Chalmers Johnson writes about Charlie Wilson's war in Afghanistan as portrayed in George Crile's book, and Tom Hanks's new movie:
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...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."

[edit: here's more from Kenneth Turan of the LA Times:]
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By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
December 21, 2007
"CHARLIE Wilson's War" is an anachronism, the wrong movie at the wrong time. Not only does it tell its tale in a style that feels dated and artificial, the story itself focuses on events that history has overtaken. The moving finger has written and moved on, and not even the combined star power of Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, writer Aaron Sorkin and director Mike Nichols can do anything about it.

Based on the bestselling book by George Crile, "Charlie Wilson's War" does tell a most unusual 1980s true story. It relates how Wilson, a pleasure-loving congressman from Texas (Hanks), joined forces with a wealthy and reactionary socialite (Roberts) and a grumpy CIA operative (Philip Seymour Hoffman) to use billions of dollars in U.S. and Saudi aid to arm Afghan mujahedin, or "freedom fighters," and oust the invading Soviet Union.


Though "Charlie Wilson's War" makes a few attempts near the conclusion to reference the chaos that is to come, they are too little and too late. Harder to deal with is the fact that, because Muslims around the world, as Crile notes, thought the victory in Afghanistan was the work of Allah, "we set in motion the spirit of jihad and the belief in our surrogate soldiers that, having brought down one superpower, they could just as easily take on another." The rest, as they say, is history.

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