Charlie Wilson's War 


 

U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson

Charlie Wilson's War: How one man changed world history.

Wilson was a United States naval officer and Democratic United States Congressman from the 2nd congressional district in Texas. He was known for leading Congress into supporting the largest CIA covert operation to supply the Afghan Mujahideen during the Soviet-Afghan War.

His role in arranging this support was documented in the non-fiction book, Charlie Wilson's War, by George Crile and cinematically depicted in a film adaptation of the book starring Tom Hanks as Wilson.

 

 

 

 


 

The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History

Operation Cyclone

Wilson, Charles "Charlie" Nesbitt (June 1, 1933 - February 10, 2010). Wilson was a United States naval officer and Democratic U.S. Representative from the 2nd Congressional District of Texas. 

Best known for convincing Congress to fund Operation Cyclone, a Central Intelligence Agency covert operation which supplied military equipment, including most notably Stinger antiaircraft missiles, and paramilitary officers from their Special Activities Division to the Afghan.

 


 

Movie Official Website

 

A major new movie starring Tom Hanks tells the extraordinary story of a covert CIA operation that altered the course of history. But who was Charlie Wilson? And how did a little-known Texan Congressman come to spend billions of dollars on a secret campaign whose unintended consequences are still being felt today? 

"Charlie may have been the only believer in the United States that the Afghan people could actually expel the Soviets. He had his own personal jihad," said Lawrence Wright, author of "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11."

Wilson, who represented the 2nd district in east Texas in the U.S. House from 1973 to 1996, was crucial to the Afghan war against the Soviets. 

In Pakistan he is certainly remember as the face of the U.S. support for the Afghan mujahideen.

And, as George Crile wrote in the book Charlie Wilson's War, that feeling (and pride) extended all the way to Washington, D.C.

When describing the moment Wilson returned to Washington after his first trip to Afghanistan, Crile wrote: "He was no longer just responsible for funding an exotic, important foreign policy. Now, in the minds of his colleagues, it really was becoming Charlie Wilson's war. Charlie was personally fighting the Russians."

ABC News' Bob Woodruff spoke with the former congressman on "Good Morning America" in 2007 about those days, Wilson commented about Texas socialite named Joanne Herring -- played by Julia Roberts in the movie Charlie Wilson's War -- who opened Wilson's eyes to Soviet brutality in Afghanistan.

Once Wilson met Herring and she told him about the horrors of the Afghan war, he said he got more serious.

"Mines that looked like they were toys would blow apart, blow off [children's] hands," Wilson recalled learning from Herring.

Although the CIA was funding Afghan Muslims to fight the Soviet Union, Wilson wanted more money and more weapons because he thought the communists could be beaten faster. As the head of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, responsible for funding CIA operations, he was in a position to help do that under the public's radar.

With Wilson's support, nearly a billion dollars was allocated to help the Afghan Mujadhideen's jihad to expel the Soviets, including a key $17 million for stinger missiles to shoot down Soviet attack helicopters.

The Soviet army called it quits in Afghanistan in 1989, striking a major blow to the empire. Within one year the Berlin Wall fell and Wilson remembers that day vividly.

"I believe that was the most electrifying moment of my life," Wilson said. "I watched Peter Jennnings. I had a bottle of champagne I was saving for such an occasion and I broke it open. And gave [the Mujahideen] a little toast."

The United States cut back support and money for Afghanistan after the Soviets' withdrawal and civil war broke out. Wilson regretted the pullback and said that if the United States had stayed, "We would have had a friend in the Muslim world, which we could use."

With the United States and Soviets out, foreign terrorists moved in. Osama bin Laden, who fought alongside the Mujahideen, returned to Afghanistan and contributed to the rise of the Taliban regime and the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

However, Wilson didn't blame 9/11 on the U.S. withdrawal.

"We would have had something like 9/11 anyways. I think that bin Laden had his course pretty well set," he said. "But when you fight a war, you do what you think you need to do at the time. What seems right at the time is what you do."

 


Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson's Krinkov from Afghanistan

Arguably the most significant weapon in American History perhaps second only to the Kennedy rifle.

Wilson = Credited with the fall of Soviet Union versus Oswald = Credited with the fall of a President

A picture of Wilson holding this Krinkov and sitting with members of the Mujihadeen can be found in the extras section of the DVD "Charlie Wilson's War". Also below this picture of Wilson "in country" with the same weapon.


 

This Russian Krinkov pictured above is a piece of World History.  When Texas Representative Charlie Wilson was helping the Mujihadeen fight the Soviets in the early 1980's he was given this Krinkov that he brought back to the USA. 

Being a member of congress has its advantages and the ATF allowed Wilson to own this machine gun and register it on a Form 10 (essentially a government owned gun).  In 1995, shortly before leaving office and losing his official status as a government official as far at the ATF was concerned.

Charlie donated this gun to a Texas museum. It remained in storage until the time of Wilson's recent death. Then the museum decided to dispose of the weapon ordered it demilitarized. 

Luckily the historical significance of this weapon was realized by the current owner who acquired.  It will be faithfully rebuilt to factory specifications and will retain it's original battlefield finish.Returning it back to it's original working order by a master gunsmith.   

 

 

Pictured above Wilson's Russian Kalashnikov AKS-74U (Krinkov) short assault rifle built by the Tula Arms Factory in Russia.  It was manufactured in 1982 and was the first Russian Krinkov to legally enter into the USA in working order. 

A documented battlefield combat weapon captured and highly prized by Mujihadeen fighters it was then presented to Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson during one of his thirty plus trips in appreciation for America's support fighting the invading Russians.

Read more information about Charlie Wilson

Charlie Wilson and the Mujahedin gave us the fall of Russia in Afghanistan, which lead to the fall of the Soviet Union and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.

 

courtesy of markbrown.com

Charlie Did It