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Heights2Bastrop

Rest in “Peace”, Charlie Wilson

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Charlie Wilson may have started a war that eventually brought an end to Communism in the former USSR, but hopefully he is at peace now. I never saw Tom Hanks' portrayal of Wilson, but I did see a documentary on the events the movie was about.

There is no way Hanks could have done justice to the real person. Charlie Wilson had a personality that could never be embellished; he was that much of a character. Nor could the movie ever be as bizarre as the actual events that transpired.

From CNN:

Former congressman Charlie Wilson of Texas died Wednesday at age 76, a Texas hospital said. The 12-term Democratic congressman, who served Texas' 2nd Congressional district, was pronounced dead at 12:16 p.m. after suffering cardiopulmonary arrest in the emergency room of Memorial Health System of East Texas, the Lufkin hospital said in a news release.

Tom Hanks portrayed the flamboyant congressman in the 2007 movie "Charlie Wilson's War," which told the story of Wilson's push to provide weapons to the mujahedeen after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Edited by Heights2Bastrop

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Dear Charlie,

Thanks for propping up the mujahadeen, an organization of individuals which grew up to be today's Taliban who gave aid and comfort to our terrorist enemies.

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Dear Charlie,

Thanks for propping up the mujahadeen, an organization of individuals which grew up to be today's Taliban who gave aid and comfort to our terrorist enemies.

If it makes any difference, Rambo aided the mujahadeen too.

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Dear Charlie,

Thanks for propping up the mujahadeen, an organization of individuals which grew up to be today's Taliban who gave aid and comfort to our terrorist enemies.

Your hindsight is remarkably acute.

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Your hindsight is remarkably acute.

Its not rocket science. Interventionism creates animosity from either the group you're supporting or the group you aren't. In 1953 the CIA initiated a coup against the secular democratic government of Iran for British Petroleum's oil interest. We installed the Shah, a brutal dictator who put his boot on the neck of the people. The end result was a massive religious overthrow of the Shah by the Ayatollah and the mullahs and now American leadership boohoos about the religious zealots running Iran who are intent on procuring nuclear technology. We reap what we sow, and we continue to plant those seeds today.

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Its not rocket science. Interventionism creates animosity from either the group you're supporting or the group you aren't. In 1953 the CIA initiated a coup against the secular democratic government of Iran for British Petroleum's oil interest. We installed the Shah, a brutal dictator who put his boot on the neck of the people. The end result was a massive religious overthrow of the Shah by the Ayatollah and the mullahs and now American leadership boohoos about the religious zealots running Iran who are intent on procuring nuclear technology. We reap what we sow, and we continue to plant those seeds today.

No doubt there are dismal failures where interventionism is concerned. I think that our support of Israel was probably the most profound failure of the 20th century on account of that it isolated us from the rest of the Middle East.

But...sometimes interventionism works. The Monroe Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the post-war occupation of Japan, and the Korean War come to mind as honest-to-goodness long-term success stories. There are also instances where early intervention might've been beneficial; we probably should've backed Iraqi revolutionaries after the first Gulf War, for instance.

I'm not sure that Charlie Wilson can be pegged for the lack of good faith exhibited by Congress towards post-war Afghanistan. For that matter, I'm not clear that Congress as a whole could be held at fault for the specific outcome. Sure, they set the stage. But they (and the military) were operating from a different paradigm, one in which threats to the U.S. were largely from organized political and military entities, particularly from the Soviet Union and other communist countries. It's not that terrorism didn't occur from time to time, just that it was a relative nuisance.

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To Charlie Wilson's credit, he tried for years after the military intervention to get even the most menial foreign aid allocations for education and etc. and was unsuccessful, and so the story of Afghanistan was the story of most other American adventures...bang bang boom boom and then abandon the country to its own devices. That's something any politician should probably learn and remember when he's pushing to send stinger missiles to a 'friendly' group. You probably won't have an opportunity to tie things off at the end. Japan and Germany were a few exceptions to the rule. On the other side you've got almost everything else in South and Central America and Southeast Asia. Its a wonder we don't encounter far more blowback.

Edited by kylejack
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To Charlie Wilson's credit, he tried for years after the military intervention to get even the most menial foreign aid allocations for education and etc. and was unsuccessful, and so the story of Afghanistan was the story of most other American adventures...bang bang boom boom and then abandon the country to its own devices. That's something any politician should probably learn and remember when he's pushing to send stinger missiles to a 'friendly' group. You probably won't have an opportunity to tie things off at the end. Japan and Germany were a few exceptions to the rule. On the other side you've got almost everything else in South and Central America and Southeast Asia. Its a wonder we don't encounter far more blowback.

Wonderful, then. He delivered the Soviet Union it's version of Vietnam and had the good faith and foresight to try to line up aid for Afghanistan. And in between being a kick-ass statesman, he knew how not to be a stick in the mud. This is a guy whose passing deserves some reverence.

Edited by TheNiche
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My parents were pretty hard core republican after Jimmy Carter but they always still voted for Charlie. If we had more politicians like him now maybe the country wouldn't be so divided. Charlie at least tried to the right thing. Maybe everything didn't work out as he expected but his motives were good.

I met him several times when I was a kid. My parents were not rich and couldn't afford to contribute to his campaign fund but he helped my father get my brother into the Naval Academy. He couldn't have gotten anything more than 2 votes from helping my family. My father would call his office and more often than not he would get to speak to Charlie directly.

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