Monday, November 08, 2010

Reading room in the sky.

For reading on the flight home, I picked up a copy of Robert Kaplan's Soldiers of God: With Islamic Warriors in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I didn't stop to think about the fact that it would cause the prune-faced harpy across the aisle to stare uncomfortably at the cover of my reading material from climb-out to short final. (Or maybe it was the business card with the silhouette of a pistol that I was using for a book mark...)

Back during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Kaplan, an expat American Jewish reporter, went "inside" more than once, running around the hills with the muj, listening to their stories and getting dysentery. And some fascinating stories they were, too.

Excellent book to have handy the next time someone starts up with the old "America created the Taliban to fight the Soviets" nonsense. Not that they'll listen to what you say, but it fills the hand nicely and could be used for an impromptu beat-down.

11 comments:

Noah D said...

Thanks for the reminder, Tam. I've liked his other work, and I'll have to pick that one up.

Anonymous said...

"I didn't stop to think about the fact that it would cause the prune-faced harpy across the aisle to stare uncomfortably at the cover of my reading material from climb-out to short final."

Maybe it was the chants in Pashto?

Shootin' Buddy

staghounds said...

I always like to see American talkers about things go on about how the U. S. is responsible for everything in the world. Left or right, both sides of the same Narcissistic coin.

Sort of like the English thought of themselves a century ago.

bluesun said...

Last time I flew, I sat next to some little blond chick who was reading "My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands," which made me nervous as hell. If she had been reading something with guns and Mujahideen on the cover I might have felt like striking up a conversation...

Anonymous said...

With most of the sorts who say crap like 'America created the Taliban', the beating would not be so much impromptu, as something which I have thought about for a few years now--you know the feeling?

Mike James

Stretch said...

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not ignorance, it's just that they know so much that is not so." - R. Regan

Anonymous said...

"A Jewish-american guy went undercover with ..."

I've got give him his due, that requires a certain suicidal lack of self preservation.

Doug Watson said...

Another good book on the subject is Ghost Wars. I was really impressed how the author didn't let his politics slip through that often.

Tam said...

"I've got give him his due, that requires a certain suicidal lack of self preservation."

One of his guides just said "Jews and Christians are People of the Book". Another asked if Jews were anti-soviet; "Yes" was a good enough answer for him.

DirtCrashr said...

Soviets were People of the 2409 page 5-Year Plan.

Anonymous said...

"Not that they'll listen to what you say, but it fills the hand nicely and could be used for an impromptu beat-down."

That's why I like you, Tam. -- Lyle