Charlie Wilson's War & The Beauty Parlor Reaganites
Former Reagan officials are angry about the new Tom Hanks movie, Charlie Wilson's War. They say it aggrandizes how much a mere Texas Rep, a Democrat!, helped the Afghanis to forcibly eject Soviet occupiers. They dispute how much credit "the Avocado," CIA agent Gust Avrakatos, deserves for devising effective insurgency tactics. They claim Wilson and Avocado actively resisted sending Stinger missiles to the tribes, finally being overruled by Cap Weinberger, certified Cold War Hero. A blog called "Libertas" is one of many piling on the trope:
Sorry, Hollywood, THIS (Ronald Reagan) is the man who won the Cold War you wanted us to lose, not some cocaine-snorting, whore-mongering, alcoholic liberal… It was this man, the people who served him, Pope John Paul, Margaret Thatcher, the people in Eastern Europe who rose and followed the likes of Lech Walesa, our brave military, and a man named Ollie North who also sent covert arms to freedom fighters, but there will be no movies about him…I'd love to see a movie about Ollie North! One which depicts a moral compass Heinrich Himmler would've loved, although of course the pic would have nothing to do with defeating the Soviets in Afghanistan. That's why there's a movie about a cocaine-snorting, whore-mongering alcoholic liberal who delivered enough money to a wholly insubordinant, down-and-dirty CIA agent to blow up every Russian in the country, an agent whom the Republicans hated, feared, and tried to get rid of. At one point, Avocado controlled 70% of the CIA's discretionary budget for the entire world. On top of that, Wilson and Bill Casey got the Saudi government to match the US funding buck-for-buck.
The bad liberals begged for Stinger missiles to give to the mujahedin, and it was the Reagan Administration which wouldn't send them. It was the Reagan Administration which held up the shipment of sniper rifles for nearly 5 years on fears they would be used to target Russian generals. (Finally the rifles were sent, but without the night vision goggles needed to make them effective.) It was the Reagan Administration which held back the good stuff, fearing it would offend Gorbachev.
Wilson and Avrakatos were flawed bit players who thought up a solution and pursued it with single-minded determination. Just pawns, really, of Zbigniew Brzenski's 1980 plan to stick Afghanistan up the same Commie ass which took his native Poland and killed family members and friends. (Z-Big was Carter's national security advisor.) Still, the grasping and whining from people widely praised for engineering a "Morning in America" (which, if it existed at all, was made possible by hard policies of their predecessors), is beyond unbecoming. It's yet another unfortunate confirmation that duplicitous, perpetually insecure glory-whores rarely change. Reagan's whores claim the movie is liberally biased, a low blow to conservatives because the screenplay was written by Aaron Sorkin, the creator of two Liberal Wet Dream White Houses portrayed on television series "The West Wing" and in Michael Douglas movie "The American President." Clearly, Aaron Sorkin wants all Republicans to be lined up against a wall and shot, ergo speaks with forked tongue.
That the Reaganistas are not remembered for treating Afghanistan like a snotty Kleenex while basking in political glory is too bad. Once the Russians pulled out, the Tough Guys were too timid and dim-witted to maintain any presence and funding. In their stupidity, they did not rebuild Afghanistan, preferring to create a power vacuum into which were sucked the spores of the Taliban. Kool-Aiders will claim stability wasn't their responsibility, they couldn't have known it would go bad, the Cold War was won anyway, the Taliban wasn't formed until the Clinton years, yadda yada. Of course, that's also saying ignorance of basic statecraft is wonderful. In keeping with Republican style.
Meanwhile, after the Russkies hauled ass, a rich Saudi national named Osama bin Laden (OBL) stayed on in Afghanistan to build roads, dams, and schools, to further promulgate the Muslim reformation (Al-Qaeda), and to build a network so loyal to him that he hasn't been turned in despite a $40 million reward. Again, the tropes proclaim no connection between the CIA and bin Laden, that he never got any direct US funding, and the events in Afghanistan and Pakistan had nothing to do with 9/11. The rabid Puggies don't seem to realize the dreaded librul Sorkin adapted the bothersome movie's screenplay from a book, one funnily enough called Charlie Wilson's War. And they're missing the central plot point:
What if, instead of Osama bin Laden, we were the ones who stayed on to build the roads, dams, and schools?