Friday, October 31, 2014

ungrateful bastards

Houston socialite Joanne Herring tells Congressman Charlie Wilson to "go to Pakistan and meet with Zia.
Mohammed Zia ul-Haq."

Wilson (surprised and incredulous) -- "He's the President of Pakistan."

-- I've already arranged it....You're going to Israel next week...I want you to tack Pakistan on the end of your trip.

-- (skeptical and doubtful) - And meet with the President?

(Joanne's thinking up how good this can sound and what to say, as she says it) -- Let him -- convince you -- that it's a -- Christian imperative, to let the Afghans rid their country of Communism.

Charlie (firmly) -- Okay.  It's not likely the President of Pakistan is a Christian, but I'm gonna do this for you, Joanne...

After the scene with Russian helicopters enacting their flying battle over Afghans in the sand, the loud marching music abruptly ends, and in the echoing silence you hear a kind of "Aawh -- ooooh!" sound, like someone blowing through a Middle Eastern horn, to announce an arrival.

"Aawh -- ooooh!" it howls again, gently, insistently.

The President of Parkistan

comes out and greets Charlie Wilson.  He speaks English with an accent:

"Mr. Congressman."
"Mr. President."

Zia:  "Come.  Joanne Herring speaks very highly of you."

-- Oh well, thank you sir.  Thank you.

-- These are two of my brightest advisors when it comes to the problem of the Soviets.  This is Brigadier Rashid.

-- How do you do?
-- Pleased to meet you.

-- Colonel Mahmood.
-- How do you do?
-- Pleased to meet you.

They sit.

-- You must be thirsty.  Can we get you a drink?

-- Oh, actually I'd love a glass of ice and any kind of whiskey -- Rye, Canadian...

-- Oh -- uh -- (The pres. looks a little embarrassed) -- I'm sorry Congressman, we don't have alcohol in the Presidential Residence.

-- Of course -- you don't.  I apologize.  Fruit juice?

(Zia speaks Urdu to an attendant)

Wilson -- Bet a lot of people make that mistake.

Zia (chuckling) -- Heh-heh-heh-heh-heh-heh- No.

-- Oh - kay.

==================== As the conversation goes here, the two advisors jump in and begin peppering Congressman Wilson with information ...

Zia -- So you understand the situation on our border?

Wilson -- Yes sir, I think I do.  And I think it's terrible.  And I know I speak for all the people in the Texas Second Congressional District when I say our thoughts and our prayers are with you.

Zia -- All the people of the Texas Second Congressional District, you say?

-- Yes indeed, sir.

[The advisors start in, here]

-- Three million Afghan refugees are living like poorly treated livestock.  Another two million have fled into Iran.

-- And two million more angry men is just what the doctor has ordered for Iran, don't you think?

-- People are dying by the tens of thousands.

-- And the ones that aren't are crossing into Pakistan every day.

Mahmood -- Would you like to know how many?  One fifth of Afghanistan now lives in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province.

President Zia -- So, what I have been wondering is why your State Department would send someone here who thinks he understands the problem.  Because I don't think the prayers of the Texas Second Congressional District are going to turn the trick.

Charlie -- Well now I wasn't sent here by the State Department, Mr. President.  I was asked to come here by our friend in Houston.  So this is a courtesy call.

-- I don't need courtesy.  I need airplanes, guns and money.
-- Well, we just doubled the CIA budget for covert ops --

-- From 5 million to 10 million.
Wilson -- That's right! (He's like -- come on guys, I'm the one who did a Nice Thing for you...!)

[The two advisors jump in again, terse and intense]

-- Is that a joke?

-- No.
-- Is-that-meant-to-be-a-fun-ny-joke?
-- No, sir!

Zia -- Congressman, what they're saying is, ten million dollars from the U.S., to fight the Russian Army, is --
such a
figure --

that it can be mistaken

Congressman Wilson looks aggravated, startled, and thoughtful.
 -- Yes, I caught up to the sarcasm there, sir.


{Charlie Wilson's War.  Mike Nichols - Aaron Sorkin -- 2007 -- book by George Crile}

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