Academics label Charlie Wilson too 'gung-ho'





Good time Charlie, the hard-drinking, skirt-chasing Texan politician played by Tom Hanks in the film Charlie Wilson’s War, is facing a new battle.

Plans to endow a Charlie Wilson chair in Pakistan studies at the University of Texas have riled the college’s liberal academics, who feel he is too “gung-ho” to be a role model for students.

They say Wilson’s support for Afghans fighting Soviet occupiers during the 1980s, when he covertly funnelled American government aid to the mujaheddin, led to the rise of the Taliban and its allies in al-Qaeda. “ It is outrageous,” said Dana Cloud, professor of communications at the university. “I thought it was a joke.”

Cloud, who is spearheading a global online petition against the chair, said that if the university did not abandon the plan, she would organise demonstrations by professors with placards. “A Charlie Wilson chair brings our university into ridicule,” she said. “I do not know one serious scholar who would take such a post.”


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