Saturday, December 22, 2007

Hollywood will not make a true pro-US movie

From The Washington Times:

Conservative officials who served in the Reagan administration are upset by the left-wing slant of the new movie about the covert action program that helped Afghan guerrillas defeat the Soviet army during the 1980s.

"Charlie Wilson's War," out Friday, is based on a book about former Rep. Charles Wilson, Texas Democrat, known widely on Capitol Hill during his tenure as "Good Time Charlie" and who helped fund the semi-secret war that ultimately helped fell the Soviet Union.

The Reagan-era officials said the movie promotes the left-wing myth that the CIA-led operation funded Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and ultimately produced the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Bin Laden, the officials said, never got CIA funding or weapons, and was not directly involved in Islamist extremist activities until years after the Afghan operation ended after the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989.

That anti-American aspect of the film, namely that the Afghan operation ultimately caused the September 11 attacks, reportedly was altered after protests from Mr. Wilson and his former fiancee, Joanne Herring.

The movie also erred by showing Mr. Wilson and his CIA collaborator, Gust Avrakotos, as enthusiastic backers of supplying advanced U.S. Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to the Afghan rebels.

Fred Ikle, the undersecretary of defense in the Reagan administration, said the CIA initially fought against sending Stingers, while Mr. Wilson was lukewarm on the matter. Both later supported the plan once rebels began downing Soviet gunships with them

"Senior people in the Reagan administration, the president, [CIA Director] Bill Casey, [Defense Secretary Caspar] Weinberger and their aides deserve credit for the successful Afghan covert action program, not just Charlie Wilson," Mr. Ikle said in an interview.

The officials blamed the anti-Reagan slant of the film on the movie's screenwriter, Aaron Sorkin, the Hollywood liberal who regularly attacked conservatives on his television drama "The West Wing," also known as "The Left Wing" because of its liberal bias.

The lie that America itself somehow "created" al Qaeda and caused 9/11 by funding Osama bin Laden has been out there for some time. Those of us who were paying attention at the time (one of the benefits of being an old fart is that you remember lots of stuff from the past) know what utter BS that is.

When escorting Americans who were either reporting on the war or aiding Afghans fighting the Soviets Afghan guides had to be careful to avoid the areas controlled by those loyal to bin Laden because they would routinely kill Americas and those who worked with them. Bin Laden took nothing from the US and gave nothing to the US.

Although it was the US Stinger anti-aircraft missiles which finally tipped the scales and resulted in the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan bin Laden likes to take credit for the defeat of the USSR there. He also likes to say that the defeat in Afghanistan is the one event which brought down the USSR.

The truth is more complex. Afghanistan was one factor in the Soviet government's loss of legitimacy at home but more important were the refusal of Ronald Reagan to back off from his determination to change the US policy of containment of communism to one of aggressively rolling back communism. With the support of Margaret Thatcher (who was invaluable in keeping or NATO allies in line) Reagan deployed theater nuclear weapons in Europe which, along with the Enhanced Radiation Weapon (neutron bomb) made it impossible for the USSR to maintain a credible threat of invasion of Western Europe.

This along with Reagan's refusal to back off of SDI deactivated the most important weapon in the Soviet arsenal, the power to intimidate the West into granting concessions.

Add to this the clandestine funding and other support that Pope John-Paul II gave to the Solidarity movement in Poland, which drove the final wedge between the Soviets and their Warsaw Pact "allies" and you see what finally brought down the Berlin Wall and the Soviet empire.

To claim that the defeat of one of the most evil powers to ever plague the earth was somehow responsible for the attacks of 9/11 takes Bush Derangement Syndrome and general America Hatred (two symptoms of the same mental illness known as left-liberalism) to new and previously undreamed of heights.

It is to be hoped that Charlie Wilson's War will die a quick death at the box office, but with Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman to draw an audience that is unlikely to happen.