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December 21, 2007

"Charley Wilson's War"

See this movie!  The book, written by George Crile, has stayed with me since I read it shortly after it came out in 2003.   It is an amazing story of how three individuals working together, under a president whose philosophy supported them, managed to get the U.S. entangled in a covert war.  The trailer for the movie gives me hope that it will do this story proud.  The early reviews are very good - a funny, political movie, directed by Mike Nichols and written by Aaron Sorkin.

One Congressman, one wealthy right-wing socialite, and a grizzled old CIA operative saw a way to help a plucky group of Afghani cowboy-like characters oust the Soviets from Afghanistan and deliberately weaken them.  It worked.  They were able to destabilize the Soviet Union, contributing mightily to its break-up.   

The CIA provided money and weapons that enabled the mujahideen to defeat the Soviet Union and the Communist government it was supporting in a humiliating fashion.  It also strengthened the role of the warlords who have ruled Afghanistan ever since.  The war helped provide a fertile ground that attracted and nurtured radical Islamists and Arabs from all over the Middle East - people like Osama bin Laden of Saudi Arabia and Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri of Eqypt and Abdullah Azzam, born in Palestine.    With the defeat of the puppet Communist government of Babrak Karmal, conditions were set to enable the Taliban and al Queda to sweep across Afghanistan into positions of power and influence in Afghanistan and dismantle centuries of culture (as they are again set to do, BTW). 

We pretty much forgot all about Afghanistan until 9/11.  Those who feel they can interfere with impunity in the affairs of other countries tend to be careless.

But, forget for a moment about the subsequent destabilization of Afghanistan and Pakistan, 9/11, and the travesty of the Iraq War.  We get to see that show in technicolor in the main theatre.  Look for a while at the play going on in the much smaller, less frequented, theatre around the corner.   

The juxtaposition of this movie coming out with Putin's being named "Man of the Year", both this week, tickles my political funny-bone.  In a black kind of way.  From the moment I read the book, I was struck with how the Soviet leaders must be waiting patiently to strike back at the U. S. in retaliation for that humiliation.  At first, all looked great.  President Reagan was able to take credit for taking down the "evil empire".   But other nations have a greater sense of history. 

I have to think that former KGB agent and current President of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Putin is one of those.  Why should Russia help us in Iran, with the price of oil, or in any other way, when we played such a part in the humiliation of the loss in Afghanistan and the subsequent break-up of a superpower?  I don't think that we've seen the end of our karma for what Charley Wilson and his little gang of war promoters were able to accomplish in the 80's in Afghanistan.

I suspect that historians will look back and make this connection even if we don't now. 

Posted by Lynn Allen on December 21, 2007 at 09:55 AM in Media, National and International Politics | Permalink

Comments

The review in today's P-I indicates that Sorkin's screenplay originally included references to today's consequences of the US support of the Mujahadin. In fact, it is suggested that there was supposed to be an actor playing Osama bin Ladin (the 1980s "hero" version).

Whether it was Nichols or Sorkin or, more likely, the studio bosses who removed those references isn't mentioned.

Posted by: Neal Traven | Dec 21, 2007 10:41:51 AM

One of the most interesting scenes in the book came at the end, when they caught then retired Congressman Wilson's reaction to 9/11. Ka-chunk. The pieces of what he had helped set in place fall together for him.

I think he is still alive and suspect that any interview with him would be quite interesting. He was/is definitely a character but one with some progressive leanings.

Posted by: Lynn | Dec 21, 2007 11:12:29 AM

Report

24th June 2008

Dear Companions

I am readdressing with humble concern the report on the subject of the heaviest issue.
There is a necessity of immediate attention, accuracy, consideration and examinations of the conditions heretofore exposed.

On the fifty-fifth session, 7th September 2001, 11th plenary meeting, the UN General Assembly adopted the Resolution 55/282.
The General Assembly proclaimed the 21st of September of each year as the International Day of Peace.
The General Assembly also addressed the subsequent statement embodied in paragraph 3 of the aforementioned Resolution;

3. Invites all Member States, organisations of the United Nations system, regional and non-governmental organisations and individuals to commemorate, in an appropriate manner, the International Day of Peace, including through education and public awareness to co-operate with the United Nations in the establishment of the global ceasefire.

Considering the Provision of the UN Charter and taking into account the role of the above mentioned relevant resolution adopted by the competent organs of the United Nations, each State has the duty to comply in full and in good faith with its international obligations under the principles of International Law.
Non-violence, non-proliferation and global disarmament are of primary importance and essential conditions to ensure order and education within the International Community.

Bearing in mind the paramount importance that the faithful observance of international law subsume and considering in consequence that the prosperity and peace of the International Community are to a remarkable extent endangered, each State has the duty to co-operate with one another, irrespective of their differences in their political, economic and social systems, in the various spheres of international relations, in order to maintain international peace and security and to promote international stability and progress, the welfare of nations and international co-operation free from discrimination based on such differences.

Desiring to draw diligence and respect to the aforesaid objective and therefore to adopt and maintain collective effective measures for the prevention and removal of breaches and threats to the peace and to bring adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations, I have humbly requested the attention of national and international institutions or bodies disclosed into the present report, addressing the necessity to comply with the requirements that the resolution referred to above entails.

The institutions or bodies I do now raise objections to are heretofore reported.

o UN Security Council;
o UN General Assembly;
o UN Peace Building Commission;
o UN Non-Proliferation and Disarmament departments;
o UN Secretary General;
o UN Security Council Presidents;
o UN 193 Permanent Mission Representatives to the United Nations;
o The Vatican City in Rome;
o UN Spiritual Foundation;
o International Court of Justice;
o Court of Justice of the European Communities;
o The Council of the European Union;
o European Court of Human Rights;
o European Commission;
o Eurojust;
o Inter Parliamentary Union;
o Association of Secretary General of Parliaments;
o National Parliaments;
o World Embassies;
o Amnesty International Worldwide;
o Fundamental Rights Agency;
o NHS Mental Health Departments Worldwide;
o The White House, the President of the United States of America;
o The President of the United Kingdom;
o The President of the European Commission;
o The President of Zimbabwe;
o Russian Politician, Founder and Leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia
o Committee of the Regions of the European Union;
o European Social Committee;
o Office for Official Publication of the European Communities;
o The World Council of Religious Leaders;
o European Ombudsman;
o United Kingdom Ombudsman;
o His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales;
o Her Majesty the Queen Elisabeth the ii;
o UK Royal Court of Justice, 16 Judges informed;
o UK Inspectorate of Court Administration;
o UK House of Lords;
o UK House of Common;
o UK Ministry of Justice;
o UK Ministry of Defence;
o UK Her Majesty Stationery Office;
o UK Government Offices;
o UK London Government Communication Headquarters;
o UK London Local Government Association;
o UK Greater London Authority;
o UK London Foreign and Commonwealth Office;
o UK London Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration;
o UK London Improvement and Development Agency;
o UK London Cabinet Office;
o UK Security Service MI5;
o UK London Secret Intelligence Service;
o UK London Government Human Rights Unit;
o UK London Metropolitan Police Forces, Working for a Safer London;
o BBC News;
o First Minister and Deputy First Minister, UK, Belfast;
o Youth Justice board for England and Wales;

It is discernible that the institutions or bodies reported have neglected to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of national and international law can be maintained.

The cessation of violence and of any other form of abuse, corruption, maladministration and the eradication of conflict within the International Community are relevant factors consequently unattended.
Notwithstanding the fact that concrete and heavy situations are pressing upon the people of all States, political and religious conditions remain unchanged.

I do object contemporary arrangements.

A war of aggression constitutes a crime against the peace, for which there is responsibility under international law.
States shall settle their international disputes by non-violent means in such a manner that international peace, security and justice are not endangered.
All States shall pursue in good faith negotiations for the conclusion of a universal treaty on general and complete disarmament and strive to adopt appropriate measures to reduce and eradicate tensions and strengthen confidence among States.
The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breaches of the peace or act of aggression and shall make recommendation to maintain or restore international peace and security.

Notwithstanding the fact that the situations resulting from a violation of international law, also situations in which co-operation in the economic, political, social, cultural, educational and health fields is deprived of at the national and international scale, the disregard and contempt for human rights and fundamental freedoms and malfunction of the promotion and maintenance of the essential development of friendly relations between nations all do imply a violation of moral obligations, the establishment of the global ceasefire is to date by States neglected.

I do raise objections to States armaments.

To my Sons and Daughters: RISE UP, BE STRONG AND STAND IN PATIENT ENDURANCE!

Your Brother

Giuseppe Biundo

Posted by: Giuseppe Biondo | Jun 29, 2008 7:55:20 AM

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