Wednesday, February 10, 2010

RIP, Charlie Wilson

Charlie Wilson is dead

Charlie Wilson, he of the film Charlie Wilson's War, party animal and driving force behind the arming of the anti-Soviet mujahadeen during the Afghan-Soviet War, is dead.

I propose a moment of silence for the man who helped bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union by ensuring the mujhadeen had the tools they needed to give the Communists their own Vietnam instead of just dying fruitlessly as they did in the early days of the war.

(In the book Soldiers of God, written by an American journalist who traveled with the mujahadeen, he described how the Stinger antiaircraft missiles the US gave the guerrillas kept the Soviets from deploying their helicopters in certain areas and how in these places, refugees came back and resumed farming. The Stingers brought the return of life to war-desolated places.)

And unlike many Americans who lost interest in Afghanistan once the Soviets were gone, Wilson advocated the US help the Afghans put their country back together again. We didn't, the Muj started fighting each other, and the Taliban eventually filled the power vacuum, the Taliban who hosted al-Qaeda.

RIP, Charlie Wilson.

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