Thursday, May 08, 2008

Who's War is it Anyway?

It is often said that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. It's hard to watch "Charlie Wilson's War" and not think that we could very easily make the same mistake in Iraq.

I want our boys to come home, but I don't want to leave the same power vacuum that we left in Afghanistan after we helped the Afghan Mujahideen defeat the Soviets. "Charlie Wilson's War" is the amazing story of Charlie Wilson (played by Tom Hanks) who was a Representative from Texas who, almost single-handedly, helped fund our backing of the Afghan freedom fighters who were fighting against the Soviet Union at the end of the cold war.

It's one of those movies that doesn't hide all of the personal weaknesses and personality flaws of the main character, yet you like him anyway. In fact, you like him because he is flawed and because of his principals. Yes, he may take drugs, drink to much, cavort with any woman he can, but he is also moved by the injured children and the poor women of Afghanistan. You have to love a man like that. Because he acts with passion - both good and bad.

Angie and I enjoyed this movie a great deal. We commented at the end that two hours after starting the movie, we were smarter for watching it.

I just hope that we don't abandon Iraq, and "let the crazies take over" as we did in Afghanistan. If you aren't aware, and the movie touches upon it briefly, it is likely that our abandonment of Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the Soviet army is how the Taliban took power and how the country became a training ground and planning location for al-Qaida.

At the end of the movie, after we spent billions helping the Afghans fight the Soviets, Wilson tries to get a measly one million dollars to build schools. He is told, "no one gives a shit about schools". Too bad we were so short sighted.

Let's hope we learn from that history.


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