R.I.P., Charlie Wilson


Only in America could a whiskey-loving, cocaine-snorting, womanizing badboy and flamboyant wisecracker, elected to serve in the US Congress from a rural backwater district situated deep in Dixie Christian fundamentalist territory, find an idealistic spark that made him determined to fund a crackpot Muslim fundamentalist “freedom fighter” insurgency halfway across the world, and help bring down an empire.

And then we fucked up the end game.

Sorry Charlie, but now the world knows you were right. And you will be missed.

About Curzon

Lord George Nathaniel Curzon (1859 - 1925) entered the British House of Commons as a Conservative MP in 1886, where he served as undersecretary of India and Foreign Affairs. He was appointed Viceroy of India at the turn of the 20th century where he delineated the North West Frontier Province, ordered a military expedition to Tibet, and unsuccessfully tried to partition the province of Bengal during his six-year tenure. Curzon served as Leader of the House of Lords in Prime Minister Lloyd George's War Cabinet and became Foreign Secretary in January 1919, where his most famous act was the drawing of the Curzon Line between a new Polish state and Russia. His publications include Russia in Central Asia (1889) and Persia and the Persian Question (1892). In real life, "Curzon" is a US citizen from the East Coast who has been a financial analyst, freelance translator, and university professor; he is currently on assignment in Tokyo.
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14 Responses to R.I.P., Charlie Wilson

  1. Ryan says:

    The guy was a hood, said in a complimentary sense. Marched to the beat of his own drum while living life to the fullest. RIP

  2. Nick Ottens says:

    Best eulogy I’ve read !

  3. Chirol says:

    Nothing wrong with Dixie!

  4. Curzon says:

    Thanks; and, indeed.

  5. Memphispi says:

    Your readers interested in the life of Charlie Wilson would enjoy tonight’s
    Charlie Rose Show (can be viewed at http://www.charlierose.com). Rose replays an
    earlier interview with the man himself. Wilson presents a candid and unabashed
    reflection on his life.

    If you missed it on the tube I think you have to wait 24 hours for the show to
    be viewed on the website.

    PS to Chirol: “Dixie”, I can identify! (rofl)

  6. RJS says:

    Actually, Charlie Wilson may have been completely wrong.

    Check out Josh Foust’s post questioning this assumption.


    Foust is one of the best Afghanistan analysts out there, and he’s well worth reading.

  7. Curzon says:

    Hmm, a post by Josh that isn’t focused on telling us why Robert D. Kaplan is wrong about everything.

    Look, the view on Operation Cyclone and Charlie Wilson and everything about the Cold War basically comes down to this question:

    Was it right to team up with tribal fanatics to combat the USSR?

    I basically agree with Churchill: If Hitler invaded hell, I would have made favorable communications with Lucifer.

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  9. Ahsan Ali says:

    Loved both the book and the movie. R.I.P Charlie Wilson

  10. Aceface says:

    I totally agree with Foust’s analysis.

    And Churchill seemed to have second thought on alliance with Lucifer/Stalin.
    This is what I’ve read from the book by Akino Yutaka,a Japanese Soviet/Eurasia analyst who got PhD on Soviet diplomacy,called “偽りの同盟Fallacy Alliance “.

    As I trust the content of the book,seemingly at the beginning of the war between the Nazi and the Soviet,Churcill and British government wasn’t sure that Stalin could hold on and soon or later communist would be replaced by Russian nationalist .And Brits thought they should wait when that point comes.

    It never happened because Soviet kept Stalinglad on hold and Stalin kept Russia on hold.

    Anyway,if Hitler invaded hell,I would consider two moves.1)Tell Tojo to break up with Hitler.If that won’t materialize,then 2)Keep minimum support to Hitler,so he’d be trapped there as long as the trouble continues

    BTW,Akino was killed by insurgent while serving as observer of UNMOT in Tajikistan in 1998.That insurgency probably wouldn’t happened had Soviet army stayed in Afgahanistan…..

  11. Curzon says:

    But Ace, the seeds of the next conflict are inevitably contained in the solution of the previous conflict. That’s history. There is no final solution to history.

    And I think you overexagerate any difference between your Tojo/Lucifer alliance reaction. We didn’t help today’s Taliban anymore than we thought we had too.

    And as for this:

    BTW, Akino was killed by insurgent while serving as observer of UNMOT in Tajikistan in 1998.That insurgency probably wouldn’t happened had Soviet army stayed in Afgahanistan…..

    Right — just as we never would have had North Korea if the Japanese army stayed in Korea. In future, we may think that we wouldn’t have a Taliban regime in today’s Saudi Arabia if the US army had only stayed there. Yet none of these are arguments for maintaining Soviet/Japanese/US military presence, or the policies that led to their withdrawal/defeat.

  12. Aceface says:

    Sorry Buddy,the last part was just too tasty not to write.

    But seriously.You should have used my logic to support why Americans are fighting in Afghanistan, instead of not-so-good analogy like “If Japanese still had with their boots on the gound in Korea”=”No Kim Jong Il”Theory.
    (I actually think there probably was no KJI if only we had second thought on fighting Russians on the ground in Russo-Japanese war.On Saudi/American relation,all I can say is Ibn Saud,kind of a guy with idea that actually resembles with Taliban,would never have survived without American presence.)

    “the seeds of the next conflict are inevitably contained in the solution of the previous conflict. That’s history. There is no final solution to history. ”

    True.But the time line allows us to “think” events in historical perspective.
    Soviet Union already had too many problems.Afghanistan was the easiest of the problems,Gorbachev solved it simply by withdrawing the troops and let the chaos to rule,an impossible option for Obama White House.That could mean that Wilson gave more headache to Washington then Moscow,Don’t you think?

    Coincidentally I was watching two Russian films on DVD last night called “Cargo 200″ (2007)and “The Nineth Company”(2005) Both films are based more or less on Soviet’s Afghan venture and waaay much better than “Charlue Wilson’s War”.
    I’ll show them to you next time you show up to my place.

  13. Young Wilhelm says:

    Wasn’t it Zbigniew Brzezinski’s idea to embroil the USSR in Afghanistan. It may have been Charlie’s money that helped but I’d rather blame Dr. Z. He is still whispering in Obama’s ear. The pipeline wars do not seem to be going away peacefully.

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