Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
George Crile III was a friend of mine in 8th and 9th grade (1957-58). Very earnest and self-effacing kid. He came from a line of adventurous Criles, and, if you have read his 60 Minutes' resume, you've seen that he continued the tendency. I guess that I'm saying that I trust his research and judgment.

Having said that - I think that his book argues that the initial U.S. involvement in Afghanistan was quite weak - and, as someone remarked above, further weakened by corruption along the money trail. I don't doubt that Carter's administration started the process, but it needed some dedicated, focussed supporters to make it work.

I lived in Austin, Texas through most of the 60s and up to early 1971. We knew Charlie Wilson - remotely - as a blowhard good-ol'-boy state representative, but we also thought of him as an ally on labor and civil rights issues (however, he was - curiously to us - quiet about the war in Viet Nam). I was very surprised, though, when I read Crile's book to find how disciplined and consistent he was on the subject of support for the mujahideen. I can only ascribe that to Ms. Herring's influence.

As Sven notes, River Oaks is a separate world. I knew a few people from there - quite gracious in an indifferent sort of way. Surrounded by one of the grittiest metropolitan areas in the U.S., but serene in their insularity. It has been the home of many plots and schemes ever since the mid-60s at least (some time I'll write a diary about George H.W. Bush' Texas Water Plan from 1968-69).

Just for the heck of it, I'll side with Ted above in that the USSR played a better, and less brutal, role in the international arena than the U.S.A. back in the day. In Afghanistan in particular they tried - as the U.S. did initially in Viet Nam - to restrict their involvement to 'advisers'. Slight difference in strategic significance, however, with an insurgent Muslim population on the southern border of their own restive, Muslim-majority 'republics'. Boy, howdy, did they pay for their imperialist venture(s). Wonder what's in store for us USians.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (paulgspencer@gmail.com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 06:54:12 PM EST

Others have rated this comment as follows:


Occasional Series