Friday, December 21, 2007

Liberal and pro-U.S.? Who knew?

Scott Galupo. The Washington Times (US: Washington DC)

After a trip to the Pakistani-Afghan frontier, where he sees firsthand the casualties of the Soviets' wanton violence, Charlie Wilson is moved to action. Against the inertia of Washington's intelligence and diplomatic bureaucracy, he and Avrakotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman) secretly funnel defense appropriations into arming Afghan mujahideen freedom fighters against the Russians. A decade after the 1979 invasion, the Soviets retreat from the equivalent of their Vietnam — and there's nary an American fingerprint on the Stinger missiles that brought down their helicopters, thanks to the canny back-channel machinations of Wilson and Avrakotos, who enlist the help of the Israeli, Egyptian, Pakistani and Saudi governments in smuggling ordnance to the mujahideen. It's true that Messrs. Nichols, Sorkin and Hanks attempt, so to speak, to have their anti-communism and eat it, too. For the same reasons that war shouldn't be left to generals, they imply, anti-communism shouldn't be left to Republicans — particularly religion-addled ones like Joanne Herring (played here by an inert Julia Roberts) the ultraconservative Houston socialite who urges Wilson to take on the freedom fighters' cause ... "Charlie Wilson's War" is unabashedly pro-American. Not in a Lee Greenwood-anthem sort of way, but pro-American nonetheless. Its protagonists, whatever their peccadilloes, are on the right side of history. Did the U.S. drop the ball in the aftermath of the Soviet-Afghan war? It's an arguable assertion, and it hardly constitutes the heart of the movie.

No comments: