Your editorial (May 1), "Dirty Attitude in a Dirty War," on the death of American leftist Benjamin Linder in Nicaragua, describes Linder as an "idealist" and samaritan, the victim of a "dirty war." What kind of idealist arms himself with a Soviet weapon to serve a totalitarian regime that has deprived its people of their freedoms, while declaring his own country "the enemy of mankind"?
Linder did not think of himself as a samaritan, but as a political partisan on a chosen battlefield. That's why he did not devote his services simply to the needs of ordinary Nicaraguans, but to the plans and purposes of the commandantes in power.
Like many misguided American radicals, Linder chose to fight for a discredited Marxist cause that has already brought untold suffering to millions of Third World peoples it had promised to liberate. His death is indeed a tragedy, but his life involved tragedy too: Linder's mission to Nicaragua was not to help the Nicaraguan people but to strengthen their Marxist oppressors.