Charlie Wilson's War is already in theaters across the US and if you're in China, its probably already showing up in your local DVD guy's suitcase. The movie is "based on a true story" about how a lowly and depraved Congressman from nowhere was moved enough to decide he wanted to actually do something with his position and then went about arming the Mujaheddin in their fight against the Soviets who had occupied Afghanistan. Its entertainment quality is high, with a great performance by Philip Seymor Hoffman and a good performance by Tom Hanks.
That said, none of the above is what drove me to write this entry, instead its about the message behind the movie, and since its a Sorkin project, you can be damn sure there's a message behind the movie. Maybe its not the message so much as circumstances that struck me. The movie plays up the fact that, at the time, one Rudy Guliani was working at the Justice Department, going after Congressmen who were using drugs and one of the individuals in his sights was none other than Charlie Wilson. At the same time, the mujaheddin used the weapons and the training supplied to them by Charlie Wilson to defeat the Russians, but many of them went on to join the Taliban or Al-Qaeda. Hmm, if Guliani would have only nailed Wilson back then, would we have Guliani Presidential candidate (failure) today? Would 9/11 have happened?
Going back to the message, with our current involvement in Afghanistan having disappeared from the front page of the news, one wonders if the failure of Wilson to build schools is meant as a hint to Americans that we need to look at what's going on in Afghanistan (and Iraq) today and think about rebuilding and not just the fighting. My own thoughts are on how easy it was/is for this individual, again a no-name Congressman on the right committees, to take a war from a small $5 million thing to a mega $1 billion operation. Is something like this still possible today?
So there is my bit of free association and muddled reactions to the movie...