Three events bring me here to this place today. The first happened in the late 1970s. I was in the ARAMCO city of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia, walking down a residential street and talking with an Arab acquaintance, when down the street strolled a very large German Shepherd, undoubtedly owned by some American living in one of the tract homes all around us.
I didn’t give it a second thought. But my Arab friend turned and ran. Without explanation. And he never spoke of it or explained why.
I told my father about the incident and he said “Didn’t you know? Arabs are terrified of big dogs.” Not little dogs or non threatening dogs like salukis (a favorite in the Middle East). Big dogs. Big smart confident dogs.
I didn’t know what my father thought was common knowledge. For the most part, I thought that perhaps my father was relaying a weird stereotype.
Then in the mid 1980’s I read about something the CIA did during the oil embargo of the 1970’s: they leaked the results of a game simulation where the Saudi Arabian oil fields were taken by a “hostile force” and, in response, the United Stated invaded Saudi Arabia with special strike forces that included trained attack dogs – German Shepherds in particular.
Upon learning about the “plan” the Saudi government issued an angry statement. But shortly thereafter OPEC decided to pump more oil, bringing the price of gasoline down.
Just now I found a very small story revealing that a specially trained attack dog accompanied the SEAL strike force that killed Osama bin Laden. And I also learned that this dog, and all specially trained SEAL attack dogs like him, have titanium fangs0that can rip through body armor. These titanium fangs cost $2,000 per tooth.
I don’t think any of this is a coincidence. I think the US is sending a message to people who are afraid of big dogs telling them that big dogs are being trained to kill them, and that we are prepared to fly in and drop them onto our enemies homes, that no wall is high enough to stop them from hunting and finding and killing.
Big dogs with titanium fangs.