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Abdul Rashid Dostum

Abdul Rashid Dostum: Riding Along

Abdul Rashid Dostum 30%

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To the Editor:

In his review of Doug Stanton’s “Horse Soldiers” (May 17), Bruce Barcott calls Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum of the Northern Alliance “a courageous, relatively liberal leader.” Liberal? Here’s what a New York Times story had to say about Dostum about a year ago: “General Dostum is one of Afghanistan’s most notorious former warlords. . . . He remains an intimidating presence on the political scene and by many reports has continued to use violence against critics and rivals.”

There’s nothing “liberal” about Dostum, unless anyone who is not a religious fundamentalist, and in Afghanistan not firmly allied with the Taliban, is a liberal. By that definition, former Vice President Cheney is a liberal, as was Stalin.

Colleen Clark
Cambridge, Mass.

 

 

To the Editor:

Barcott’s review of “Horse Soldiers” unfortunately combines a favorable assessment of an outstanding story with all the P.C. caveats any self-respecting liberal needs to keep his anti-American credentials. How many other military books dealing with specific battles require a personal judgment of the war itself? One or two lines would have been sufficient.

DAVID B. GOLDENSON
Utica, N.Y.

 

 

To the Editor:

Barcott’s review brought back a vivid memory. I saw photographs in the press at the time of those soldiers galloping on horseback in the Afghan desert. They accompanied a sardonic account of these soldiers’ attempts to requisition saddles and bridles from the Pentagon. The disconcerting element then, and perhaps now, is that in the photographs, at least to my eye, these American soldiers were not only riding Afghan horses, they were also wearing Afghan clothes — flowing capes, wool caps, etc. — and were apparently out of uniform. If I’m not mistaken this would arguably make them “unlawful combatants.” Unfortunately, modern warfare seems to have little plac. for the rousing or the uplifting.

DANIEL E. MOERMAN
Dearborn, Mich.

 

 

Original source: The New York Times - June 3, 2009


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