View Full Version : Charlie Wilson, US champion of Afghans against Soviets, dies

10 Feb 10,, 21:47
Melvin Baker - AHN Reporter
Lufkin, TX, United States (AHN) - Charles Wilson, a former U.S. congressman who secretly campaigned for support of the mujahedeen during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, has died.

Wilson, 76, died of a heart attack at a local hospital, according to KTRE television.

Known as "Goodtime Charlie" because of his partying ways, he nonetheless pushed Congress to sponsor covert action against the Soviets in Afghanistan. His involvement was later chronicled in the film "Charlie Wilson's War" in which he was portrayed by Tom Hanks.

He retired from Congress in 1997.

He is survived by his wife Barbara. Link (http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7017781715)
His involvement in the anti-Soviet efforts in Afghanistan have been disputed, especially in light of the Tom Hanks movie, but I can most certainly show respect and shed a few tears for this horribly flawed man far sooner than I can for a piece of shit like John Murtha.

10 Feb 10,, 23:29
+1 at least he knew who the enemy was.

10 Feb 10,, 23:42
Rest in peace.... :(

Former Texas congressman Charlie Wilson dies aged 76

The architect of US support for anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan and subject of Charlie Wilson's War has died

Charlie Wilson in Afghanistan

Charlie Wilson on a white horse while in Afghanistan. Photograph: AP

Former Texas congressman Charlie Wilson, the architect of the US support for anti-Soviet forces in Afghanistan and subject of the Hollywood movie Charlie Wilson's War, died today. He was 76.

In the 1980s Wilson, a Democrat, used his position on a military appropriations subcommittee to secure covert US backing for the mujahideen forces instrumental in driving the Soviets out of Afghanistan. Pakistani president Zia ul-Haq, who had allowed the CIA to ship arms through his country, credited Wilson with the defeat.

During his more than two decades in Washington, Wilson was known as 'Good Time Charlie', the scotch-sodden womaniser portrayed by Tom Hanks in the 2007 movie.

Charlie Wilson's War was based on a 2003 book by former 60 Minutes producer George Crile. According to Crile, Wilson once brought a belly dancer from Texas to Cairo to perform for the Egyptian defence minister, who was supplying ammunition to the Afghans.

The CIA officers Wilson worked with joked that his reputation as a party animal gave him the perfect cover for his work in arming the insurgents, using conservative Muslim countries in supporting roles. The operation eventually grew to about $750m a year – at the time the largest covert operation in the spy agency's history.

To the public, Wilson appeared a political backbencher, rarely speaking on the floor of the House and staying out of the major policy battles of the day. But behind closed conference room doors on Capitol Hill, Wilson worked in secret to secure his colleagues' support for the mujahideen by supporting military contracts in their constituencies, according to Crile.

While Wilson's efforts helped win one of the deadliest proxy battles of the Cold War, the victory left a power vacuum later filled by the Taliban, many of whom were heavily armed with weapons procured by Wilson and provided by the CIA.

A graduate of the US Naval Academy, Wilson served as a lieutenant before entering the timber business. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1973 and retired in 1996.

Wilson died at Memorial Medical Center-Lufkin after he started having difficulty breathing while attending a meeting in the eastern Texas town where he lived, said Yana Ogletree, a hospital spokeswoman. Wilson was pronounced dead on arrival, and the preliminary cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest, she said.

In 2007, Wilson had a heart transplant at a Houston hospital. Doctors had told Wilson, who suffered from cardiomyopathy, a disease that causes an enlarged and weakened heart, that he would likely die without a transplant.

12 Feb 10,, 06:08
by Dan De Luce Dan De Luce Thu Feb 11, 12:27 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) The former US lawmaker and hero of the film "Charlie Wilson's War," who championed covert CIA support for Afghans fighting Soviet troops in the 1980s, died at age 76, hospital officials said.

Fulsome tributes poured in for Charlie Wilson, who despite a playboy image became an influential player in the Cold War, funneling billions of dollars in weapons to the Afghan mujahideen through a secret CIA program.

His exploits became the subject of the 2007 movie adaptation of a book chronicling his efforts, starring Tom Hanks as Wilson and Julia Roberts as the Houston socialite Joanne Herring who inspired him to aid the Afghans.

"Charlie Wilson led a life that was oversized even by Hollywood's standards," said a statement from Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Wilson, dubbed by Texas newspapers as "Goodtime Charlie" because of his hard-partying, scandal-prone ways, succumbed to a heart attack at 12:16 pm (1816 GMT) Wednesday, said Memorial Health System of East Texas spokeswoman Yana Ogletree.

As the head of the House of Representatives Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Wilson quietly oversaw vast funding increases for the CIA's campaign against Soviet forces in Afghanistan, with Pakistan playing a prominent role.

But arming the Afghan fighters -- seen as a triumph in Washington after the Soviets withdrew -- turned out to have unintended consequences that have since haunted the United States.

Some of the Afghan warlords that Wilson championed and who received millions from the CIA are now viewed as dangerous Islamist extremists with ties to Al-Qaeda, including Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Jalaluddin Haqqani.

"As the world now knows, his efforts and exploits helped repel an invader, liberate a people, and bring the Cold War to a close," said Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who worked with Wilson during his years at the CIA.

"After the Soviets left, Charlie kept fighting for the Afghan people and warned against abandoning that traumatized country to its fate -- a warning we should have heeded then, and should remember today," Gates said in a statement.

Even after the attacks of September 11, 2001, Wilson never expressed regret about arming the Afghan warriors.

"We were fighting the evil empire. It would have been like not supplying the Soviets against Hitler in World War II," he told Time magazine in 2007.

"Anyway, who the hell had ever heard of the Taliban then?"

The Central Intelligence Agency broke with tradition and eventually gave Wilson the Honored Colleague Award for his efforts in Afghanistan, the first civilian to receive the award.

"It is the rare congressman who by dint of personality, persistence and country smarts did something that literally altered history on the global stage," said Dan Rather, the former CBS television journalist.

Wilson's scheme may never have succeeded without help from his trusted partner, rogue CIA officer Gust Avrakotos -- played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in the film -- a blue-collar son of Greek immigrants who resented his Ivy League educated leaders at the agency.

CBS producer George Crile described the unlikely duo in his book that inspired the Hollywood hit, with the fitting subtitle, "The Extraordinary Story of How the Wildest Man in Congress and a Rogue CIA Agent Changed the History of Our Times."

Wilson was known to recruit beautiful women to work in his Washington office, who were nicknamed "Charlie's Angels" after the television show, and he often brought along his latest glamorous girlfriend on trips to Pakistan and the Middle East.

The book recounts Wilson gulping down Scotch as he endures a harrowing Justice Department investigation into allegations he had snorted cocaine in Las Vegas.

Prosecutors never filed charges, as one key witness could only recall Wilson partaking of cocaine in the Cayman Islands -- outside the reach of US authorities.

Asked years later in an ABC television interview if the allegations were true, Wilson joked: "Nobody knows the answer to that and I ain't telling."

12 Feb 10,, 06:09
An appreciation of Charlie Wilson the former Texas congressman


12 Feb 10,, 10:45
Fulsome tributes poured in for Charlie Wilson, who despite a playboy image became an influential player in the Cold War, funneling billions of dollars in weapons to the Afghan mujahideen through a secret CIA program.

Superb Gentleman who forgot that "whatever goes, comes back with a bang". So US is funneling billions of dollars into Astan even now with little progress and American casualties. Handed US it's 3rd Vietnam.

12 Feb 10,, 16:59
Reminds me a line from the movie.....at the end of the movie..they showed a writing stating something like.."We go to a country,fight a war.win it,but screw up the end game"

my memory isnt very clear now so this might not be the exact thing but it was surely something like that.

A pity that he could persuade the senate to send billions worth of armaments to fight the soviets but couldn't persuade them to build hundred thousand dollar worth of school and hospitals.

12 Feb 10,, 17:08
"But sometimes, there's a man. And I'm talkin' about the Dude here. Sometimes, there's a man, well, he's the man for his time and place. He fits right in there."

Like Lebowski, Charlie was a man for the times.:))

12 Feb 10,, 18:36
RIP Charlie.:(

12 Feb 10,, 22:24
Superb Gentleman who forgot that "whatever goes, comes back with a bang". So US is funneling billions of dollars into Astan even now with little progress and American casualties. Handed US it's 3rd Vietnam.

Oh really. Firstly, what pray tell in your ever-so-considered opinion was America's second Vietnam, and secondly, why is Afghanistan in any way like Vietnam?

The clock is ticking by the way, I'm sick of you popping in and making BS statements then staying away. It's called trolling.

14 Feb 10,, 06:23
Handed US it's 3rd Vietnam.

Firstly; what in your opinion was the 2nd Vietnam?

Secondly; how are we defeating the enemy in Afghanistan?

In light of the 1st Vietnam the enemy were soundly defeated, but were soundly left on their own by the Democratically controlled Congress via spending bills.

Our compatiots in the fight aren't worth our money?

Chas Wilson as a Texas Democrat might have thought differently...

But then Texas is a hole 'nother country...