About Andrew Eiva:
If Afghanistan was the bomb that blew the feet out from under the Soviet Empire,
Andrew Eiva was the spark that lit the fuse that set the thing off. Stuffed in his
backpack, as he hitchhiked to Washington DC, was the blueprint
for American support for resistance movements. It was and is a remarkable vision that Jezail.org still stands for. But every step from that point on was a struggle for Eiva. A West Point graduate and former Special Forces captain, Eiva rose to the challenge.
His remarks became a part of the Republican platform. He formed and helped form
several grassroots committees which began to lobby and shape a vision of an American
capability to effectively support freedom and resistance movements around the world.
His own organization, The Federation for American Afghan Action, fought Washington
inertia and opposition to the notion of supporting the Afghan Resistance. Eiva was determined to resurrect an awareness of the asymmetric properties of unconventional warfare and make it work for America. It became a
bare-knuckle brawl that played out before the US Congress. Eiva tried to do
legally for Afghanistan what his contemporary, Oliver North, did illegally for
Nicaragua. He lobbied, agitated and stumped, appearing in prayer groups, auditoriums and demonstrations across the country. In contrast to the secret Contra supply program, Eiva went to the Congress and the American people with a uniquely bipartisan
organization and openly made his case for the support of the Afghan Resistance. Both
Democrats and Republicans supported him. For a time it worked.
However, he made powerful enemies among the American political leadership and elites. The
CIA absolutely hated him. The Pentagon hated him. The military industrial complex could see no way to profit from his vision. Then there was Congressman Charlie Wilson who
pushed his way into steering Afghan policy from his place on the Appropriations
Committee. In Charlie Wilson's War, the late George Crile paints a picture that completely
overlooks the real policy debate. It wasn't long before Wilson and the CIA
snuffed out the crucial issue of supply with bluster, false bravado and carefully orchestrated news accounts. CIA officers now claim to have done
things that, in fact, Eiva did before them. Wilson is silently repentant. It's too bad because Eiva was and is a visionary who did many good things.
Had it not been for Eiva, the CIA would have gone on with a half-hearted supply effort,
dooming the Afghan Resistance to a bloody failure. It was Eiva who prompted the Congress and
the relevant committees to start asking questions about what was and was not
happening with the Afghan arms pipeline. Eiva directly accused the CIA of wanting to
perpetuate the war in Afghanistan rather than win it, which the CIA hotly, if
unconvincingly, denied. The Congress acted, passing S. Con. Res. 74 and H. Con Res.
237 which demanded action to win in Afghanistan. With the passage of those two bills,
both houses of the Congress had mandated that it was not enough to supply the Afghan
Resistance with only enough arms to fight and die; it was now necessary to supply
them with enough arms to win against the Soviets. The Congress had mandated action in spite of CIA active resistance.
Through various front
organizations and direct lobbying, the CIA tried to water down the language of the two bills but they passed
unanimously and the thing was decided. Eiva had won. However, Charlie Wilson and the CIA's Gust
Avrakotos took that mandate to mean that they could turn the policy into an
international shopping expedition for arms which, in turn, were simply handed over to
Pakistan's ISI to distribute. It was a highly questionable decision to trust
Pakistan to distribute arms without corruption and meddling. But Wilson and
Avrakotos were insistent. Director Casey and senior CIA management were certainly aware of a problem. But they were so contemptuous of the Congress that, at a time when they were preoccupied with supplying the Contras in defiance of Congressional law, the CIA management was willing to risk or allow an Afghan failure and savor a Congressional embarrassment.
Eiva then became a gadfly, and fought doggedly against Pakistani distribution, suggesting
an air program to supply arms directly to effective Afghan Commanders and bypass
Pakistani meddling and corruption. Imagine that! A deeply conservative anti-Communist unites Democrats in Congress, then firmly opposed to a conservative war in Nicaragua, to join with Republicans to unanimously support a war against Communism in Afghanistan. He then turns to criticize the same program that he was instrumental in creating! Many times Eiva bit hands that fed him. For that simple act of courage, Eiva was branded as a maniac. (Take a look at the original documents below and judge for yourself.)
Eiva's doubts about the arms supply program's implementation
were, again, met with scorn and derision. His critics were, again, CIA brass, Avrakotos and Wilson (who
enjoyed bragging that Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was a good friend). And even though Eiva approved of Hekmatyar as a fighter, he was principally interested in seeing arms
go directly from the US into the hands of effective field commanders,
bypassing the political factions in Pakistan, Hekmatyar, and their ISI handlers.
He dared to suggest a program to fly arms into Afghanistan, in the same manner as the secret supply line to the Contras. He did so before the cover was blown off the Oliver North-led operation to support the Contras. This was completely unacceptable to Avrakotos and the CIA brass. Even though the CIA was well aware of the Contra pipeline, they came up with
one weak argument after another against air supply until they finally gave up and resorted to slandering
and sliming Eiva.
Long before CIA officer Michael G. Vickers came up with his weapons list, Eiva and a young
Special Forces Captain, Lance Motley, (who was later killed fighting with the Karen
resistance), came up with a weapons list for the Congress to look over and approve for
the resistance. There were also many other people who were advocates of the program but
were also critics of its implementation. Among them were Dr. Charles Moser, and Dr. Edward Luttwak. This is exactly what CIA Director William Casey and CIA senior management hated. The CIA hated
criticism and Congressional oversight. They proved it with their infamous secret program to supply the Nicaraguan
guerrillas bypassing the Congress' law and public doubts. Under the CIA's bullheaded direction, the Afghan arms
pipeline was to continue as an enormous American shopping expedition for a Pakistani ground
operation whose monstrous results are now well understood.
Eiva, on the other hand, pushed for his supply effort legally by creating
an effective, grass roots legislative instrument to petition Congress and battle CIA management (which
was more daunting than anything the Soviets had to throw at him). CIA brass responded by
creating a rumor that Eiva was a Communist disinformation agent and by misinterpreting
most of Eiva's arguments without ever giving him a shot at a fair debate. They often accomplished this through front organizations that were more interested in CIA bureaucratic priorities than the Afghan Resistance that those same organizations claimed to support. It was the
kind of Swift Boat sliming that the Bush administration is now famous for. In the fullness of time, it is especially ironic to contrast the CIA claim that Eiva was some kind of Communist agent when at that exact time, the CIA was failing to detect three historic security breeches, Vitaly Yurchenko, Edward Lee Howard, and Aldrich Ames. That myth was continued as recently as 2003 when George Crile helped old hands of the CIA rewrite history by misrepresenting Eiva, and largely writing his work
out of history with a few pejorative remarks in Charlie Wilson's War.
It is a shame because Eiva's story is one
that all Americans can take pride in. His story is helpful because it supports the
notion that vigorous citizenship is badly needed in Washington and that it can work.
What Eiva did accomplish was no small feat. From thin air he helped build a grassroots movement and built an organization that had a breathtaking 20 year downrange vision. He is an
American original whose accomplishments Mr. Wilson and the late Mr. Avrakotos would love to
Jezail.org is proud to present some documentation of some of Eiva's efforts in the
profound hope that America will rediscover his message.
Eiva_1 - Republican Platform Remarks - 5.2mb pdf
Eiva_2 - Objectives, FAAA Overview, FAAA Mass - 4.8mb pdf
Eiva_3 - Legislation, Lobbying - 12.6mb pdf
Eiva_4 - CIA Accountability - 5.7mb pdf
Eiva_5 - Afghan Updates as we can find them - 27.8mb pdf
Eiva_6 - Afghan Trip - 4.3mb pdf
Eiva_7 - Funding Proposal FAAA - 2.1mb pdf