Saturday, July 12, 2008

#25 "Charlie Wilson's War," etc. Pt. 2

On the level of "meta-cinema," the film failed to address in any kind of sophisticated way (Mike Nichols directed?) the moral/political problems associated with our intervention in the Soviet-Afghan war. Their "Vietnam." Hey, you're saying, it's only a Hollywood-style movie with its own point-of-view-- but it's a shamelessly simplistic and distorted one, and should be exposed as such. The audience surely was expected to cheer blindly for the defeat of the godless communists and the fall of the old USSR. Soviet bad-guys vs. Rebel good-guys. In fact, the grinning, thuggish Soviet pilots dropping disguised "toy-bombs" on innocent kids (really?...doubtful) reminded me of the equally exaggerated stereotypical "Jap" pilots of our WWII propaganda movies--buck-toothed and bespectacled, gleefully strafing and suicide-bombing anything in their little yellow-devil sights. (The difference is, of course, the Japanese were bombing AMERICANS by then, not some third party.) And of course the movie-goers cheered when these miscreants were blown out of the sky. But these Soviet pilots were heroes at home, fighting for their "freedom" from the terrorist threat of the mujihadeen and Taliban RIGHT ON THEIR BORDER. Far better justification than we have for fighting the SAME FOLKS halfway around the world.

Back in the 80's when the Russians invaded Afghanistan, I often wondered as the war went on for years and years, why they hadn't learned anything from our Vietnam. They were in a perfect position to do so, since at that time they were the shoe on the other foot. THEY were the Charlie Wilsons of THAT war, supplying a sufficiency of arms and materiel' to the Vietnamese rebels--and sure enough WE LOST! And the aftermath was much the same in both cases. What did CWW accomplish? Notwithstanding the Huzzahs and Hosannas at the end of the movie, the Soviet empire, already "the Old Man of Asia," would have collapsed anyway. Here's what it accomplished: the amoral and misguided Congressman Charlie Wilson and his evangelical cohorts succeeded in eventually killing 5000 American soldiers and tens of thousands of innocent civilians. More later.

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