December 22, 2007

Charlie Wilson's War

For my entire childhood in Texas Charlie Wilson was my congressman. I have yet to see the movie in which he is portrayed by Tom Hanks but I can heartily recommend the book on which the movie is based. It's the story of how one congressman from a district of no special importance managed to get the United States involved in a covert war that played a major part in bringing down the USSR and how that involvement ultimately gave rise to the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden's brand of fundamentalism. My guess is that at each step from which the story is removed from the man, the story is diminished, although perhaps these versions are more believable than the truth which is outrageous enough to seem fictional.

Wilson lived down the road from my first childhood home, and although he was rarely around, he was hard to miss when he was in town. He often held court on Saturday mornings at local breakfast spots like the Hot Biscuit and the Holiday Inn and if you were anywhere in earshot of his table you would inevitably catch loud profane tales of Washington skullduggery... And then there were always whispers about his various girlfriends around town. If you're curious about the man, he's profiled in today's Washington Post in an article titled "Charlie Wilson Sticks to His Guns". A football coach in Lufkin once said of Wilson, "You either love the fella or you hate him, he'll be re-elected unless he kills someone so you might as well love him. Hell, he might have already killed someone, with Charlie you never know."

Sidenote: The Post article mentions his campaign ads, which I remember fondly for their pure outlandishness. This is a somewhat tame selection. I hope someone digs up some of his earlier ads.

posted at 11:55 PM by raul

Filed under: film

TAGS: book (7) campaign ads (1) charlie wilson (1) movie (2)


12/23/07 12:56 PM

It's hard to believe that this movie is glorifying Terrorism, Covert Wars, Illegal Drug Use, Corrupt Politicians and the Breaking of International Laws all at once....but it just might be.

By reading Rotten one will read "Charlie's partner in this uphill endeavor is CIA Agent Gust Avrakotos (Hoffman), a blue-collar operative in a company of Ivy League blue bloods. Together, the three of them--Charlie, Joanne and Gust--travel the world to form unlikely alliances among the Pakistanis, Israelis, Egyptians, arms dealers, law makers and a belly dancer."

But you don't read about Tom Hanks and Julia's characters recruiting a Saudi Arabian man to lead their joint venture, by the name of Osama Bin Laden.

If America has forgotten so quickly, go back and read about a leader of the Afghani Resistance against the Russians. Yep, Charlie Wilson helped train, educate and fund Osama Bin Laden...and look what Osama Bin Laden has done since Charlie Wilson found him.

You would think that Hollywood and anyone with a brain would rather educate people. Glorifying Charlie Wilson, Osama Bin Laden and Joanne Herring is wrong. Many people don't know that Joanne Herring is part of the Johnson Family that owns Kellogg, Brown and Root and DynCorp Private Contracting Groups. Who would have thought huh?

My advice, read about these scum in books or on-line. By the way, the book Charlie Wilson’s War is rather dry and isn‘t worth the paper its written on if you asked me, but you get an idea of what went on during that time period.

My Advice, don't watch movies that glorify Terrorism and the people who get rich off Wars against Terrorism. Those who seek to impose their own ideology and want nothing else but to be powerful should rott in hell.

Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth.

12/23/07 06:11 PM

Surfed in via Google. I also have not yet seen the movie... Hindsight is 20/20. I read the book as a cautionary tale about unintended consequences. I would argue the biggest tragedy portrayed in the book was the abandonment of the Afghans after the Soviets were expelled creating lawless vacuum that allowed for the rise of the Taliban. Whatever else you might say about Wilson, after the expulsion of the Russians he was one of the few voices in support of aide to the Afghan people. If Congress had listened to him, much of what happened afterwards might be very different.

The person above I am willing to bet is a conspiracy theorist. The story of Mr. Wilson shows exactly the opposite: how individuals with strong egos can change the world... for better and for worse. The fact that Wilson was amoral and somewhat corrupt is precisely what makes him fodder for a film. Corruption is entertaining. People don't watch movies about the FBI, the watch moves about the mob.

Final thought. I wonder if joe mama lived through the Soviet Era. I'm 51. It was a different age. The Russians killed around 1.5 million Afghans. Supporting the resistance was as liberal a cause as any. I believe of all the anti-communist wars that was the one in which The United States was most justified. Of course ultimately victory was squandered which fueled Islamic militantism, and our current disgraceful situation.

12/26/07 03:54 PM

I know nothing about Charlie Wilson but to joe mama's point that it's hard to believe that a movie glorifies terrorism et cetera I wonder if he's ever seen scarface, or apocalypse now, or even 101 dalmatians... bad people are the fun ones to watch.

Add your thoughts: