I had to watch Charlie Wilsons War starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts for another journalism class and decided “Hey, it might be a good thing to have a response on!”
In the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War”, a story based on true story of East Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson, wealthy Texas woman Joanne Herring, the CIA Afghanistan team, led by Gust Avrakotos, and their U.S. funded covert war in which the United States supported Afghanistan in their fight against the invading and slaughtering Russian Soviet Union. The war, which started with the initial financial support of the United States of 5 million dollars and no outward military support, ended with a combined budget of 1 billion dollars, and the support of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Israel. The United States covertly allowed Afghanistan to fight the communist through supporting the mujahideen, or the “Freedom Fighters” of Afghanistan. The end quote of the movie by Charlie Wilson, “All these things have happened, and they were glorious…and then we fucked up the end game” has significant meaning. At the time, Wilson was referring to how so much support flowed into Afghanistan while they were fighting, but failed to help the country, in which half the population was under the age of 14, to rebuild and stabilize after the war had ended. However, in the long run, this quote and entire situation has taken on larger and longer lasting effects around the world.
The irony of the United States supporting Afghan “Freedom Fighters” a mere 30 years ago, is that today that many people from the same country are seen as terrorist and the U.S. is currently at war in Afghanistan. As was seen on the slide show from the New York Times and its accompanying story, the type of fighting in the country today is very much similar to the guerilla warfare that took place against the Russians. Only now it is against the United States and the occupation of the country by the U.S. Although the reasons for the occupations of the country are different, it is clear the Afghan people, especially certain sects, do not like their country being occupied by another country and will resort to any means necessary to fight back.
Another irony of this movie is the final quote by Wilson. If the world, especially the United States, had not turned its back on Afghanistan after the fighting had finished in the early 1980’s, perhaps terrorist groups would not have been able to brew in the country and feed off anti-American sentiment that was caused by the abandonment of the country. Perhaps if the United States had helped with money to rebuild schools for that half of the population under 14 and helped to rebuild the countries infrastructure, the United States would not be at war in the Middle East at all today. And today, when the U.S. faces a similar situation, both in Afghanistan and Iraq, perhaps the U.S. will not fuck up the end game as they did after the defeat of the Soviets, but will recognize its responsibility to finish what it started so that 30 years from the end of this war, the country will not again be asking why the U.S. did not stop something before it started, and why the United States again ran away from its responsibility.