NEWS EDIT: 10:02:2010 Just hard the sad news that Charlie passed away. RIP to one man who made a difference.
I just finished watching Charlie Wilson’s War, and we’ll plagiarize wikipedia to tell you it is a “a 2007 biographical drama film based on the true story of Democratic Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson, who conspired with “bare knuckle attitude” CIA operative Gust Avrakotos to launch Operation Cyclone, which initiated and organized the Afghan Mujahideen in their resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan…”
Except it really is much more than that. It is an amazingly inspirational film, that really shows what a handful of people with their own character flaws can achieve when they knuckle down to it with singular determination. In this case, (and I don’t know the history any better) it is asserted that Charlie Wilson, a US Congressman, was almost single-handedly responsible for the only military defeat suffered by the Red Army, leading to the fall of Communism and the end of the Cold War.
Having achieved the funding to enable this, he finally fails to secure any funding to rebuild Afghanistan. This demonstrates a shortsightedness that the US has paid for many times over, that had been flagged at the time. That is another dead horse to flog somewhere else.
The main point, for me, is that the film shows perfectly what the human spirit is capable of achieving, and particularly against the backdrop of US Government.
(I don’t know whether it should be read as propaganda in this regard, and it is noticeable that there are a number of recent studio films which attempt to shed some light and tackle the business and history of the US spy game…)
Anyhow, hats off all round. I watched all the bonus material also, as it is an amazing story, and one I’ve never heard before.
The type of human energy that can be harnessed to effect real change reminded me also of Obama’s autobiography.
This was a Christmas present from my sister, and an amazingly inspirational work. I understand how cheesy the title sounds, and I’ll admit that it took a few attempts to actually get cracking reading it, but there’s a lot in there that shows how driven this guy is. That is the word. It is almost exhausting to consider so many issues the way Obama outlines them, and he steers a very clear, informed, respectful and inclusive path through anything the US is likely to experience in his term. He is, in short, very on the ball.
Yes, you’d expect that from a US Presidential Candidate. No, George W Bush could not have written this book.
All of these inspirational stories of good things happening because democratically elected people get a few things right and do what they believe in is the same core mythology that makes the West Wing series on television so compelling.
The only downside to it is I can’t see any of that vision of democracy here. [In the Republic of Ireland, from whence I write…]
I can’t imagine any story of Irish politics worth telling in the phase of history that we’re in. I can’t imagine a Dáil Eireann-based West Wing. Other than as black comedy. We’re more ‘Yes Minister’ but without the budget, or the writers.
It is a constant source of exasperation for the population as a whole in this country that our politicians are so inept. Yet we keep hiring them. Furthermore, we all know they’re barefaced liars, and we leave them in office. They are on holidays for the summer break, as our economy is in the worst state it has been since the dawn of the Celtic Tiger.
What’s missing is the fervor, the simple passion to get a few things right, that other idealists begin their careers with, and hold on to. Over our side of the pond, the greed gets to everyone in the end, and anyone can be moved by the right money. We’re all very good at looking after ourselves. Maybe that’s why we lack ambition. Better for everybody will never be good enough.