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February 11, 2010

Charles Nesbitt Wilson (1933 - 2010)

160px-CharlieWilson.jpg

"Come on up and meet my girls". In the 1980s I saw him in person just once, chatting up people near a bank of pay phones on the first floor of the Longworth Building, where I worked. That's the only thing I remember that he said.

You simply watched him. You weren't hanging on every word. He was tall, jovial and charming, and leaned back and to one side when he talked. That day, he was having a good time--but to me he seemed smarter, more formidable and even more fun than the way Tom Hanks would play him twenty years later. You would have noticed him no matter what he had done for a living. He really didn't seem like a U.S. Representative (or that he cared whether he did).

Anyway, we had all heard that he had a good-looking staff of women in his office next door at the Rayburn Building. Some of us may have checked.

Eventually, though, people took Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson very seriously. See yesterday's AP piece in the Houston Chronicle. Two excerpts:

As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Wilson helped secure money for weapons and worked with then-CIA agents Gust L. Avrakotos and Mike Vickers to get them to the mujahedeen. The Soviets spent a decade battling the rebels before pulling the Red Army from Afghanistan in 1989.

Wilson left politics in 1996, after he no longer found it any fun.

Posted by JD Hull at February 11, 2010 11:59 PM

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