Tuesday, January 13, 2015

the enemy of my enemy...

"God is great" the Afghan freedom fighters chant, (in Arabic), in the movie Charlie Wilson's War, when Doc Long (Ned Beatty) promises them arms and training so that they can shoot down the Soviet helicopters.

"God is great" was chanted in Arabic last Wednesday at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris, as the shooting began.

We enjoyed the mujahideen (holy warriors) -- or at least our CIA enjoyed them -- back when they were fighting the Red Army tooth-and-nail...  "The enemy of my enemy is my friend"...Now we all enjoy 'em a lot less, since they have made us their "enemy."

The argument has been made that when we (CIA) helped arm and train the Afghans in the 1980s, we let a "genie out of the bottle."

We helped them to remove the Soviets from their country ("Russian-removal") and then, not many years later, they turned around and started attacking America and other Western democracies.  Nice "thank-you." 

Well -- it isn't the same people, of course; many of them are of a new generation, and they probably did not get objective, true information.  They listened to propaganda from Osama bin laden and other extremists.  ("This is who is evil.  This is who you should kill"...)

(CIA operative Gust Avrakotos:  "America doesn't fight religious wars....Some of these people are totally unspooled"...)

[excerpt, The New York Times, Feb. 10, 2010, Charlie Wilson obituary, written by Douglas Martin] ---------------- "In later years Mr. Wilson insisted that the United States had not made a mistake by supporting the Afghan rebels, among them Osama bin Laden and the Islamists who would form the Taliban regime.  Wilson said if the United States had helped rebuild Afghanistan, it would have remained stable and not become a safe haven for Al Qaeda."

He was thinking of an approach similar to The Marshall Plan, after World War II,

where Western leaders made a plan to rebuild Europe so they could participate in the world economy, and Germany could participate, too, so there would not be another horrible world war.  They made a plan to go forward.  You could say it was an earlier, partial version of globalization.

With Afghanistan, we didn't do a "Marshall Plan" type of project.  The Russians left, and after the happy celebrations, the land of the mujahideen was left with a power "vacuum."

At the end of the film about "Charlie Wilsons' War" Avrakotos talks to the congressman about it, saying, "The crazies have started rolling into Kandahar..."


(Dan Rather reporting from near the front of the Afghan war, during the 1980s)

(Charlie Wilson in either Pakistan or Afghanistan, during the 1980s)


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