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Charlie Wilson's War #2020

Charlie Wilson s War It s common knowledge that the U S armed the Afghans in their fight against the Soviet Union but until now the fact that this was possibly the biggest meanest covert operation in history has been a

  • Title: Charlie Wilson's War
  • Author: George Crile
  • ISBN: 9780802143419
  • Page: 170
  • Format: Paperback
  • Charlie Wilson's War By George Crile, It s common knowledge that the U.S armed the Afghans in their fight against the Soviet Union, but until now, the fact that this was possibly the biggest, meanest covert operation in history has been absent from press reports In one of the most detailed descriptions of a CIA operation every written, the bizarre twists and turns of the full story are told in CHARLIE WILSONIt s common knowledge that the U.S armed the Afghans in their fight against the Soviet Union, but until now, the fact that this was possibly the biggest, meanest covert operation in history has been absent from press reports In one of the most detailed descriptions of a CIA operation every written, the bizarre twists and turns of the full story are told in CHARLIE WILSON S WAR Veteran 60 Minutes producer George Crile explains how one Congressman was able to provide the CIA with hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the Afghan program, dwarfing the price tag for arming the Nicaraguan Contras that occurred at virtually the same time The scope and nature of this campaign has still not registered in the consciousness of most Americans, Crile writes in the book s Epilogue Nor is it understood that such secret undertakings inevitably have unforeseen and unintended consequences which, in this case, remain largely ignored When Crile produced his first story about Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson for 60 Minutes in 1989, he too underestimated the vastness of the program and its consequences It was a later trip to the Arab world with Wilson, the Wilson s princely reception, and the events of 9 11 that opened his eyes to the far bigger picture of CHARLIE WILSON S WAR.Among the book s startling revelations By the latter years of the 1980s the CIA was not just providing arms to a half million Afghans, it had taken 150,000 of them and transformed them into what it called a force of techno holy warriors From today s perspective, Crile observes, that may seem than a bit ill advised particularly when you factor in the specialized training in urban warfare that the Agency sponsored to include the use of pipe bombs, bicycle bombs, car bombs, camel bombs, along with a host of other tactics to wreak havoc with the army of a modern superpower The United States continued to fund the Afghan rebels long after the withdrawal of the Soviet Union Incredibly, the subsidies continued despite the fact that one of the most important mujahid leaders sided with Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War In addition to 200 million in aid from the U.S and 200 million from Saudi Arabia, in 1991 and 1992 the rebels received Iraqi weapons captured by U.S forces during the Gulf War At the same time, the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union ceased to exist The Cold War was effectively over but what began as a war against Communism was continuing to be funded The question that has puzzled so many Americans Why do they hate us is not so difficult to understand if you put yourself into the shoes of the Afghan veterans in the aftermath of the Soviet departure, Crile says To them, the real superpower in their struggle was Allah The United States eventually cut off its support in the 1990s In the Afghan s minds, Allah did notARLIE WILSON S WAR is nothing short of a critical missing chapter in our political consciousness Without a clear understanding of its impact, it may be impossible to comprehend the two world changing events that shook the United States on either side of the millennium the sudden and mysterious collapse of the Soviet Union and the equally inexplicable appearance of a new global foe in the form of militant Islam At its core, it tells of an unorthodox alliance of a scandal prone Texas Congressman named Charlie Wilson and an out of favor CIA operative named Gust Avrakotos that armed and sustained the Afghan jihad and turned Afghanistan into the Soviet Union s Vietnam The origins of this book go back to a time when the Afghans were viewed by most everyone in the U.S government as freedom fighters and allies against a common foe, Crile writes in the Epilogue In 1988, Crile produced a 60 Minutes profile of Wilson that he now realizes barely scratched the surface of this fascinating story Later, while, accompanying Wilson on a trip to Kuwait, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan just prior to the first Gulf War, Crile was amazed at the princely reception accorded Wilson in the Arab world The trip was just the beginning of a decade long odyssey uncovering the many dimensions of the CIA s Afghan War, he recalls In short order I realized that it had been anything but a typical CIA program As incredible as anything in the pages of Tom Clancy or John le Carr , CHARLIE WILSON S WAR is a gripping story of international intrigue, booze, drugs, sex, high society and arms deals Between its covers, we meet The charismatic Congressman Charlie Wilson While Ronald Reagan and William Casey were unable to persuade Congress to fund the Nicaraguan Contras, Wilson was procuring hundreds of millions of dollars to support his Afghan freedom fighters through back room machinations that would have made even LBJ blush A colorful man of many contradictions, he worked hard and played hard, earning the reputation as the wildest man in Congreeeeeess while representing an archconservative Bible belt district in Texas The out of favor CIA operative, Gust Avrakotos, whose working class Greek American background made him an anomaly in the patrician world of American spies Nicknamed Dr Dirty , this blue collar James Bond was an aggressive agent who served on the front lines of the Cold War where he learned how to stretch the Agency s rules to the breaking point The eccentric staff of CIA outcasts hand picked by Avrakotos to run the operation Among them were Hilly Billy , the logistics wizard who could open an un numbered Swiss bank account for the U.S government in 12 hours when others took months Art Alper, the devilish tinkerer from the Technical Services division who roamed the world creating such novelties as exploding typewriters and developed portable amplifiers that spread propaganda among the Soviet troops and especially Mike Vickers, the former Green Beret so junior in status that he couldn t send his own cables His military genius allowed him to single handedly redesign the CIA s war plan Through his highly specific blueprint, he created a systematic plan that turned a rabble of shepherds and tribesmen into an army of techno Holy warriors who gave the legendary Red Army their greatest defeat Today, Mike Vickers is consulting for the Pentagon on the War on Terrorism and war planning for Iraq.The many women who shared the Congressman s jihad It all began with a Houston socialite, Joanne Herring who enlisted Wilson to the Afghan cause via her deep seated hatred of Communism and her influence in Pakistan Carol Shannon, Wilson s personal belly dancer who he took with him to the jihad Charlie s Angels, Wilson s female staffers so strikingly beautiful that they became a legend on Capitol Hill And finally, Annelise Illschenko, aka Sweetums , the former U.S representative in the Miss World competition who traveled with Wilson deep into the Islamic world in outfits that were not the most appropriate attire in the eyes of Muslim men The Pakistani dictator Zia ul Haq, who early on realized that the way to millions of dollars in American aid was through Charlie Wilson and his covert war in Afghanistan A dictator whom many held personally responsible for the execution of his democratically elected predecessor, Zia used his favorable status as an ally of the U.S against the Soviets to divert attention from his own nuclear weapons program while providing the all important safe haven and operations center for the CIA s Afghan operations ARLIE WILSON S WAR is the CIA and Congress as they have never been seen before, engaged in the last great battle of the Cold War This is a book that has direct implications for today s world situation.

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    1 thought on “Charlie Wilson's War

    1. Charlie Wilson s War is a chilling tale of how a few determined people can undermine all existing law, use their positions of power and influence to get unseen funds allocated, and pursue a major war without the approval of the American people Crile was clearly enad of Wilson, regarding him as a charismatic, larger than life figure, who performed a major service to the West by tipping the Soviet Union over the edge Crile foreground with Wilson suspenders and an unnamed ISI agent shades in Afghan [...]

    2. Charlie Wilson s war is indispensible for anyone who wants to understand the roots of our current war in Afghanistan It s also a primer on how Washington worked in the 1970s 1980s under Reagan, Tip O Neill, and others Congressman Charlie Wilson and the CIA funneled billions of dollars worth of money and equipment to the Mooj, or Mujahadeen, in Afghanistan to bleed the Soviet 40th Army Every penny, every bullet, went via Pakistan s ISI, as a condition of Pakistan allowing it all Wilson, his delus [...]

    3. This book was too long and poorly written It repeated itself and skipped around quite a bit It took me a very long time to get through this, despite being interested in the material The author would have done better with a condensed book that flowed better The story is over dramatized and extrodinarily biased I d like to hear from Casey, George, and others who were denigrated in this book I think this is overinflated and a very egotistical version of an important turning point in US History Worl [...]

    4. This definately falls in the category of truth being stranger than fiction because this story is so unlikely that no one would believe it if it hadn t happened Not only is there much detail and depth than the movie even hinted at, it s also a great inside look at how the American government and intelligence community actually work.

    5. A drama based on a Texas congressman Charlie Wilson s covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long reaching effects.A movie was made based on this book 2007 , directed by Mike Nichols with Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman.

    6. An incredibly entertaining history of Amercia s most successful covert war via proxy When the Soviets went into Afghanistan, Congressman Charlie Wilson pushed to support the mujaheddin.It s true that this eventually turned against us, providing the training that militarized those who would eventually become terrorists, but those dots wouldn t be connected until many years later At the time, many thought it plausible that Afghanistan would be solidly a U.S partisan The U.S State Department is tra [...]

    7. I guess now that Tom Hanks starred in a movie based on this book, I m obligated to write a review If you re into politics , intrigue, and war stories, this will be your favorite book It s a completely true story, yet it reads like the best fiction in the genre The movie covered a lot, but of course, a lot was left out, like Charlie s short marriage and long decline into alcoholism, which was only symbolized in the movie.Charlie Wilson was a Democrat hawk who saved freedom for the world from the [...]

    8. A tremendously fun read and how many books on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the jihad against the Soviets can you say that about I d give it 5 stars, if I felt I could trust it completely, but if it isn t entirely true, you d want it to be An alcholic dissolute Congressman brings down the Soviet Union, working with renegade CIA agents, right wing Christain fundamentalists aligned with fundalmentalist Muslims in Pakistan and Afghanistan How can you not like this story It s a bit like rea [...]

    9. This is a popular book which will soon be a film But goes on here than meets the eye On the face of things, it seems like a book about the heroic efforts of a one man to help the Afghan Mujahideen take on the Soviets But the author is actually telling three stories The second on is about the journey to find meaningful desire Charlie Wilson is a wreck of a human who moves from false desire to false desire until he gets to the Mujahideen The question is does he ever find his desire If not then wh [...]

    10. I stumbled across a copy of this book while on vacation I haven t seen the film version as of yet, but I always prefer to read the book if given the choice between the two.This book is an astonishingly well written report of how easily one man, in the right position, can circumvent due process and the rule of law Everyone involved in the events described here seems to think of the incidents reported here as a great patriotic endeavor I think it s a tremendous primer on the use of raw power.One o [...]

    11. I read this book to review it for the San Francisco Chronicle back in 2003, long before Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts made what I consider a pretty good movie out of it An important book Here s my review from 2003 An army of oneHow a fast living Texas congressman secretly funneled billions of dollars to Afghanistan to fight the SovietsReviewed by Steve KettmannSunday, May 25, 2003Charlie Wilson s War The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History By George Crile ATLANTIC MONTHL [...]

    12. In this book George Crile idolises Congressman Charlie Wilson, a good ol Texan, a coke snorting, whisky guzzling, whoring, skirt chasing arms dealing, freeloading, hit and run drunk driver, who constantly broke US laws to support the mujahideen, known as freedom fighters in their day, now known as something else entirely.I found this implausible, yet true, story so captivating that I had a hard time putting the book down Not only is Charlie Wilson s War a compelling story that flows like a novel [...]

    13. Bear and I watched this movie last night and while on one hand I have to say it earned its R rating and then some, due to nudity, excessive profanity and immorality, it is nevertheless the incredible story of an unknown second district Texas Congressman playboy who almost single handedly procures millions of dollars which were then matched by the Saudis to support the Afghani mujahideen in their fight against the Soviet Union during the 1980s Of course you know the outcome What s so amazing is a [...]

    14. I m pretty conflicted about this one It is an amazing true story with tremendous consequences it could be argued for both good and bad to every American The story is very well told but filled with profanity all of it, I presume, authentic That was conflicting enough, but the most unsettling of all is how to weigh out the whole thing It is fairly clear that the Russians war with Afghanistan was the straw that financially broke the proverbial camel s back along with an arms race with Ronald Regan [...]

    15. This book explains Charlie Wilson s involvement in getting funding for the CIA s Afghanistan operation Here is what I learned 1 Charlie Wilson and his CIA buddies use the F bomb or some crass equivalent constantly2 Certain congressman are great at persuading others to co operate with them, even when they do not agree with the plan.3 Afghanistan is a crazy place4 Charlie Wilson earned his nickname Goodtime Charlie One conclusion that I draw I do not think the author or the historical protagonists [...]

    16. A good yarn about Charlie Wilson, a Texas playboy Congressman who somehow found his calling as the lead advocate for the Afghan mujihadein sp fighting the Soviets in the 1980s He worked with a maverick CIA agent on the project The story is fun and wacky The problem is the book is about 100 pages too long and the author goes to the well far too often about how crazy Wilson is or how much of a maverick the CIA agent can be and it becomes a bit trite in the middle That all being said, it s an inter [...]

    17. Introduces the reader to Charlie Wilson, a former Texas representative, and his involvement in the covert support provided to the mujihadeen Loose on facts and long on speculation The book does not provide a thorough history of US involvement nor does it attempt to If it reads like fiction, a large of it may very well be just that.

    18. Reads like a novel, with Charlie Wilson larger than life The Epilogue though is very frightening leaving a legacy of armed Muslim fanatics battling each other in Afghanistan and the United States everywhere.

    19. I enjoyed the movie starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Philip Seymour Hoffman when it first came out and bought this book to get the full story And, I have to say, the old rule that the book is better than the movie holds true here as well Mr Crile has certainly done his research for this one, taking you deep inside the workings of Congress, the CIA, and Middle Eastern governments from Egypt to Pakistan Not only is every nugget of information laid out in detail, but is written in such a way [...]

    20. Charlie Wilson, a flamboyant Congressman from Texas, took on the project of funneling arms to the Afghan opponents to the Soviet army, which had invaded Afghanistan in December, 1979, a couple of geopolitical eras ago.The United States saw an opportunity to oppose Soviet power by supporting Afghans who were opposed to the invasion They were called the mujahideen Here s a paragraph from the article on the Soviet war in Afghanistan National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, known for his hardl [...]

    21. There are people who are destined to leave their mark on history, like Churchill, Lincoln or hundreds like them but nobody would have ever given a chance in hell to this skirt chasing, cocaine snorting nobody congressman from the Bible Belt of Texas And what an impact he made, not just on the war he made his own, but how he came to high jack the foreign policy of his country without holding neither the office nor the mandate to do it It was entirely Charlie Wilson s zeal and his love for the Muj [...]

    22. If I were able to go halvsies on the ratings I d give it a 2 1 2 The beginning makes it very hard to put down and it was refreshing for once to hear people praising the culture that in this world of contemporary political analysis and unconventional warfare we have come to fear and despise, but you quickly get past that when you realize that this ethnocentric hatred is really just being diverted to the at the time Evil Empire Soviets Eventually this visceral hatred of the Soviets really gets old [...]

    23. Hellofastory Vets from our latest long wars should read this book then, if capable, get involved in politics asap The US needs militarily experienced leadership The war on Salafi jihadis should not be run by professors, lawyers and career politicians God forbid another ground war.Charlie and Gust Avratakos are mostly superhuman in the utterly complex tale Thanks to George Crile for unraveling this It is one of those books like The Looming Tower that just slaps you in the face with it s descripti [...]

    24. This book fills in many missing chapters between American backing of the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan in the 1980 s to the attacks of 9 11 It s incredible what one congressman and dozens of CIA operatives were able to accomplish and what the unintended, unforeseen consequences of those actions were Clearly, we used the Mujaheddin to defeat the Russians in Afghanistan just as much as they used us to accomplish the same goal The book makes clear that the American government may have been naive as to [...]

    25. Crile s real life history reads like an excellent spy novel The largest covert CIA war in history Afghanistan USA vs Russia was launched by a wild man Texas Congressman named Charlie Wilson and two gifted CIA agents They had three things in common a deep hatred of communists, an addiction for wild risks and a gift for swaying people and politics Charlie Wilson, through his Appropriations Committee influence, had the balls to funnel 100 s of millions of dollars and act as a illegal spokesperson f [...]

    26. This is a really interesting part of American History, but it s not a great book The author bounces around too much, telling three page short stories about people who helped in some minor way It s cool to see how much really went into the Afghan war, and how lucky the participants really were, but the narrative is lost in all the research People are given lengthy introductions and then never mentioned again familiar sounding names from chapter one are brought back, but we no longer know who they [...]

    27. Charlie Wilson is a bit like everyone a good side and a bad side His public persona displayed a lot of what many would think is bad His personal mission as a congressman from Texas was to help the Afghans who were being invaded by Russia in the 1980 s He did this through funding and close work with the CIA His problems with alcohol will strike a chord with any recovering or former drinker.It is an intriguing book, and somewhat scary that one man could wield this much power The movie by the same [...]

    28. This is indeed an entertaining book about a moral reprobate, Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson, substantially responsible along with the CIA, the Saudis and other authoritarian allies of the USA for the defeat of the Soviet s attempts at nation building in Afghanistan during the eighties Although this edition doesn t go into it, the history of American support for the Afghan freedom fighters is a good case study of unintended consequences as the withdrawal of Soviet forces supporting an allied Af [...]

    29. Charlie Wilson s War I can best describe as a tale of Robin Hood and his merry men, a bunch of Washington D.C true believers who never got over the Vietnam War, robbing the federal government to give to what they called the Afghan freedom fighters virtually unlimited funds and war materiel to boot the Soviet s invading army back across their own border It is a very entertaining read, it s well written and incredibly well researched, but reading now what happened then through the prism of current [...]

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