Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Charlie Wilson's War by George Crile

Unbelievable but not.

Crile presents an insider's view of the behind the scenes machinations and maneuvers which allow our government to operate.

Obviously well-researched, Charlie Wilson's War is a fascinating tale of what's possible when rules are ignored and no isn't an option.

Charlie Wilson was a playboy Congressman who was rarely taken seriously. A Democrat from Texas who was also fervently anti-Communist, Wilson made it his life's work to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan and in the course of doing so, set the stage for the collapse of the Soviet Union.

While the book deals with events which took place 25 or so years ago, there's an awful lot of it which echoes today. I had an eerie familiarity with many of the names and locations such as Abdul Haq, Bagram and Jalalabad.

Wilson and his cohorts were trying to make Afghanistan the Soviets' Vietnam but as I read, I just kept seeing disconcerting parallels between the Soviet experience in Afghanistan and our present day experiences in Iraq.

I had an a-ha moment when Crile states that "Israel's most dangerous enemy was Saddam Hussein's Iraq."

Crile's non-fiction book reads like a spy novel and provides an effortless education into an area of the world which continues to have a global impact.

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