Avoiding The Soviet Slaughter

by Chris Bodenner

Crowley provides some historical perspective:

I know I've already made my point, but I remain fascinated by Soviet savagery in Afghanistan, and America's wholly different moral and strategic approach there. Today, there's an (understandable) outcry whenever a U.S. airstrike targeting Taliban fighters also kills a handful of civilians--as when an early August raid left four civilians dead near Kandahar, stirring local outrage and wide media coverage. Now, consider this 1984 NYT account of Soviet tactics in northern Afghanistan:

Several hundred civilians have reportedly been killed in Afghanistan in a sweep by Soviet troops backed by tanks and helicopter gunships through a valley north of the capital. [...] Soviet troops bayoneted large numbers of women and children, shot young Afghan males and burned a number of homes before withdrawing at dawn. Tanks, armored personnel carriers and helicopter gunships were then said to have bombarded the village. [...] Istalif was the scene of heavy bombings by Soviet forces last November and December when an estimated 500 people were killed.

Michael Cohen and Yglesias push back on the comparison.