LOGIN

Former CIA Prodigy in ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ Pens Book, Urges US Support for Ukraine

by Chloe Baker
4 comments
US support for Ukraine

After the departure of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989, following their defeat by U.S.-supported insurgents, the CIA received a concise cable at their headquarters: “WE WON.” This pivotal moment in the waning days of the Cold War is often credited with hastening the collapse of the Soviet Union two years later. However, the aftermath left Afghanistan embroiled in civil war, eventually transforming into a training ground for al-Qaida and the stage for a two-decade conflict that culminated in the United States’ withdrawal and perceived defeat.

Decades later, one of the architects behind the covert strategy against the Soviets, Michael Vickers, has released a memoir titled “By All Means Available.” In his book, he calls on President Joe Biden’s administration to provide increased support to Ukraine in its resistance against Russia. Vickers also reflects on the lessons that can be learned from past missteps and overlooked warnings in Afghanistan.

Additional News:

  1. New US report reveals State Department’s failure to plan or respond promptly during the collapse of Afghanistan.
  2. Pakistani security forces claim killing an Islamic State commander during a raid on a militant hideout.
  3. UN reports over 1,000 civilian casualties in Afghanistan due to attacks since the Taliban takeover.
  4. Taliban leader asserts that women in Afghanistan are living comfortable and prosperous lives.

Vickers gained recognition in the 2007 film “Charlie Wilson’s War,” which depicted the secretive U.S. operations in Afghanistan during the 1980s. In the movie, Vickers is portrayed as the CIA’s expert in weaponry, swiftly understanding the needs of the American-backed mujahideen fighters. He is also depicted as a prodigious individual who effortlessly defeats multiple chess opponents without looking at their boards. However, Vickers clarifies that while he doesn’t actually play chess, he grew up participating in football and baseball.

The Biden administration has already extended $40 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, along with intelligence support. However, the administration has withheld certain missile systems and aircraft requested by Ukraine to avoid escalating the conflict into a direct war with Russia.

Vickers argues that the United States should do more to help Ukraine secure victory in the war and deliver a severe blow to Moscow. He emphasizes that vague statements like “We’ll be with them as long as it takes” do not equate to a commitment to help Ukraine win. Vickers asserts that prompt assistance should be provided rather than delayed.

Ukraine has initiated a long-awaited counteroffensive, which Western officials believe is making gradual progress. Approximately 20% of Ukrainian territory is thought to be under Russian control.

Russian President Vladimir Putin appears weakened following a failed mutiny by Wagner Group mercenaries who briefly occupied a military headquarters in a southern city and advanced towards Moscow before reaching a settlement.

Vickers acknowledges that the recent insurrection and resulting turmoil in Moscow create an opportunity for the Biden administration. However, he believes it is necessary to wait and see how events unfold.

Vickers, the son of an Army Air Corps pilot who served in World War II, grew up in California and was the first in his family to attend college. During his final semester, he decided to pursue a career with the CIA and became an Army Green Beret before joining the agency in 1983 at the age of 30.

Just over a year later, Vickers was summoned to the office of Gust Avrakotos, the leader of the CIA’s Afghanistan task force. At that time, Soviet troops had been in Afghanistan for five years, ostensibly supporting the communist government in the civil war.

In Avrakotos’ office, Vickers recalls seeing a “mannequin of a Soviet soldier wearing a gas mask, holding an AK-47 assault rifle, and outfitted in full combat gear.” This visual reminder emphasized that the Soviet-Afghan War was being waged without many restrictions.

The CIA assembled a diverse group to arm the Afghan insurgents, who utilized U.S.-supplied machine guns, mines, anti-tank weapons, and anti-aircraft weapons against the better-equipped Soviets. Saudi Arabia provided financial support for weapons and ammunition purchases from Egypt and China, which were then transported through Pakistan into Afghanistan. Representative Charlie Wilson of Texas played a pivotal role in securing hundreds of millions of dollars in covert U.S. funding.

Vickers states that he oversaw the shipment of deadlier weapons, increased training for resistance fighters, and intensified covert influence campaigns. The first year under his direction, 1985, proved to be the bloodiest year of the war, resulting in over 4,000 Soviet troops losing their lives.

“In less than a year, I had transitioned from participating in operations to directing a secret war on an unimaginable scale,” Vickers reflects. “Only within the CIA could such a transformation occur.”

The mounting casualties compelled the Soviets to withdraw gradually from the conflict, transferring responsibility to the local communist government until their complete departure in 1989.

Vickers left the CIA soon after and pursued endeavors in business and academia. However, after the September 11, 2001, attacks, he returned to government service. He played a significant role as a top Defense Department official under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, participating in operations such as eliminating al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, managing the surge and subsequent drawdown of American troops in Afghanistan, and countering the rise of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

The initial successes in Afghanistan with the U.S.-led invasion were followed by a prolonged insurgency, allowing the Taliban to regain strength. The war ultimately culminated in the failure of the U.S.-backed government in Kabul and a disorderly and violent withdrawal in August 2021, which continues to evoke anger in Washington.

Remarkably, a figure from the anti-Soviet resistance in the 1980s, Jalaluddin Haqqani, emerged as a prominent leader. His son, Sirajuddin, now leads the Haqqani Network, responsible for attacks on U.S. soldiers and Afghan civilians. Sirajuddin currently serves as the interior minister in the Taliban-led government.

Vickers contends that by the end of President Obama’s term, the United States had reached an effective stalemate in Afghanistan. He criticizes former President Donald Trump for striking what he refers to as a “surrender agreement” with the Taliban and President Biden for carrying out the withdrawal.

Vickers remains a influential voice on matters involving Russia in Washington. He previously advocated for deterring Moscow by deploying combat aircraft to Europe and providing anti-armor and anti-aircraft weapons, as was done in the 1980s.

Contrary to initial predictions, Ukraine has resisted Moscow’s anticipated swift takeover. Instead of a guerrilla conflict, the situation has escalated into a conventional war, with both sides entrenched across extensive stretches of territory.

Vickers points out the similarities between the conflicts in Afghanistan and Ukraine, particularly their common adversary in Moscow. He asserts that after the war concludes, the United States must assist in rebuilding Ukraine and establishing security guarantees, as neglecting these aspects could lead to undesirable consequences, as witnessed in Afghanistan.

He acknowledges the remarkable resilience demonstrated by Ukrainians in rallying around their national identity and defending their territory and politics. However, he emphasizes that the situation is currently a crisis and an existential threat, necessitating vigilance and preparedness for various potential outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about US support for Ukraine

What is the book “By All Means Available” about?

“By All Means Available” is a memoir written by Michael Vickers, one of the architects behind the CIA’s covert strategy against the Soviets in Afghanistan. The book discusses the need for increased US support for Ukraine against Russia and reflects on past mistakes in Afghanistan.

What role did Michael Vickers play in the CIA’s operations in Afghanistan?

Michael Vickers, portrayed as the CIA’s weapons expert in the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War,” was involved in arming the Afghan insurgents against the Soviets. He oversaw the shipment of weapons, increased training for resistance fighters, and directed covert influence campaigns.

What does Michael Vickers suggest in his book regarding Ukraine?

In his book, Vickers calls on President Joe Biden’s administration to provide more support to Ukraine in its resistance against Russia. He argues that the US should help Ukraine win the war and deliver a significant blow to Moscow.

What are some similarities between the conflicts in Afghanistan and Ukraine?

According to Vickers, both conflicts share common adversaries in Moscow. He emphasizes that the US must not overlook the importance of rebuilding Ukraine and establishing security guarantees after the war, as neglecting these aspects could lead to undesirable consequences similar to what happened in Afghanistan.

What are some key events mentioned in the text?

The text mentions the departure of Soviet troops from Afghanistan, the aftermath of the Afghan war, the US support in the Afghan conflict, the failures and withdrawals from Afghanistan, and the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

More about US support for Ukraine

You may also like

4 comments

LiteraryLover July 5, 2023 - 8:21 am

“By All Means Available” seems like an intriguing memoir that explores the consequences of past actions in Afghanistan and the call for increased support for Ukraine. I wonder what lessons we can learn from history and how it relates to current geopolitical challenges.

Reply
HistoryNerd101 July 5, 2023 - 4:31 pm

wait, so the us helped the mujahideen fight the soviets in the 80s?? i had no idea! and now this michael vickers guy wants the us to help ukraine? sounds like a complex situation. need to do more research on this!

Reply
LiteraryLover July 7, 2023 - 7:23 am

“By All Means Available” seems like an intriguing memoir that explores the consequences of past actions in Afghanistan and the call for increased support for Ukraine. I wonder what lessons we can learn from history and how it relates to current geopolitical challenges.

Reply
HistoryNerd101 July 7, 2023 - 12:31 pm

wait, so the us helped the mujahideen fight the soviets in the 80s?? i had no idea! and now this michael vickers guy wants the us to help ukraine? sounds like a complex situation. need to do more research on this!

Reply

Leave a Comment

logo-site-white

BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News

en_USEnglish