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While both Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are indeed fine actors and their new film, CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR no doubt stands well on it's own as a fine dark political comedy, the film still continues to stir the dangerous pot of Cold Warism at just the wrong time between the U.S. and Russia as relations continue to worsen between the two main nuclear rivals.

CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR celebrates the efforts of East Texas Democratic Congressman Charlie Wilson who with the aid of a wealthy supporter helped to promote the massive CIA covert war to back the Mujahideen fighters who opposed the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union. President Ronald Reagan later fully jumped onboard this proxy Cold War effort against the old Soviet Union by backing efforts from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia that used Osama Bin Laden and other Muslim fundamentalist radicals to establish terrorist training camps all through remote areas of Aghanistan and Pakistan to fight the Russians, and unfortunately many of these terrorist training camps still exist today. America's 1980's proxy Cold War against the Soviets only helped to cement a permanent Al Qaeda and Taliban extremist presense throughout some parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan and only helped to fuel both 9/11 and the current problems with fundamentalist terrorism today.

At the close of WWII, when tensions between the U.S. and their Soviet allies began over the city of Berlin, a series of future Cold War, proxy war standoffs began to take place. This included the Korean Civil War, the Vietnamese Civil War, some political conflicts in Africa, and finally in Afghanistan. Instead of the friendship of the U.S. and the Soviet Union of WWII working to cement better future relationships and to moderate Stalinist Soviet Communism, both the United States and the Soviet Union only seemed to dig in their ideological heels all that much stronger and used a series of proxy wars to further their political empires. However all of this was also an oversimplification of each local proxy conflict and only proved to worsen the relations between both the U.S. and the Soviet Union because of each conflict. Every proxy conflict had it's own local civil war characteristics that the superpower involvement seemed to ignore that impacted the local people involved at the center of each conflict. For example, the people of Vietnam viewed their civil war in terms of self-determination while the U.S. and the Soviet Union viewed the conflict through a prism of expansion of their political power throughout the world.

Afghanistan presented a whole new set problems. The country was virtually a stone-age state, of the most primitive of Muslim fundamentalist culture and a huge danger as far as transporting illegal drugs throughout the world including into the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union did have some concerns about such an unstable state sitting right on their border as becomng a breeding ground for many serious problems. And any state like the Soviet Union would eventually be forced to pay heavy costs to modernize a state like Afghanistan by providing massive foreign aid by building schools, hospitals and other infrastructure in this primitive state to build a more modern state. The Soviets would also create a far more secular state, while the U.S. proxy war only helped to a create a base for the most dangerous and primitive elements of Muslim fundamentalism.

CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR only seems to celebrate the wrong and revisionist notion that the American proxy war in Afghanistan helped to bankrupt the old Soviet Union and create the downfall of that already doomed political system. All of this ignores the current terrorism problem that the U.S. helped to create in Afghanistan that haunts the U.S. today. And the truth is that each proxy war by the U.S. and Russians only helped to cement seemingly permanent Cold War tensions that still exist today with little improvement despite the downfall of the old Soviet Union.

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Rating: 4.3/5 (6 votes cast)

Comments (1)

I intend to see this when it hits DVD. Frankly, I can't go to the movies anymore because people are so unspeakably rude - constant talking during the feature, cell phones ringing, etc. - that it prevents me from getting the benefit of the big screen.

I will only see it because of Hanks' involvement. He rarely turns out a bad movie. BUT I will look at it as "historical fiction," which it surely is.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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