Tuesday, October 7, 2014

a whole lot happier over there

Joanne Herring
"You disappeared."

Charlie Wilson
"They weren't sellin' whiskey in there."

Joanne (patience and impatience mixed together)
"It's a traditional Pakistani gathering."

[This 'traditional Pakistani gathering' is in Houston, Texas, and the only Pakistani person there, that I can see, is Pakistan's president...Mrs. Herring is a determined, imaginative, and tireless promoter....]

"Don't you think they'd be a whole lot happier over there, if they could just get women and booze in the same room, at the same time?"

Joanne (sharply)
"I think they'd be a whole lot happier, if the communists got out."

-------------------------- This is an excerpt from Charlie Wilson's War, the movie.  In that scene, they're discussing the war in Afghanistan, in the early 1980s.

============= And when one considers that conversation today with hindsight -- the communists did "get out" of Afghanistan, and they were not "a whole lot happier" -- the place descended into civil war.  (A "vacuum" of power and organization)

When people make "happiness" a "moving target" that's a recipe for defeat.  Both in politics and in personal relationships.  However when I say that, I'm not blaming the Afghan people of the 1980s, or putting them down -- it's where their society was at, at the time. 

Various peoples of the world make progress at different rates, in different time periods, depending on their societal conditions, economies, education, and their available opportunities to serve others and share things with the world.

In the Charlie Wilson film, a CIA person giving a briefing at Langley tells his audience, "Afghanistan's barely a country.  There's no phones or roads outside the cities.  It's likely that a villager would live his life without having contact with another village just three miles away unless he was going to war against them."

The story of Charlie Wilson's War is how U.S. support for Afghan freedom fighters in the 1980s went


being sort of -- "token" support,


real support.


providing old weapons that were not significantly effective matched against Russia's advanced military equipment,


giving them modern weapons -- Swiss-manufactured guns; the Milan anti-tank missile -- that could shoot down the helicopters.

That's the journey.

(You watch it and you're like, "Were we all asleep during the 80s??"  Like -- how did we miss this?  Well -- it was covert; it was a secret.  How do they keep a secret that big??)

--------------------------- They take Doc Long (Congressman Clarence Long) to Afghanistan; he visits with the refugees and warriors and decides to take up their cause.

Earlier in the film he says, "These people are draconian thugs.  And when it comes to an evil and twisted derby, between the communists and the fundamentalists, why it's six-to-five and pick 'em as far as I'm concerned."

But later, after seeing the courage and suffering and determination up close, he's all, "These Russian gunships, every last one of them, are gonna be blown right out of the sky."  [translator rattles it out quickly, urgently, for the people in their language]  "We're gonna see that you have guns, and we're gonna see that you have training!

This is good against evil.
And I want you to know that America's always going to be on the side of the good.
And God will always punish the wicked!"

(actor Ned Beatty portraying Long in the movie)

In the photograph below, Charlie Wilson is in the middle (white shirt and suspenders) and at left is journalist George Crile, who wrote the book.


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