Remembering Charlie Wilson

February 12, 2010 By Colleen Hussey

The passing of former Congressman Charlie Wilson (D-TX, 1973-1996) marks a significant loss in the community of champions and friends of the International Affairs Budget. The Congressman’s commitment to a smart power approach to foreign policy, particularly in regards to Afghanistan, was highlighted in the film “Charlie Wilson’s War.”

Congressman Wilson served as a USGLC Advisor, and in August of 2008, he wrote a compelling piece in The Washington Post stressing the importance of development and diplomacy to national security.  He wrote: “If we had done the right thing in Afghanistan then — following up our military support with the necessary investments in diplomacy and development assistance — we would have better secured our own country’s future, as well as peace and stability in the region.”

Praising Wilson’s contribution to U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, “After the Soviets left, Charlie kept fighting for the Afghan people and warned against abandoning that traumatized country to its fate — a warning we should have heeded then, and should remember today.”