Tuesday, November 4, 2014

see with your own eyes

"Is that a joke?
Is that meant to be a funny joke?!"

Zia -- "Congressman, what they are saying is, ten million dollars from the U.S., to fight the Russian Army, is -- such a low figure -- that it can be mistaken for a joke...!"

"Yes, I caught up to the sarcasm there, sir," replies Congressman Charlie Wilson.  "Let me be clear.  The United States is eager to assist you.

Rashid -- "No, you're not."

Mahmood -- "You are not."

-- Absolutely not.

-- I went to Oxford and I know what that word means.  The U.S. is not eager to assist us.

Wilson -- Well, now it's my understanding that we offered to sell you F-16s.  You didn't want them!

--Because you refused to sell us the radar.

Rashid -- So to hell with that.

President Zia -- And this is emblematic of American fence-sitting when it comes to fighting the Soviets.

Rashid -- To hell with it!

Zia -- You sell us the planes but not the radar.  You offer Afghans rifles from the First World War, while Soviet helicopters are killing everything they can find -- people, animals, food supplies.

Rashid -- So to hell with it!

Wilson -- [quietly] Yeah.

Mahmood -- You sell the Israelis the radar, so that's why he says, "To hell with it."

Charlie Wilson -- Again, I understood.  Yeah.

Zia -- Also, the arms and funding should flow through us.

Wilson [taken aback] -- I'm sorry?
Zia -- That's been part of the problem.  The arms and the funding should flow through us.  We have experience with warfare of this kind.  And your CIA has an unimpressive track record.
Wilson -- Oh.  I wouldn't say that.

-- They missed 130,000 Soviet soldiers walking into Afghani-stan!
-- Okay, we blew that call.
-- I would say so.

Wilson -- [thoughtful, a little shaken, and mentally shifting gears] -- Well -- I don't want to -- use up -- any more of your hospitality.  So -- I will take your message back to my committee chairman, and we will give it our fullest attention.

----------------------------------- Zia says, "Let me walk you to the door."
Zia and Wilson walk outdoors.
Zia -- I learned about you before you came here.
I learned that you're a man of many character flaws.
-- I am.
-- But I also learned that you never promise anything you cannot deliver.

Wilson looks over at Zia -- No I don't, Mr. President.
Zia -- Then promise me this.
Go to Peshawar and see the refugee camps.  Right now.  Today.

Go to Peshawar and see with your own eyes.
I have a helicopter waiting to take you.

Charlie Wilson's assistant Bonnie Bach sits unobtrusively on a nearby bench, waiting for him. 

Wilson -- All right, you, come on.
Bonnie and Charlie walk together.
Bonnie -- How did it go?
-- Well, there were three of them.  It was like getting slapped around by a Pakistani vaudeville team. 

You know you've pretty much hit rock bottom

when you've been told you have character flaws
by a man who

his predecessor in a military coup.

Bonnie's voice is weary -- Can we go home now?

-- No.  No, we have to make one more stop.

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


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