[DEBATE] : Fwd: new film "Charlie Wilson's War" and history
tintinyana at gmail.com
Fri Dec 21 20:23:11 GMT 2007
> Tom Hanks Tells Hollywood Whopper in 'Charlie Wilson's War'
> By Melissa Roddy, AlterNet. Posted December 21, 2007.
> Hollywood wants to avoid a key truth about 9/11.
> "We just can't deal with this 9/11 thing. Does it have to be so
> from an anonymous source at Playtone Productions
> Charlie Wilson's War purports to be the true story of a hard-partying
> congressman from Texas who engineered the defeat of the Soviet Union
> by the
> Afghan Mujahiddin. Now there are true stories, and there are true-ish
> stories. It is a given that, in creating a film narrative, sometimes
> truth gets a little bent, but it's against the rules to change facts
> change the outcome of history. When telling the story of Antony and
> Cleopatra, they gotta die at the end, n'est pas. It's inappropriate,
> example, to tell the story of World War II and pretend that, because
> United States might have given a box of guns to the French Underground,
> there was no Holocaust. That's a pretty good analogy for what's been
> in Charlie Wilson's War.
> In the latter half of the movie, there is one big lie and one item of
> anti-Afghan propaganda. The lie is that U.S. support to the mujahiddin
> only to the faction led by Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Afghan leader who
> assassinated on Sept. 9, 2001. I spoke with Rep. Charlie Wilson,
> in 2002, at which time he called Massoud "a Russian collaborator." I
> it disingenuous that Wilson and his Hollywood biographers now want to
> their arms around him. (Note: George Crile's book does not make this
> claim.) Moreover, if this movie succeeds in convincing Americans that
> U.S. support went to Ahmad Shah Massoud alone, it will have
> effectively let
> the CIA and Wilson off the hook for their contribution to the
> leading up to 9/11. During the 1980s, Wilson engineered the
> of approximately $3.5 billion to help the Afghans fight the Soviets.
> According to Milt Bearden, CIA chief of station to Pakistan, Massoud
> received less than 1 percent of it.
> So, if Massoud was not receiving the $3.5 billion that Congress was
> sending, who was? There were seven factions based in Pakistan who were
> recipients of American largesse, but about 40 percent of it went to a
> blood-thirsty, fundamentalist, loudly anti-American bastard named
> However, instead of using the resources the United States sent him to
> the Soviets, he frequently used them to fight his mujahiddin allies.
> It was
> Gulbaddin Hekmatyar who turned Kabul to rubble -- not the Soviets and
> the Taliban. Gulbaddin Hekmatyar regularly rocketed his own capitol
> his term of office as prime minister. Hekmatyar is renowned for having
> killed more Afghans than Soviets. He so habitually attacked his
> allies that many people suspected he was actually a Soviet agent.
> Not only is Hekmatyar anti-American, but he and another anti-American
> fundamentalist, Abdul Rasul Sayaf, received lots of support during the
> 1980s from the Saudis. That support included cash and thousands of Arab
> volunteers, including a wealthy young engineer named Osama bin Laden.
> was Hekmatyar and Sayaf who, with bin Laden, established terrorist
> camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is why after 9/11, Wilson went
> Fox News and said, "This was as much my fault as anybody's." He
> the link between U.S. support for these thugs and the events of that
> terrible day. But Wilson's mea culpa is not included in Charlie
> War, nor is there any mention of Gulbaddin Hekmatyar, Abdul Rasul
> Sayaf or
> Arab volunteers. Interestingly, Hekmatyar and the Arab volunteers did
> an appearance in an earlier draft of the script, making it clear that
> absence from the final cut was no oversight on the part of the
> Getting back to Ahmad Shah Massoud ...
> As it so happens, Massoud did not receive any financial support from
> Saudis, because they mistakenly thought he was a Shia Muslim. He was
> Nevertheless, he was not altogether displeased with the situation,
> it meant he didn't have to deal with the Arab jihadis. This is one of
> several reasons why, had we actually supported Massoud and not
> there would have been no 9/11. To be sure, there were quite a few
> during the 1980s, including several U.S. Senators and various
> trying to warn Wilson and the CIA that the consequences of supporting
> Hekmatyar would be globally catastrophic. In response the CIA would
> throw up its hands, exclaiming, 'We have no control over the
> It's all handled by Pakistan, and the Pakistanis liked Massoud even
> than the Saudis.
> But if, as is pointed out in Charlie Wilson's War, "He who has the gold
> makes the rules," then the United States had the power to control
> distribution. The CIA simply refused to exercise that power, and Wilson
> faithfully accepted their word. Other members of Congress, such as
> Gordon Humphrey, Daniel P. Moynihan and Gary Hart, tried and tried to
> convince the CIA to take control of distribution.
> So, why was so much support funneled to this scumbag, Gulbaddin
> This question leads to the anti-Afghan propaganda part of the movie.
> In the same scene in the movie as the misinformation about Massoud is a
> propagandistic joke deeply offensive to Afghans. This joke (coupled
> the Massoud "inaccuracy") is the reason that the Afghan Embassy is
> boycotting Charlie Wilson's War.
> The joke is: "When a Tajik man wants to make love to a woman, his first
> choice is a Pashtun man."
> Why is this propagandistic? Because it supports the idea that Afghans
> just too tribal to get along. They've always fought each other. As
> once said to me, "You put two Afghans in a room, you end up with seven
> factions." The trouble with this idea is that Afghanistan has been a
> cohesive nation for several hundred years.
> So who wants the world to believe that Afghans can't get along?
> The reason for this is the Durrand Line. The Durrand Line is the border
> between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and it is not very stable. There are
> Pashtun tribal regions on both sides of the border, and at some point
> the establishment of Pakistan (about 60 years ago), it was suggested
> the Pashtuns on both sides of the border should unite to create
> Pashtunistan. This idea makes the government of Pakistan very nervous.
> response, they threw their support to Gulbaddin Hekmatyar in the 1980s,
> because he agreed not to dispute the border, but also because he was
> feared and disliked by Afghans, and would thus continue to be reliant
> Pakistan as his source of power. Pakistan then convinced the CIA, to
> cumulative tune of about $1.5 billion, that Gulbaddin was the guy best
> suited to whoop-ass against the Soviet Union. Later, during the mid
> when he failed to control Afghanistan on their behalf, Pakistan
> the Taliban into power.
> So why were these two offenses included in this movie?
> 1. The Massoud "inaccuracy" was included because Tom Hanks "just can't
> with this 9/11 thing"; and because Wilson and Joanne Herring (played by
> Julia Roberts in the movie) threatened legal action after reading an
> earlier, more honest, draft of the screenplay by Aaron Sorkin. Herring
> Pakistan's honorary consul to the United States in the 1980s, and as
> enlisted Wilson into supporting the cause of the Afghans. Neither
> nor Herring wants history to remember them for their contribution to
> events that culminated in 9/11.
> 2. The really bad joke was included because, when Wilson retired from
> House of Representatives, he was so copasetic to Pakistani views that
> went to work for Pakistan as their lobbyist -- at the rate of $360,000
> year. Not bad for an old skirt-chasin' boozer.
> See more stories tagged with: hollywood, tom hanks, september 11, 9/11
> Melissa Roddy, like several of the principals in the saga of
> is a native Texan. An actress based in Los Angeles, she is currently
> producing and directing a documentary film on the history of
> from 1979 to 9/11 entitled The Square Root of Terror.
> A. Tom Grunfeld
> SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor
> Empire State College/ SUNY
> 325 Hudson Street, 5th Floor
> New York, New York 10013-1005
> Tel: 646-230-1248, Fax: 212-647-7829
More information about the Debate-list