Jack Wheeler, literally, was there. He was in DC; he was in Afghanistan; he was in Pakistan. He knows all the players--and this lengthy column on the movie "Charlie Wilson's War" is worth your time.
A couple of excerpts:
First, the truth: Tom Hanks has Charlie spot on. His mannerisms, voice, posture, facial expressions: Hanks is Charlie, and he might get his third Oscar for playing him...
...After all, I'm the one who explained to him how defeating the Soviets in Afghanistan could win the Cold War, not some socialite in Houston. It's that no one who had a critical role in helping the Afghans or winning the Cold War is in the movie except Charlie, whose sidekicks are a single CIA lone ranger and a blond chick in Texas – not Bill Casey, not Ronald Reagan, no one.
Here it becomes clear that the CIA of Bill Casey was filled with the same incompetent boobs who filled the CIA under Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II:
The movie is about providing weapons to Afghans fighting the Soviets, yet only one specific Afghan is named in the film, the legendary "Lion of Panjshir," Ahmad Shah Massoud.
Yet the CIA, in fact, provided little or no aid to Massoud for most of the war. The film never mentions who did get most of the CIA aid instead of Massoud: an America-hating Khomeini-loving Islamofascist named Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, and his "Hezbi" mujahedeen.
...Whenever I came back from Afghanistan throughout the 1980s, along with various people in the Reagan White House, the Pentagon and Congress, I would always brief Charlie. My years of ranting at him about Gulbuddin finally got through to him in early 1987 – because it wasn't just me.
"Why do you and everyone else who's been inside [Afghanistan] tell me one thing, and the same thing, about the Hezbis, while the CIA tells me the opposite?" he mused.
"Because the CIA is lying to you, Charlie," I replied.
Even though they will read that line, our Lefty friends will STILL blame GWBush for everything that ever went wrong with the world since...oh...1998. It never occurs to them that the CIA is simply not as good as the CIA wants you to believe.
A while later,
...The president then called Bill Casey and said he just didn't care what the excuses were anymore. Any reason given by McMahon was to be disregarded. He signed an executive order to that effect on Feb. 18. Two weeks later, McMahon resigned. I was in Angola at UNITA's Jamba headquarters in April when the Stingers arrived. The Soviet-Cuban offensive was stopped, thanks to them.
Now the way was cleared for Stingers to the Afghans. The Paks (Pakistanis, particularly the ISI Inter-Service Intelligence boys who controlled all mujahedeen arms shipments and led the CIA around with a ring through its nose) got in the way and delayed things – so much so that in August I saw the mujahedeen on the ropes with my own eyes.
Read the whole thing. It's worthwhile.
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