billion with a ‘b’) dollar secret program to aid the Afghan mujahideen in the ’80s. There is some debate about whether bin Laden and the other ‘Afghan Arabs’ who formed al Qaeda received US money or only matching funds from Saudi Arabia through this program. (The Saudi government claims to have stopped directly funding bin Laden in 1989.)
I haven’t read the book yet, and after reading a review of it on Exile.ru, I’ll probably borrow it rather than buy it. (If you’re not familiary with The Exile, it’s a site run by US expats in Moscow; worth checking out if you’re not too bothered by foul language, cynicism and nihilism.):
“The author, George Crile, is hopelessly infatuated with his subject, and scolds Wilson as unconvincingly as Aunt Polly dressing down Tom Sawyer. In fact, Crile loves the whole filthy DC world: every fascist spook, tyrant’s bagman and rightwing nutcase.”
Of particular interest regarding the US’s possible miscalculation in Iraq is one-note regime-change expert Richard Perle’s guest appearance.