Tag Archives: Soviet Union

Goodtime Charlie Wilson cashes his check

Some months back, I attended a convention on behalf of my employer. One of the honored guest speakers was former Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson. Wilson, whose story was Hollywoodized in Charlie Wilson’s War, died today at the age of 76.

Wilson was primarily famous for two things: fucking anything he could catch, and funneling arms to the Afghani mujahedeen during the country’s war against the Soviet Union. Those of us unfortunate enough to be stuck in the room during Wilson’s speech were regaled by tales of how he ignored the law, bullied, end-ran, lied and cheated to get what he wanted, and I mean all this literally. Wilson was as proud of flaunting the law as he was of his lifelong pursuit of women with obvious esteem issues. Read more

Triumph and tragedy: LIFE and the Space Race

Part five in a series.

LIFE’s portrayal of the space race represented, in most respects, a logical extension of its war coverage. Many of the space program’s early goals were military in nature, and as in World War II, technology was once again both demon and messiah, depending on whether it was theirs or ours.

. . .Sputnik proved that there were great military, as well as scientific, advances in the U.S.S.R. Getting their heavy satellite up meant that Russia had developed a more powerful rocket than any the U.S. had yet fired and substantial Soviet claims of success with an intercontinental missile. Putting Sputnik into a precise orbit meant Russia had solved important problems of guidance necessary to aim its missiles at U.S. targets. The satellite could also be the forerunner of a system of observation posts which would watch the U.S. unhindered and with deadly accuracy (10/21/57, 24). Read more

Condi’s way-back machine

At first I was tempted to take Condoleezza Rice’s “no thanks” to a Congressional subpoena as yet another example of executive branch arrogance. But then I realized that’s she’s actually very busy … resurrecting the Cold War?

OSLO, April 26 — Brusquely dismissing protests by Russian officials, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said here on Thursday that a missile-defense system the United States plans to install in Poland and the Czech Republic would pose no danger to the security of Russia.

“The idea that somehow 10 interceptors and a few radars in Eastern Europe are going to threaten the Soviet strategic deterrent is purely ludicrous, and everybody knows it,” Ms. Rice said before a meeting of NATO foreign ministers expected to focus on the missile-defense dispute. Read more