Charlie Wilson’s War: An Attempt at Version 2.0

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article noting that former Senator Gordon Humphrey, who played a key role in arming the mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980s, is now working on what can be described as an attempt at version 2.0 of Charlie Wilson’s War by lobbying Congress to send weapons to the current Ukrainian government in its fight with Russian-backed separatists in the east.

Early on, the article gives the impression that version 1.0 in Afghanistan was a great success, noting that, “The Soviet Union collapsed soon after.” Only much later (where far fewer people will see it) does it add, “outside experts often cite that covert action as a cautionary tale about the risks of intervention. In the chaos after the Soviet withdrawal, the Taliban rose and played host to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.”

A number of earlier posts on this blog indicate that Charlie Wilson’s War v 2.0 has a good chance of resembling v 1.0 in the sense of seriously damaging our national security, so let’s hope it doesn’t succeed. To stop the devastation in Ukraine, we need a more reasoned diplomatic approach, not Charlie Wilson’s War v 2.0.

Martin Hellman

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About Martin Hellman

I am a professor at Stanford University, best known for my invention of public key cryptography -- the technology that protects the secure part of the Internet, such as electronic banking. But, for almost 30 years, my primary interest has been how fallible human beings can survive possessing nuclear weapons, where even one mistake could be catastrophic. My latest project is a book with the audacious subtitle "Creating True Love at Home & Peace on the Planet." Its soon to open website explains: https://anewmap.com.
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