Tuesday, November 11, 2014

me and three other guys

Individual U.S. senators and congressmen cannot go around starting their own wars.

When you watch the movie Charlie Wilson's War, and read the book, you can see that the way aid to the Afghans evolved was an anomaly, not the norm.

Partly it was possible because of the committees Wilson was on.

(Joanne Herring, at the party:  "So unless I'm wrong...you sit at the intersection of the State Department, the Pentagon, and the CIA....")

In the book by George Crile, Wilson gets on the Appropriations Committee, then

------------------ [excerpt] ------------ In 1980, just after being reelected for a fourth term and only a few weeks before his Las Vegas weekend, Wilson struck again, maneuvering himself onto the Defense Appropriations subcommittee....

Wilson made it easy for his colleagues to come to him, always gracious, almost always helpful.  He was quickly accumulating powerful allies and IOUs.

{According to Washington lobbyist Denis Neill}, "The way things normally work, if you're not Jewish you don't get into the Jewish caucus.  But Charlie did.  And if you're not black you don't get into the black caucus.  But Charlie plays poker with the black caucus." ...

...Wilson even managed to sneak his way onto what could be considered the women's-rights fraternity. ...He was one of the champions of the Equal Rights Amendment...and a friend of Barbara Jordan. ---------------- [end excerpt]

And of course he didn't "start" the war -- I shouldn't have said "start."  The Soviets started it, and the Afghans steadfastly refused to give in.  They didn't have modern weapons -- in an amateur-type film done by one of Mrs. Herring's associates, some Afghan fighters stated that No, they did not have modern weapons -- "Courage is our weapon!" they declared.

[the movie]

INT.  Charlie Wilson's office - Day.

Congressman Wilson -- "Well, how does he expect to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan without...he said, 'A sudden influx of money'..."

Avrakotos -- "Yeah, an influx of money and new weaponry would draw attention.  He's not trying to defeat the Soviets, Congressman."

-- "What the hell are you talking about?  What do you mean, he's not trying to defeat the Soviets?

-- Well, he wants to bleed 'em.

Payback for Vietnam.
Make it so they just have to keep sending troops in, keep sending money, and troops, and money until they just go out of their fucking minds the way we did.

Wilson -- You mean to tell me, that the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is to have the Afghans keep walking into machine gun fire 'til the Russians run out of bullets?

-- That's Harold Holt's strategy.  It's not U.S. strategy.

-- What is U.S. strategy?

-- Well strictly speaking, we don't have one.  But we're working hard on that.

-- Who's we?
-- Me and three other guys.

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


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