Last night, after returning from our weekend getaway to the Piney Woods, Kayleen & I watched her DVD of "Charlie Wilson's War" (2007). I hadn't seen the movie, and Kayleen hadn't watched it in quite a few years.
Oy. It's both highly enjoyable & deeply disturbing. Tfw when the screenplay & the performances are excellent but you get that bitter aftertaste of pro-war propaganda.
Lufkin native Charlie Wilson represented TX-2 back when that district was farther north than today, and back when a Boll Weevil Democrat could still get elected in Deep East Texas (we might call them Blue Dogs today).
Director Mike Nichols and writer Aaron Sorkin had to give in to the CIA getting its grubby paws on their creation. The result:
- There's a subtext that Republicans and Democrats on the Hill are equally enthused about covert and overt interventionism overseas.
- This is depicted as a not-necessarily-bad thing, because the "good guys" in the flick are the ones responsible for the intervention.
- Seeing and talking with Afghan refugees in Pakistan, the victims of Soviet atrocities, tugs at the heartstrings of characters & audience members alike. But there's no mention of how the US routinely commits the same atrocities.
- There's that scene toward the end when Wilson finds that the people who were so willing to bankroll the transfer of weaponry to the Mujaheddin refused to appropriate money to repair Afghanistan; there's the hint that he foresaw that their intransigence would come back to bite the US in the ass. This is a (CIA-approved) swipe at George W. Bush, who was president when the film was released: In mid-2001, Dubya received the intelligence reports of what the Mujaheddin alumni were alleged to be planning, but he didn't act on them.
While Wilson certainly doesn't represent ALL Congressional Democrats, or even all centrist Democrats, the film still stage-whispers that Dems in DC & Hollywood are OK with US-funded proxy wars. This is cleverly personified in Wilson's top aide Bonnie Bach (Amy Adams): Witness her transformation from conscientious progressive-ish to starry-eyed cheerleader for Operation Cyclone.
As I said above, oy.