By supplying the Afghani fighters w/ aid, Charlie, Gust Avrakatos, Milt Bearden and the CIA helped end the Soviet Army's occupation of Afghanistan (and quite possibly) and the Cold War by bankrupting the Soviet Union.
"Pakistan's then president, Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq, who had allowed the weapons to move through his country on CIA-purchased mules, credited Wilson with the defeat of the Russians in Afghanistan. 'Charlie did it,' he said.
Thus, the largest covert operation in the CIA history ended with
Russia's humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan.
But in Charlie Wilson's War (2003 Grove/Atlantic), George Crile notes that the
U.S.-financed war against the Soviets in Afghanistan also helped create the
political vacuum that was filled by the Taliban and Islamic extremists, who
turned their deadly terrorism against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.
After the Soviet withdrawal, the CIA tried to buy back the weapons they
had supplied, but were largely unsuccessful."
At the end of the 60 Minutes profile on Charlie Wilson, Morley Safer said that Charlie felt that the U.S. was making the same mistake again and again; we were "changing the course of history" and then not helping to fix the situation after the war was over. Charlie felt that if Afghanistan was not fixed after 10 years of occupation, it could "fall into civil war and then become a home to terrorism."
As for Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden and 9/11/01, Charlie felt that a terrorist attack was inevitable: " 'We would have had something like 9/11 anyways. I think that bin Laden had his course pretty well set... But when you fight a war, you do what you think you need to do at the time. What seems right at the time is what you do,' Wilson says."
Question: Should little-known Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson be considered a hero of the Cold War? Why or why not? Give some specifics from the videos that we've seen or article links that I've provided.
CNN interview with Charlie Wilson, retired Congressman: http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Movies/04/23/charlie.wilson/index.html