Former congressman Charlie Wilson of Texas died Wednesday at age 76, a Texas hospital said. The flamboyant congressman inspired the book and movie "Charlie Wilson's War," which told the story of Wilson's efforts to get weapons to mujahedeen fighters after Soviets invaded Afghanistan.
In the early 1980s, Wilson, a staunch anti-Communist, decided to help Afghan rebels in their war against the invading Soviet Union. Over several years, working behind the scenes, his efforts to raise funds through his defense subcommittee and to negotiate support from Middle Eastern countries helped the Afghans take the upper hand and eventually forced the Soviets out of the country.
Some people criticized the 2007 film because it didn't do much to highlight what happened in Afghanistan after the Soviets left: the Taliban's takeover of the country and al Qaeda's use of the nation as a base. Wilson was asked in 2008 about the consequences of helping the mujahedeen fighters. "I don't think there was a serious blowback," Wilson said. "I think there was the point that [author] George Crile made in the [book's] epilogue, that the Muslims saw that they took down one superpower and then the radical ones thought they could take down another one. But they're wrong."