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Erik

A conservative Democrat in Wilson's day also usually meant bad on racial issues. I don't know Wilson's own views on the matter, but it is worth noting.

mamayaga

You speak of Charlie Wilson as if he were dead. It appears he's still alive and only just now eligible for Social Security.

cebm

Ah, the good bad old days. How I miss them.

Lance

Erik: A conservative Democrat in Wilson's day also usually meant bad on racial issues.

Was that true by the early 1980s? I thought that the Dixiecrats had pretty much moved over to the GOP by then. I was thinking, though, of conservative Democrats like Scoop Jackson and the guy who was the Congressman from our district when I was growing up, Sam Stratton, both of whom were on the side of the angels on civil rights, I believe.

Charlie Wilson started out in politics as a JFK-style liberal. I'm not sure what his record on civil rights was. I don't think Crile has refered to it yet. There is a short bit about his relations with his black constituents which was pretty positive. I'll have to look it up. My feeling is that Wilson became a conservative by default. He didn't change with the times. His Kennedy was still JFK not Teddy or Bobby.

mamayaga, I didn't mean to make it sound like Wilson's dead, although he was in his early 50s back in the 1980s so he's been eligible for Social Security for a while now. But I was writing about him as he was then and that past him is gone now.

Bob

I’m not sure how heroic and noble Wilson and O’Neill were on this one. Your point about Tip’s success in curbing many of the excesses of the Reagan administration is true enough and certainly makes me long for that crooked old ward healer who understood politics as thoroughly as LBJ and Reagan did. That we’re stuck with Pelosi and Reid now when we so recently had such a lion in charge is a shame.
That being said, our policy in Afghanistan was a dreadful mistake – and Charlie Wilson’s War was the beginning thrust of 9/11. Charlie Wilson was determined to support the "Freedom Fighters" in Afghanistan against Soviet "tyranny" - in quotes not because I am pro-Soviet; I’m not.
The war began when the Soviet puppet in Kabul issued a series of reforms, to include this horrible change to traditional Afghan culture - parents could no longer sell their daughters into marriage at any age - they had to wait until the girl was 12 to exchange her for a couple of goats. The rugged "Freedom Fighters" would have none of that, no siree bub, and they responded with weapons that Reagan and Wilson arranged for them to have. We supplied weapons directly to a group headed by one Osama bin Laden. Smart move that. The Soviets were chased out, the Northern Alliance took over and even by Afghani standards proved to be too corrupt leading to a Taliban take over.....I think you know the rest.
Let’s not make heroes out of the Charlie Wilson’s of the world. I don’t believe for a minute he really believed any of this would come to pass, but if you are going to fund wars shouldn’t you at the very least have some fucking clue what kind of people you are supporting? And what a conservative Democrat really was in Charlie Wilson’s day was a social liberal who was as bat-shit insane on foreign affairs as the most militaristic wingnut. He was no hero and no one the left needs to emulate.

Batocchio

I'd like to see Dem leadership with the savviness of O'Neill and LBJ. Good policies would help, too, but some advanced "operating" is needed to combat the current GOP obstructionism.

ajay

Bob, no one said that the muj were shining stars; but I suggest you read a little about what the Soviet Army was doing in Afghanistan.
And, to be brutally honest, Afghanistan hurt the Soviets real bad. If 9/11/01 was the price that eventually had to be paid for 11/9/89, it was worth it.

Bob

Batocchio: I know the Soviets did a lot of bad things in Afghanistan. Nonetheless, compared to who they were fighting it's kind of hard to make a case they were the "bad guys". Had they won, Afghanistan might have dragged kicking and screaming into, oh I don't know, let's say the 18th century. They lost and the result was an eventual take over by the Taliban. Now if you want to say the Taliban was better for Afghanistan than the Soviets, more power to you. But I'll say for the 50% of the population that was stripped of all rights (ie women) by the Taliban - as well as any right-thinking male - the Taliban was a disaster of epic proportions.
We really need to retire this right-wing way of thinking where the world is always divided into good guys vs bad guys. It's a bit more complex than that.

Bob

Batocchio: My apologies - my last comment should have been addressed to Ajay - not you.

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