Charlie Wilson died today. From my limited knowledge (basically a book and a film), I’ve developed a deep admiration for the man. To some extent his death is part of the passing of an era, for better or for worse. But this country will surely miss him. Bob Gates writes a fitting farewell. We’re still picking up the pieces, as Charlie always wanted.
I had the unforgettable experience of knowing Congressman Wilson when I was at CIA and he was working tirelessly on behalf of the Afghan resistance fighting the Soviets. As the world now knows, his efforts and exploits helped repel an invader, liberate a people, and bring the Cold War to a close. 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.
America has lost an extraordinary patriot whose life showed, once more, that one brave and determined person can alter the course of history.
Amen, Mr. Secretary. Good-Time Charlie, we hardly knew you.