Monday, January 07, 2008

Chalmers Johnson on "Charlie Wilson's War"

From the lapidary Jon Schwarz's "A Tiny Revolution":
"It makes the U.S. government look like it is populated by a bunch of whoring, drunken sleazebags, so in that sense it's accurate enough. But there are a number of things both the book and the film are suppressing."
Follow the links and read them, here...For instance:
"The author of this glowing account, [the late] George Crile, was a veteran producer for the CBS television news show '60 Minutes' and an exuberant Tom Clancy-type enthusiast for the Afghan caper. He argues that the U.S.'s clandestine involvement in Afghanistan was 'the largest and most successful CIA operation in history,' 'the one morally unambiguous crusade of our time,' and that 'there was nothing so romantic and exciting as this war against the Evil Empire.' Crile's sole measure of success is killed Soviet soldiers (about 15,000), which undermined Soviet morale and contributed to the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the period 1989 to 1991. That's the successful part.

"However, he never once mentions that the 'tens of thousands of fanatical Muslim fundamentalists' the CIA armed are the same people who in 1996 killed nineteen American airmen at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, blew a hole in the side of the U.S.S. Cole in Aden Harbor in 2000, and on September 11, 2001, flew hijacked airliners into New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon."
Just a minor oversight, due to an excess of high spirits, probably, right? Well, nooooo.The rest of the review, plus a thoughtful, useful side-bar are posted by TomGram.
Addendum: Jon Schwarz put up a second post reviewing "Charlie Wilson's war in which you'll find the following:
Reagan's Bargain/Charlie Wilson's War
by Peter W. Dickson, former CIA analyst

...surely the most glaring omission in the film is the fateful trade-off accepted by President Ronald Reagan when he agreed not to complain about Pakistan’s efforts to acquire a nuclear weapons capability in exchange for Pakistani cooperation in helping the Afghan rebels...

The movie producers evidently concluded that scenes of Wilson’s desperate efforts to cover up Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions would not look too good in the film, so that part of the story disappeared from the cinematic version of history...

Unfortunately, the glaring omissions tend to reinforce the triumph of a false narrative about the dismal record of American involvement in the Middle East, including the Reagan-Bush administration’s indifference, almost blasé attitude about the emergence of a Muslim nuclear bomb.
The latter, of course, stimulated me to wonder if there is a difference between a "Muslim" nuke, an "Israeli" nuke, and a non-sectarian nuke.

1 comment:

Nancy Willing said...

heh, my thought coming out of the movie was, what the hell are these people's politics. When I got home I looked up Hanks and Nichols' campaign donations.
Sure, yeah, OK. they are DEMs. But that movie was a cakewalk.

My sister thought the ending was 'too bleak'. And yet she seems to be well read [she gets three decent papers, they come to her house anyway, and all the right magazines).