ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

OK, So I'm Way Behind the Curve - "Charlie Wilson's War"

I had wanted to see "Charlie Wilson's War" when it came out last year but never got around to it. I rented it today, the first day it was available. It is a totally amazing movie and very hard to believe it came out of Hollywood.

Charlie Wilson, a Democratic congressman from Texas, nearly single-handedly orchestrated American policy in Soviet occupied Afghanistan during the mid and late 1980s. Through his tireless efforts the Afghans received the support they needed to defeat the Soviets. It is quite a story. "Charlie Did It" read the banner at CIA when it was all over.

Afghanistan and our role in the defeat of the Russians there in the 1980s is probably best known for the "blow-back" that has occurred when the Taliban and al Qaeda took power. This culminated in 9/11 and the war in which we now find ourselves.

That is to say that the argument is advanced today by those on the Left that it was wrong to aid Afghanistan because the blowback followed.

Just because something followed an action does not mean it was caused by the action. Something called ergo proctor hoc if I recall correctly, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now. Indeed jihad has followed the liberation of Afghanistan from the Soviets but was not necessarily caused by our aiding in that liberation.

The closing of the movie quotes Charlie Wilson, paraphrasing, that what we did was glorious and it changed the world, but we fucked up the end game.

How did we do that?

We dropped Afghanistan like a hot potato once the Russians were defeated. We left a void into which stepped the Taliban. As they say, the rest is history.

Is there a lesson there?

Perhaps a lesson we should remember as we decide our future in Iraq?

Your Co-Conspirator,

Comments (6)
Laugh said...

Hmmmm, great points but can't say I agree with your review. The movie was largely comprised of everyone standing around congratulating themselves on being so crafty. It had its moments, and Philip Seymour Hoffman was, of course, great, but the truth is actually WAY cooler than the Hollywood version of it. I hate to be THAT guy, but check out the book. It really is an amazing story.

St Wendeler said...

Excellent post, John.

The Moonbat Left (not the tiny Scoop-Jackson portion of the party) uses the "blowback" from Afghanistan in their arguments because they never thought we should've fought (or aided those fighting) the Soviet communists. (I recall John Kerry aggressively arguing against O'Neil on Dick Cavett's show against sending money and materiel to the S. Vietnamese regime even if there were no US troops in country.)

Your connection of what happened in Afghanistan to what could happen in Iraq should Pres Obama pull the plug is on target - and too obvious for those on the Left to comprehend.

St Wendeler said...

Forgot this link to the Dick Cavett show and transcript.

This paragraph seems similar to current conversations about Iraq - ie, if we just leave, the killing will stop.

The question really is this: Is the United States of America determined to leave Vietnam, and if we are determined to leave Vietnam - which I believe the president has shown some indications of because he has withdrawn troops. We don't deny that. What we say is the troops can be withdrawn faster. What we say is the killing can stop tomorrow, and it can stop if the president of the United States will set a date certain for the withdrawal for all United States combat and advisory troops from South Vietnam.

It would seem that in the Left's view, the surest way to stop any killing is simply surrender - regardless of the actual historical facts from France in 1940, to Korea in 1953, to Vietnam in 1975,and to Afghanistan in 1989.

In reality, apropriate strategery and tactics can prevail against any enemy, as has been demonstrated with the Surge.

Monterey John said...

Laugh of course is right, reality is better than a movie.

As it happens, I did read the book after seeing the author on Imus (remember Imus?)four years ago or so. It is a fabulous book.

Nonetheless, this is a GOOD movie. sorkin really knows how to write and Nichols to direct. You KNOW Charlie Wilson when the story is over. And that was the point of the movie.

Charlie Wilson is worth knowing.

Brian said...

I wonder what Charlie thinks about the current war in Iraq? He's still alive, how come noone has asked him?

patrick said...

Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are a classic combination... Charlie Wilson's War made me feel better about U.S. foreign intervention, it seemed to work out, though that time our intervention was in response to another country's invasion