, a student at the University of Washington who did not want to honor Medal of Honor winner USMC Colonel Greg Boyington. Ms. Edwards and other students (and faculty) do not think those who serve in the U.S. armed services are good role models.)

To: Edwards, Jill (student, UW)
Subject: Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs

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.

William J. Bennett, in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997 said: “Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident.”

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.

Then there are the wolves 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 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, warrior, someone who is walking the unchartered path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.

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 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?

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.” 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.

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 they learned of the other three passenger planes that had been used as weapons, Todd and the other passengers confronted 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 wolves comes knocking at the door.

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. It is okay to be a sheep, but do not kick the sheep dog. Indeed, the sheep dog may just run a little harder, strive to protect a little better and be fully prepared to pay an ultimate price in battle and spirit with the sheep moving from “baa” to “thanks”.

We do not call for gifts or freedoms beyond our lot. We just need a small pat on the head, a smile and a thank you to fill the emotional tank which is drained protecting the sheep. And when our number is called by “The Almighty”, and day retreats into night, a small prayer before the heavens just may be in order to say thanks for letting you continue to be a sheep.
And be grateful for the thousands – -millions – - of American sheepdogs who permit you the freedom to express even bad ideas.

Sincerely,
Charles Grennel
Robert Jones, MSgt(ret), USAF
NK Sturgis, Pres N.GA Nam Knights

Remember the price of freedom is paid with blood…pray for our troops

50 Comments leave one →
  1. bcrossman permalink
    September 15, 2008 4:19 pm

    Let’s try to make sure we’re acting as sheepdogs, not as wolves. Sometimes the sheep dogs do seem to yearn for the righteous battle, as the captain points out.

  2. dayhave permalink
    September 15, 2008 4:29 pm

    screw this guy.

    being against an unjust war IS supporting troops. being against an unjust war IS being patriotic. wanting to bring young people home from dying for no reason IS patriotic. following the party line is not patriotic, spewing rhetoric about blood and guts is not patriotic. This fellow does himself and his ilk a disservice by comparing themselves and the wars they fought to this abomination of logic and reason.

    impeach bush. impeach cheney. america needs change.

  3. pbam4625 permalink
    September 15, 2008 4:50 pm

    Curt,

    I first read that in an essay called Tribes at ejectejecteject.com

    The specific essay is here:

    http://www.ejectejecteject.com/archives/000129.html

    It is one of the most well thought out, logical, and coherent pieces I have read anywhere, especially on the internet. The guy who writes there (Bill Whittle) puts into words the things that I think and feel but have difficulty expressing in a coherent and eloquent way. You would enjoy his essays. Check them out in his book Silent America: Essays from a Democracy at War. They are also on that website but I’m sure he would appreciate you buying his book.

  4. hshawjr permalink
    September 15, 2008 7:22 pm

    Curt – Thank you for publishing this.

    Sometimes the difference between a sheep and wolf is only the perception of the sheepdog or the historian (If our founding fathers had lost – they would have been labeled as wolves and hung). So the oversimplification of this analogy needs to be viewed carefully.

    The judgment of the sheepdog oft times needs to be provided guidance as to what is considered a sheep and what is a wolf. That is why we have civilian oversight (handlers) for the sheepdogs that mis-identify or forget to leave the sheep alone.

    I don’t really like the author’s analogy, but it does explain the different roles in a manner most will understand. But it does fit the attitude that many “sheepdogs” have toward and about their “flock”

    Yes we live in dangerous times and most Americans have not been exposed to the violence that other countries citizens have endured. The images and attitudes towards the “sheepdogs” from the 60′s and 70′s is still very much in vogue in many social circles — until they are actually needed. So those attitudes towards a Medal of Honor recipient is not surprising, unfortunate yes, unexpected in many communities (higher education) — no.

    I guess that we need to keep showing the sheep how valuable the sheepdogs actually are, when real wolves are around.

    Harold Shaw
    CWO3, USCG, RET.

  5. mainermarsh permalink
    September 15, 2008 7:44 pm

    It was a well thought out and very truthful essay. All Americans should give thanks to those that sacrafice their time, and sadly all too often their lives, in order to protect our great nation.

    That doesn’t mean that anyone who questions this war is unpatriotic or doesn’t support the troops though. Far too often this argument is used to demonize people who disagree with the policies of the current administration. I do love my country and I do support the troops, including my dear cousin and her husband that have served in Iraq as part of the National Guard. I do not think that it was a wise decision to invade Iraq. The two positions are not contrary to one another.

  6. gfishbone permalink
    September 15, 2008 7:51 pm

    A thought-provoking analogy. Sergent Grennel isn’t going to win anybody over by calling them sheep, but perhaps this would be an effective feel-good story for the sheepdogs.

  7. awp0 permalink
    September 15, 2008 8:24 pm

    I believe Jill Edwards is part of a narrow minority of people who do not respect or support our soldiers. To this extent it’s important to remind everyone that, despite what some people would like you to believe, most of the growing opposition to this war still remains strongly in support of our troops.

    I’ve always stood against this war. And I strongly support our troops. It’s wrong to relate these two very different statements.

    Aaron

  8. fervent permalink
    September 15, 2008 8:58 pm

    I think it is the “shepherd” we have a problem with. He has sent his sheepdogs out to attack the wrong wolves, pissing off every other wolf around the flock.

  9. September 15, 2008 9:54 pm

    While it appears that Jill Edwards said some very dumb things, what does the majority of this essay have to do with any of that? It’s an ok analogy (albeit toned to be insulting to anyone who dares to be a “sheep” who doesn’t agree with a “sheepdog”), but I fail to see how the references to current world politics and 9/11 have anything to do with honoring a world war II veteran.

    Perhaps I could digest this essay better if it was written without the veiled insults to people who don’t agree with the essayist.

  10. papifan permalink
    September 16, 2008 12:42 am

    I don’t agree with the assessment that if you don’t agree with the war you are somehow being less patriotic or loyal to your country. I find the inference from some posters and the people of this letter somewhat insulting. George W. Bush totally abandoned all the principles of the Republican party and has taken the party down the wrong path. Can McCain fix it?? I think so. He has said he is going with a bipartisan government and I believe him. We have had too many yes or groupthink people however you want to term it over the last 8 years then anybody should have in a lifetime. I am a big fan of you Curt, but if your positions are a mirror of McCain’s it would seem that McCain would have the same policies as Bush. Please tell me that is not the case. You seem to be a Bush apologist. Here are some very good quotes from a GREAT REPUBLICAN president. I think they are words of wisdom for far left and far right zealots. And UNLIKE BUSH. He served in the armed forces and seems to have a better appreciation of the consequences of war. If you read the quotes it pretty much shows you how much George W. Bush really has strayed from Republican ideals.

    Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels – men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.
    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    I have one yardstick by which I test every major problem – and that yardstick is: Is it good for America?
    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    My favorite quote above and what really should always be the prevailing reason for any foreign policy decision.

    I despise people who go to the gutter on either the right or the left and hurl rocks at those in the center.
    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    Pessimism never won any battle.
    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.
    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    The people of the world genuinely want peace. Some day the leaders of the world are going to have to give in and give, it to them.
    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it.
    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    If you want total security, go to prison. There you’re fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking… is freedom.
    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.
    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.
    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    The above reasoning given by Eisenhower is why I am voting for McCain. I think he is a leader and even more important I think he has great integrity.

    How far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without?
    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    We will bankrupt ourselves in the vain search for absolute security.
    Dwight D. Eisenhower

    We are certainly finding out the above over the last year.

  11. lionking1 permalink
    September 16, 2008 2:16 am

    Curt, what’s your take on the coming crashing economy and the coming banking failures? These will rival the banking failures on the early 1930s. This is more important than anyting. You think either of these candidates have answers?

  12. September 16, 2008 9:38 am

    The festishization of authority is getting downright creepy around here.

    I’m a liberal.
    I love America.
    I distrust authority.
    I resent having to defend my Americanism to people like you because I’m not a Republican.
    I respect those who wear the uniform.
    I don’t idolize them.
    I wish they were all safely home with their families.
    I wish they weren’t in harm’s way for all the wrong reasons.

    But mostly, I wish you’d stick to baseball and videogames.

  13. September 16, 2008 9:55 am

    Hey Curt –

    I’ll say it like this, there are plenty of soldiers that will feel like they aren’t doing things worthwhile in Iraq (re: “Building soccer fields ain’t progress”) but it is progress. Understand these kids now playing soccer were many of the children forced to carry guns and serve for Saddam and his regime. The fact that these kids now have the freedom to play soccer is huge progress. And the US is equipping these kids with sports fields and recreational opportunities that Iraqi children have never had.

    Soldiers are accomplishing impressive things in Iraq for Iraqi citizens. No American against the war has ever set foot on Iraqi soil to spend any amount of time there I assure you. My ex-girlfriend serves in the Army and has served 6 tours in Iraq (and she volunteered for every one of them). She works with the only remaining MASH unit in the military and she gets so angered at the way this is all portrayed in the media when she comes home. Yes it is sad that 4000+ of our children, wives and husbands have been killed in Iraq, but think about how amazing that really is. Every life is precious; every life is a sacrifice and a loss, but only 4000+ American casualties in 7 years. That is a testament to our training and military. This also is a war that is unlike any other we have ever fought. There is no clear cut enemy to identify. Pregnant women are blowing themselves up, children fire at our troops, and hidden tricks and deceit unlike anything we have ever seen kill our children and loved ones. Yet the military has adapted the best it can. It has ridded the Iraqi people of a tyrannical leader. It has aided in creating a more democratic government then the Iraqis have ever seen. There is so much good being done…don’t make the soldiers lost be remembered for a “mistake” (which Iraq is NOT) but let them be remembered for pioneering “change”, isn’t that what all Americans seem to want to vote for. Soldiers have pioneered change in Iraq for seven years. Let them know they have done a great thing for a great people and support these kids and their superiors. I wish some Americans would get off their high horse and take their arrogance and more importantly ignorance and take a good look at all the good that has come from this.

    Never in my life as a soldier myself have I been more enraged at our own people disrespecting the position of the President of the United States. My grandfather would roll over in his grave to hear a media person or critic refer to our sitting president as an “ass” or a “moron”. One of the biggest flaws in this great country of ours is a now rampant lack of respect. You say our kids don’t respect parents and adults now. Well take a good hard look at the adults and how people in power and leaders of the world are discussed and referred to. It is truly a disgrace. It is fine with me that you don’t like the President, but respect him and his position. He is the leader of the greatest country in the world. A Democracy that gives you the right to feel and say what you want. But please find the respect that made this country great, we voted in our president with a majority and in 50 days we will vote in another. Like him or hate him, this country needs to remember to respect him (or her), without respect we are gliding to a more and more dangerous path not just with our president but with our people. We need to lead by example, and remember where we came from. Freedom always has a price, and thanks to those soldiers and officials that provide it.

    As to all the other things this country suffers from, we need to rise as a people to implement change and work towards fixing our own problems. Why do we always seem to need the government to fix our problems. I hope the next president does implement change for the US. But I also hope our increasingly LAZY society starts to find ways to be creative and do for themselves. I know it hurts people but we are the most spoiled society in the world! Do we all need cell phones, does every child need his or her own car, what happened to the days of 1 car families and 1 television households. We want these extras and they cost. They cost many of us more than we can afford. First thing we need to do in this country is “Simplify”. Then many of our problems will fix themselves.

    I know people voting in 50 days will make a difference and voice their concerns. But lets work with the government. Let’s work with our needy neighbor. Let’s help each other rise up out of this. Lend a hand instead of looking for a hand to feed you…..

    And on a side note….congrats to the tie for first place…….I bet we can all agree on that one! (Except for you stinking Yankees fans always on here!)

  14. stevebeckett permalink
    September 16, 2008 11:14 am

    What’s important to get from that essay is this: support the troops. Whether you support the war or not.

    When a medal of honor recipient is to be honored for his/her service to this country and its’ citizens, do not fight against that ceremony because you disagree with a war we are fighting. The point is this person laid his/her life on the line for you; show them the respect and gratitude they have earned by sacrificing the opportunity to live forever, to protect your right to voice your opinion.

  15. bob12mac permalink
    September 16, 2008 11:38 am

    Hey Shill-ing,
    What is worse than being a rag armed has-been? One that is boring. Please spare us from your views. NOW GO AWAY

  16. soxfaninil permalink
    September 16, 2008 12:13 pm

    Hey Curt, thank you for posting the letter, that was really cool. It amazes me that after posting it however, it seems obvious that people do not even read it and still post about it.

    To Timmymac: Try reading…It is not about being a liberal, it is not about being a republican, It is not about loving america or trusting authority. You do not have to idolize people in uniform and, unless you are insane, we all want our troops home. But you are totally missing the point, and that is what the letter is all about. There are many people all over the world that want to do harm to this country and its citizens. The sheep, just want to ignore that and think that if we just bring everyone home, we will be fine. WRONG! There is a GLOBAL WAR going on, and whether you agree on the situation in Iraq or not you need to face that fact. Agree or disagree about how things are being handled, we NEED our military and need to support them in all they do. Simply bringing them home does not solve anything. Sticking to baseball and video games is exactly what the sheep of this country are doing. So I congradulate Curt on not being a Sheep.

    If you do not like Curt’s Blog, do not post or read it. Pretty simple there bob12mac.

    I agree that we need to get down to business and take care of Bin Laden and other terrorists. But now that we are in Iraq we must take care of that as well. Getting out when it is not secure is not the answer. Anyone ever wonder why we are still in S. Korea? Or Bosnia? Stuff takes time, though I do not think we really need to be in those countries either. Iraq is standing up, things are changing for the better, believe it or not.

    Thank a vet, no matter if they served in Iraq, or in Texas…They put in the time as a sheepdog so the sheep could sleep at night.

    Anyway, well said stevebeckett. And go SOX! Hope Josh is on tonight…

  17. mattmcclime permalink
    September 16, 2008 12:16 pm

    timmymac,
    You don’t have to defend yourself to Curt Schilling, because I don’t think he ever questioned your love of country (or, quite frankly, even knows who you are).

    If you don’t like the topics he posts, why do you continue to come here? There are plenty of baseball and video game sites out there for you to read that might not insult you so much. But he is known as being both outspoken and a McCain supporter. What did you expect him to talk about?

    I love how people who tend to lean left preach open-mindedness then tell someone what they can or cannot talk about. The far right and the far left are the exact same thing: they will do whatever it takes to control people. If Curt were to post something completely opposite of how I believe, I would react one of two ways: I would just accept that his opinion doesn’t match mine or I would just stop coming to the site. I find it offensive that those who advocate free speech are constantly trying to shut up or change the opinions of those who don’t think like they do.

    My belief is that you, like most people to the far right or far left, are very insulated from the rest of society and that no one challenges anything about your opinions. I think it is all percieved. It’s like the guy who says they hate Fox News yet has never seen it. It’s all based on assumptions. If someone says something I don’t agree with, I just accept that they have a different outlook then I do. And I move on with my life.

    I don’t trust authority. That’s why I vote Libertarian. I think you just don’t trust Republicans, and that is okay to say.

  18. syphax permalink
    September 16, 2008 11:46 pm

    mattmcclime,

    I react a third way: When I read something I disagree with, and have some free time, I try to engage in discussion and debate. You complain in your next paragraph that idealogues on the far left and far right are too insulated from diverse opinions, and yet you seem to have a problem with timmymac expressing his opinions. You infer that he is “tell[ing] someone what they can or cannot talk about”, but that’s not what he says at all. He said that he wished that Curt would stick with baseball and video games.

    That’s the beauty of the freedom of speech: you are free to say something, and I’m free to point out why you are wrong. If we engage in an open dialog (an endangered practice, alas), one or both of us may learn something. Even if we just repeatedly shout our talking points at one another (much more common, alas), it’s still free speech.

    To answer a question you asked timmymac, but that could just as well ask me, I come here to rebut the flaws on Curt’s arguments on political matters (like the spam email that claimed Democrats have controlled Congress for eight years! That was hilarious!). Clearly Curt wants to share his opinions, by allowing comments, he’s kind enough to allow you and I to share ours. This whole “if you disagree you should keep silent or go away” logic is asinine. If you can’t handle rebuttals, why express yourself in the first place? Free speech is a two way street.

    To close: Who said the following?

    “I’m a reformer with results … If you want somebody from outside of the system … come and join this campaign.”

    Sarah Palin?

    Close, but no, it’s George W. Bush, Feb. 2000, after losing NH to Senator McCain.

    More enlightening parallels at: http://archive.salon.com/politics2000/feature/2000/02/10/bush/

    As Bush tried to say once: Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

  19. pmacd21 permalink
    September 17, 2008 11:21 am

    My message is for Mr. Grennel. But first, I should prefice this post by stating that I am a Canadian citizen. I only say this to let you all know how someone from outside the US views your politics and practices.
    Right away, let me say that I find it amusing that a decorated serviceman feels it necesarry to rebutt the views of a university student such as Miss Edwards. Right or wrong, let her and all students mold and shape their opinions of the world without fear of being namecalled (sheep) and belittled. When I went to university the one thing that I really enjoyed was the ability to think and speak freely in forums that promoted healthy argument. I was cocky and thought I knew everything (which I clearly did not), but through exceptional “dialogue” I learned a great many lessons.
    Secondly, as a Canadian I find it fascinating that anytime there is a negative viewpoint regarding the military or government someone is looked at as “unpatriotic”. Nothing could be further from the truth. I believe it to be unpatriotic to lap up all of the spew stuffed down your throats by US mass media and never question authority. Mr. Grennel spoke about the vast majority of people being sheep. I have news for him ,,,,, “Thats exactly what your government counts on”. If more people took the time and put their energy into questioning government, you would not be in Iraq in the first place.
    Mr. Grennel spoke about 9/11 and how the sheepdogs come out to protect the weak sheep from the wolves. Well, how has that worked out ?? I believe the BIG BAD WOLF responsible for 9/11 is still prowling. Armed with the money and weapons that the sheepdogs from the US gave him when they thought he was a wolf after different prey.
    From my standpoint (and thats all this is), Americans fighting wars in countries they have no business being in has caused great contempt the world over. We are very privelaged people here in North America. We have luxuries that the vast majority of the world can only dream of. Then, to go and kick sand (figuratively and literally) in the faces of weaker countries and disguise it as a “democracy” crusade or a serach for “weapons of mass destruction” (biggest joke ever – I still can’t believe there hasn’t been a larger outcry for the hoax Bush pulled) is more than many of these poorer countries can handle.
    I have travelled to Europe and Asia many times in the last few years and one thing I can tell you without hesitation is that the shine of America is quickly turning to rust. There is a strong sense out there that the attack of 9/11, while heinous and cowardly, was an eventual certanty. The US has made many enemies over the years (I’d be remice if I didn’t say many allies as well – Canada being one) and sooner or later there will be another attack.
    I grew up watching American TV and sports. I get much of my news from American sources. I took many a family vacation to Florida or other destinations in the US. I have nothing negative to say about the people of the US or the way I was and am treated each and every time I visit. But I will say this — I have met Americans in Europe who travel with a Canadian flag on their luggage to avoid confrontations. There should be no reason for this. America, especially now, needs to focus its efforts internally and fix their economy. Look after your own before trying to “fix” other countries that haven’t asked for your help.
    Just to wrap up, I want to reiterate that I love our neighbours to the south. And by no stretch of the imagination do I think that us Canadians are better or really all that different. I just think that we are not as steadfast in our politics (ie. republican or democrat for life), and we question our elected leaders in a way that would seem unpatriotic in America. Right or wrong we try very hard not to be sheep, wolves or sheepdogs ,,,,,,, just people — equals.

    PS — Go Sox

  20. xiaopongtze permalink
    September 17, 2008 12:08 pm

    That letter is the most maddening thing I have seen in a long time. It reeks of an incredible arrogant condescension and disrespect for the public. I respect those who serve and I want them home. Our leadership is corrupt and incompetent and they don’t deserve to be served by these young men and women. However, professional soldiers are not some uber-heroic people because they choose to serve. Are they better or more important than firemen, paramedics, doctors or how about engineers that make sure we have safe buildings and bridges? How about teachers and daycare workers? This whole sheep analogy is bullshit and very weak. Someone with this point of view does not deserve our respect and should not be allowed to server in our armed forces. Many people contribute to our society and if we are ever truly threatened many people can defend us… they are NOT sheep. Were those civilians on the airplane that crashed in Shanksville, PA sheep? I think not. True heroes facing certain death, making sure that other innocents did not die.

    I am what this idiot may call a sheep. I have no desire to hurt my fellow man and i want to live in a peaceful society but if anyone including these so called “sheepdogs” tries to hurt me or my friends or family I am more than capable of stopping them and I think the sheepdog would be surprised how many wolves in sheeps clothing are out there if you cross the line.

    Maybe if great Military thinkers like this were not so arrogant we wouldn’t have needlessly fought and failed in so many large wars since WW2.

  21. shoman5 permalink
    September 17, 2008 12:09 pm

    To the last few posts and the argument over free speech. I agree that opposing views of Curt’s or any other postee on any site really, has the right to state their opposition and why. I will go even further and say it is healthy to have these discussions in as far as it cand educate each on the other sides point of view. As with all arguments there are always valid points on both sides.
    The real point I would like to make is that yes all have the right to say what they want but it can be foolish and potentially hurtful to abuse it by calling names or being condescinding. The shere amount of these type of remarks alarms me as to the direction of this free society. I hope and pray that those that engage in this type of behavior will realize that they only weaken their argument by using such tactics as opposed to stating real and valid points that may strengthen it.
    I would like to suggest to those who tend to abuse their free speech that it might benefit you before you respond to a view or thought that you disagree with, to take a moment, cool off… then engage in a process of maturely conveying an intelligble response or opposition to the one in which you disagree. Your view and the opposing view will be better off for it.

  22. xiaopongtze permalink
    September 17, 2008 12:18 pm

    PS – All of you get a clue why people all over the world hate America and our policies. We are one of the most untrustworthy and manipulative nations in the history of the world. If you don’t believe me, ask a Native American about it.

    Read “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” or just go to Youtube and search on John Perkins and you will find out how the world really works and how the Army is in many cases (not all but grenada, panama, iraq for sure) just the last resort of Corporate Fascist Hegemony trying to extract profit from every corner of the globe.

    The rest of the world and especially the third world has known about this side of the USA policy for a long time but Americans are stupid and happy and so pure and good. If we keep looking the other way and drinking our mocha-lattes while we let our govt. and our corporations work hand in hand raping the world we will continue to be hated.

    If you still don’t believe me look at what is going on with Wall Street as their govt. puppets in Congress and Treasury and White House had them taxpayer money in huge bailouts. I don’t remember them sharing their obscene profits with me or the govt. over the last 20 years.

  23. xiaopongtze permalink
    September 17, 2008 12:30 pm

    PPS- Greg “Papi” Boyington was a great american, a great pilot and a hero. He was also the original “Papi” so how can you not love him. Jill was very, very wrong to object to this. We should honor those who serve our country both in the military and in civilian life. Those who give the most to all of us deserve our respect. Those who only take and build fortunes deserve nothing from us.

  24. jonnyjbones permalink
    September 17, 2008 5:06 pm

    Wow! My mind has been enlightened by Curt and this letter he posted! I am such a sheep. What was I thinking researching my opinions on this war for the last 5 years? I should just be bowing down and thanking all our sheepdogs who have been protecting me from dangerous Iraq all this time! I have seen the light! You guys are so much smarter than me.

  25. jonnyjbones permalink
    September 18, 2008 10:08 am

    Schilling acknowledged that it was awkward for him to speak out on Ramirez, given the fact that he has missed the entire season with an injury. “I’m the last person in the world who should be telling you who’s right and who’s wrong in this,” he said.

    BUT THAT NEVER STOPPED YOU BEFORE EH CURT?

  26. mattmcclime permalink
    September 18, 2008 11:49 am

    syphax,
    To be honest, I don’t care. Say or do what you want. I really could care less what anyone has to say here that isn’t named Curt Schilling. It was my mistake to read or to post to the comments. I am tired of all of the back and forth between the right and left, and I just shouldn’t have engaged in it at all.
    Have a nice day, from one human to another.

  27. irishsoxfan permalink
    September 18, 2008 1:20 pm

    That essay had nothing to do with weather or not you believe this war is legal, it’s only point is DON’T KICK THE SHEEP DOG!!!!

    You got a problem with the shepard sending his dogs after the wrong wolves? (Even though that sounds like a contradiction, wrong wolf? A wolf is a wolf. Maybe you should have said; those we mistook for wolves?) Fine that is your absolute right as an American and time may prove you correct. If you have given your, love, support and prayers to the Sheepdogs but wish and want them home safe, that’s fine. Trust me, they wish and hope for that too.

    They would much rather be home this October watching the MLB playoffs, College footbal on Saturday and the NFL on Sunday. Sports, a cold beer and steaks on the grill! Simple pleasures to most, but absolute Nirvana for the Sailor in the Persian Gulf or the Soldier in Baghdad.

    Just remember if you are angry at the Shepard, save your venom for him and leave the Sheep dog alone, ok?

    Thank you,
    Brendan J. Smith
    Sheepdog (U.S. NAVY, Enlisted Sept 2, 1996 – Honorably(medical) Discharged Sept, 23 2003)

  28. jonnyjbones permalink
    September 18, 2008 2:21 pm

    Anybody who refers to people who aren’t in the military “sheep” deserves some venom.

  29. jonnyjbones permalink
    September 18, 2008 2:41 pm

    And Brendan, this post was a poorly designed response in Shilling’s previous post thread in which his argument was that criticizing the war in Iraq was disrespectful to the military.

    Only the true nutjobs can make the claim that everybody should just shutup and support the war because the soldiers deserve our silent obedience to our government.

  30. cowsuitreckoner permalink
    September 18, 2008 2:43 pm

    Striking in its arrogance is the idea that anyone who loves peace and deplores violence is a sheep. The “sheepdogs” as they call themselves say they are not moraly superior because of thier capacity for violence, but believe we should all worship them in a cult of militerism. This ethic is why many law enforcement agencies now consider themselves “paramilitary” organizations under the sway of authoritarionism, instead of what they are: armed civilians charged by the people to protect and serve them. And why some citizens refuse to convict any cop for any wrong-doing ever because its a “tough job”. Sheepdog worship is why German society degraded moraly to the point it did under the Nazis.

    I have served as a “sheepdog” and love this country deeply, but will not stand by while the “sheepdogs” bully everyone else under the direction of wolves. I know and love Curt personally, which is why I know he loves America and its military for all the right reasons. That being said, I disagree with both the letter and its recipients attitudes. We rightly honor those wo have paid the ultimate cost in our service, while working to make our society less militerized and more peaceful.

    Love of country, does not mean blinding oneself to reality under the guise of ‘supporting President Bush and our brave troops”. Sheepdog worship discourages us from viewing war and its costs for what they are in total.

    “There is no flag large enough to cover the killing of innocents” – Howard Zinn (An American World War II Bomradier over Europe)

    The conservative view of American feedom is that America is a bunch of rugged individuals running around free to do what we like in the pursuit of profit errrr…happiness. But this ideology begs the following question: Why do we bother to form and fight to defend societies at all?

    Ultimately we must find a way to come together again as a people. Since about 1968, America has been ripping itself apart in an insane, bipolar, culture war. An eagle cant fly with only a right or left wing, we need both to reach for something higher. Something above nationalism, talking points and politicol mythology. Sadly I dont think either party represents this goal.

    “Are you such a dreamer, to put the world to rights. I ‘ll stay home forever where two and two always makes five.” – Radiohead

  31. deskcon permalink
    September 18, 2008 3:51 pm

    “Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire”

    Um, NO. Statistics, probability and logic obviously mean nothing to this person. I had to stop reading right there as it was obviously this person was so entrenched in their own views that logic defied them.

    When people starting lumping people into catergories based on numerous varibles it should be considered ignorant folly. When people lump people into catergories based on one varible it is just plain old close minded stupidity.

    I think it is important people voice their views, I don’t fault this blog for posting it. While the letter was well written and eloquent in parts it was likely as ignorant, condesending, and arrogant as the material it was responding to. A poor association for this blog in my opinion.

  32. monstahseats permalink
    September 18, 2008 5:09 pm

    I’m always saddened and amazed by those who believe their freedoms come at no cost. Soldiers aren’t good role models? I can’t fathom a populace that believes the rights they so enjoy exercising exist merely because we wish it to be so.

    Personally I can think of no one to respect more than those who would willingly put themselves in harms way for the benefit of others.

    Not supporting the war is one thing, it’s the lack of respect for those who fight it that appalls me. In showing such disregard for their sacrifices and love of country and fellow man you turn your back on every single member of our military who ever served, combat or not, to ensure the freedoms you exercise when you denigrate them.

    To xiaopongtze, yes, daycare workers, teachers and doctors should be respected. I have many of each among my family and friends. Please don’t attempt to compare their level of sacrifice to those of firemen, law enforcement or military. Teaching is a noble profession but teachers don’t volunteer for their jobs with the knowledge that their lives are on the line.

    I guess I’m biased when it comes to this. I come from a military family. There hasn’t been a war, major or minor, in this country’s history that didn’t include members of my family fighting in it. I know firsthand the sacrifices made by the soldiers and their families. I know firsthand the terrible toll it takes on those who fight, even after the war is over. I also know that wishing for a world without conflict is unrealistic. The world will never be what we wish it to be merely by wishing.

    What I believe Charles Grennel was trying to make clear is there are evil people in this world. No amount of wishing will change that. To hate those who would willingly run to the sound of guns in order to shelter the good from evil is inhuman and incomprehensible to me. Not good role models indeed.

    Chad

    In loving memory of Sgt. Gary Michael Henry, KIA, Baghdad, August 4, 2008.

  33. cowsuitreckoner permalink
    September 18, 2008 6:59 pm

    The world needs soildiers because men can be wolves. There is no denying that. But the world also needs Martin Luther King Jr’s and Mahatma Ghandi’s lest we perpetually be at war.

    It is right to vernerate the heroic self-sacrifice of those who serve in the armed services, but we also must teach our children to venerate champions of peace. Soldiers are not solely resposible for our freedom. It is also men and women wiling to conceed and compromise in order to make our democracy work.

    We must teach respect for the military but hatred of war.

    At the end of the day, validity of ones argument has nothing to do with truth or falsity. The arguments in the gentlemans letter are valid but not totally true. These moral conflicts should rage within each of us. I have served as an instrument of violence, and now I choose to serve as an instrument of peace and non-violence. Does this mean I “hate those who would run to the sond of guns?” Certainly not. I can’t watch footage of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed without getting choked-up with pride and sadness.

    Those on the left need to find better ways to fight for peace without allowing those on the right to paint them with an anti-military brush. It’s ok to hate war. Those of us who have seen it up close should hate it the most for what it does to everyone concerned.

    It’s ok to hate war. And as long as I live; I will.

    I will lay me down.
    In a bunker underground.
    I won’t let this happen to my children.
    Meet the real world coming out your shell.
    With white elephants. Sitting ducks.
    I will rise up.

    Little babies eyes, eyes, eyes, eyes.
    Little babies eyes, eyes, eyes, eyes.
    Little babies eyes, eyes, eyes, eyes.
    Little babies eyes, eyes, eyes, eyes.

    I will – Radiohead

  34. jonnyjbones permalink
    September 18, 2008 7:00 pm

    cowsuitreckoner understands it perfectly.

  35. monstahseats permalink
    September 18, 2008 9:03 pm

    cowsuit

    I hate war myself. Too many generations of my family have laid sacrifice to war for me to ever want anything but peace. Unfortunately war or the threat of it is all too often necessary to ensure the peace.

    Compromisers may take what credit they wish, but it’s the threat of force that ensures the compromise holds. Even at that, the evil people of this world are rarely ever satisfied with compromise.

    Do these words seem familiar?

    “The real triumph is that it has shown that representatives of four great Powers can find it possible to agree on a way of carrying out a difficult and delicate operation by discussion instead of by force of arms, and thereby they have averted a catastrophe which would have ended civilisation as we have known it….”

    Despite compromise that peace lasted a year. Evil men and compromise are not compatible. The sad and terrible truth is that evil men know only one method, the sword.

    As I stated, I hate war, I wish for peace. In that sense I’m an idealist. But it’s a pragmatic world and I’m resigned to the fact that wishing it doesn’t make it so.

    Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum!

  36. cowsuitreckoner permalink
    September 18, 2008 11:04 pm

    “Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum!” has some truth to it, but there seems to me to be a bit of a gap between a doctrine of aggressive preparatory defense and one of anticipatory self defense (Bush Doctrine). I’m just sayin…

    BTW Sorry for the link Curt, upon further reflection it was over the top. It just moved me and the letter stirred me up a little that’s all.

    I can live with the war in Afghanistan, and unless someone wants to use Bin Laden as fear leverage, I can’t fathom why he is not dead or captured. I have a passing familiarity with US special forces, and they are the best in the world. Iraq not so much. I hope it’s over soon, because I also can’t fathom what sort of deal can be had now that couldn’t have been had 3 years or so ago. All I can say is I hope we take care of these folks with comprehensive benefits.

  37. kevmyster permalink
    September 19, 2008 5:34 pm

    I’m a sheep, yet you’re a religious zealot… something doesn’t add up.

  38. sacto128 permalink
    September 21, 2008 6:35 am

    What makes me sad is that too many people in the USA have this attitude that reminds me just too much of Neville Chamberlain–they want to “appease” their enemies to the detriment of themselves in the long run.

    Today, Iran–which is perhaps the biggest sponsor of terrorism around the world right now–is developing the technology to build a -nuclear weapon-. Do you really want to have a nuclear-armed Iran that is more than willing to use them on their neighbors, especially given their leadership? And most frightening of all, Iran would be more than happy to put a nuclear device in a container, ship it via a proxy to downtown anywhere in the USA, and detonate the bomb, killing perhaps hundreds of thousands of citizens initially and making Ground Zero essentially uninhabitable for centuries (people forget that the atomic bombs detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki were detonated just under a mile above the ground, so relatively small amounts of fallout were generated; a bomb detonated at ground level will kick up a huge amount of fallout, lethal to anyone well away from the point of detonation downwind).

    America should -never- forget the lessons of Pearl Harbor and 9/11/2001.

  39. djclark63 permalink
    September 22, 2008 2:59 pm

    Reply to deskcon –

    It IS actually true that our kids are much more likely to be killed by school violence than fire (I assumed that the fire being discussed was on at school, rather than all fires, since the violence was “school” violence)

    Before you rebut someone, you should at least check out your facts. I did a quick web search and here is what I found:

    According to the National School Safety and Securtiy Services website, there have been 263 school associated violent deaths over the past ten years.

    According to the following government data from the source below:

    U.S. Department of Homeland Security • U.S. Fire AdministrationNational Fire Data Center • Emmitsburg, Maryland 21727

    the death rate for school structure fires is 0.0 per 1000 fires. The annual average for 2003-2005 was 6300 school structure fires. If rounding is accounted for the highest that 0.0 could be is just less than 0.05. Assuming 0.05 worst case, then the total number of deaths annually from school structure fires would be 0.05 * 6300 / 1000 = 0.3 deaths per year (which leads me to conclude that there was in fact a maximum of one death for the three year period where the data were gathered.

    The ratio may not be thousands as stated in the letter, but it is at least 263:3, and it is true that school violence is the cause of death orders of magnitude more often than school fires.

    It would be great if all the posters to these blogs actually checked the facts rather than assuming and acting as though they know the answer.

  40. deskcon permalink
    September 24, 2008 3:08 pm

    Reply to – djclark63

    Heres the quote again:

    “Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire”

    The quote did not read: “Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than ***school*** fire”

    As you noted even if you want to say it was “school fires”, it was a gross exaggeration used to garner fear.

    It would be great if all posters to these blogs could read the words that are written. Instead they would prefer to contort the words to fit their own views.

    Either way its doesn’t matter, it is still untruthful and not worth reading.

  41. brianna102 permalink
    September 26, 2008 1:06 am

    Thanks Curt , for sharing this letter with us . I am first time visiting to this foram and reading this letter . Its define the different perception.

    ——————

    brianna

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  42. jonnyjbones permalink
    September 28, 2008 11:40 am

    “Today, Iran–which is perhaps the biggest sponsor of terrorism around the world right now–is developing the technology to build a -nuclear weapon-.”

    It depends on how you define terrorism. They certainly support the Shiite government of Iraq.

    There is absolutely NO PROOF they are building a nuclear weapon. They let inspectors in unannounced all the time and give them full access. That is hardly the way to build a bomb. Iran has NOT attacked another country in over 100 years!!! Can America or Isreal say the same?

  43. whoofmyspace permalink
    October 2, 2008 9:45 am

    Curt,

    Will YOUR kids be going to the military?

    Why doesn’t Bush send his daughters into the military?

    Do you suppose they send recruiters to Beverly Hills High School?

    Elitists want it ALL, don’t they? You don’t want to pay the same percentage in taxes that I do, but you want to prey on my neighbors children and promise them a GI bill they don’t know if they’re ever going to live to see.

    I consider myself a sheepdog. And I know who the wolves really are.

  44. warbler44 permalink
    October 4, 2008 12:21 am

    THE PRICE OF FREEDOM IS PAID FOR WITH THE BLOOD OF THE POOR. NOT THE SCHILLING KIDS.

  45. warbler44 permalink
    October 4, 2008 12:36 am

    BLINDLY FOLLOWING THE PRESIDENT TO WAR IS THE ACT OF A SHEEP. IT’S WEAK NOT TO DEMAND ANSWERS TO WHY PEOPLE ARE BEING SENT TO DIE. THE SHEEP WERE ON THE RIGHT CURT, LIKE CHICKEN HAWK BUSH AND CHICKENHAWK CHENEY AND CHICKENHAWK WOLFOWITZ AND CHICKENHAWK FIETH AND CHICKENHAWK CRYSTAL AND CHICKENHAWK BOLTON……SEND YOUR KIDS TO WAR IF YOU THINK ITS SO IMPORTANT CURT, GET A SHEEPDOG IN THE FIGHT AND STOP BEING A SHEEP.

  46. greger287 permalink
    October 4, 2008 3:10 am

    I’m new to this whole thing, but as I do read this site occasionally and this seems to be a conversation I’ve been having with many people lately, I figured I would take a stab at commenting (though honestly, I’m more interested to see if I can offend every previous commentator in one fell swoop; wish me luck).

    I honestly feel that the biggest problem facing this country is one inherent within this very debate. That is simply a lack of true, unbiased translation of the motivations in the ways we speak to each other. That seems a bit wordy so let me see if I can explain it a bit more (because I do so like the sound of my own text).
    I think the biggest problem (or at least the source of said problems) which people are having with the original letter (and let’s right now raise our hands, those who actually read through it completely before posting……alright, so I got through most of it….whatever….) is not questions it raises about our soldiers abroad, or the motivations of their commanders in sending them, but rather that the letter used the word “Sheep”.
    Ouch. Nobody likes thinking of themselves as a farm animal (ok, mostly nobody, but one should probably keep that to themselves if otherwise). The use of the word comes across as entirely antagonistic, which in the context of the letter it really isn’t.
    However, this serves as a rallying cry for all those who find themselves opposed to the ideals they come to identify within the speaker. Understandable. I mean, who wouldn’t get angry and want to flock togeth….. um…. voice similarly worded responses in rapid succession in an attempt to bury opposed views?
    Ok, so maybe that’s a harsh assessment and not really anyone’s goal, but it is what’s happening here (with exceptions, as in all debates).
    But back to that blinding word that caused so much trouble. I mean, he called us sheep right?! What the crap!
    And then he called us “…kind, decent people who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme provocation.” That slippery shit! He must be lashed!
    Later on he states that “If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep.”
    You know, he’s really starting to sound pretty complimentary towards the sheep here.
    Now granted he does also state that “We know that the sheep live in denial…” so the argument laid out isn’t the most fair, I do admit, but he chose that hill to voice his opinion on and it’s his to defend, for better or worse.
    I think that at the heart of the letter, what being asked for most is not acknowledgment for what they’re doing, but rather why they choose to do so. In reality is “…small pat on the head, a smile and a thank you to fill the emotional tank…” such a heavy sacrifice to make? These are things which I hold to be only the most common courtesy to any human being.

    I guess to sum it up (and if anyone is still reading I’m sure they wish I would) I would say that it’s a matter of remembering that the grunts don’t start the wars, they only fight them. Disagreeing with governments, and parties, and individuals is important within a true, thinking society (and I suspect anyone who truly thinks about that one can at least loosely agree), but it also important to fight as hard as possible against flocking, both in practice and accusations.
    We’ll of course never truly know why anyone would choose an occupation that involves stepping in front of high caliber weapons on a daily basis, but I, for one, believe him when he says he loves his country and is doing it for me. Regardless of what those responsible for him being there say or do, I believe him.
    Was is not Joseph Biden that only days ago said he had learned to question people’s judgment, and not their motivation? A closer look at what one is actually saying, can truly change the shape of any conversation.

    Just for the record, I consider myself to be not a sheep, sheepdog, or wolf. I am, in fact, a cactus, and I’m appalled by the failure to off cacti as a viable American form of life.
    I mean this is the 21st century for Chrissakes! Is this prejudiced really needed?!

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