A lot of people have emailed me to ask what I think of the movie, Charlie Wilson’s War. I won’t into the cinematographic merits of the film, other than to say that it was an excellent movie that you should see if you haven’t already. But there are a couple of political observations that I couldn’t help making:
1) What happens at the end of the movie is a major warning to Democrats of the Nancy Pelosi/John Edwards ilk who want to pull the troops out of Iraq as quickly as possible now that major combat operations are over. If you want the Taliban or a Saddam Hussein type back in charge over there, then this movie proves that the Democrats’ strategy is the recipe for it.
After Charlie Wilson’s efforts had finished funding Afghanistan’s Mujahadeen against the Russians in what was the final “battle” of the Cold War, the US pulled the funding when combat operations were over. This move left the reconstruction of this war-torn area to others, creating a power vaccuum that ultimately gave rise to the Taliban.
If people don’t walk away from this movie with a lesson for the current situation in Iraq, and are unable to understand why we can’t just simply bring the troops home now that major combat operations are finished, then they’re simply incapable of rational thought.
2) His foreign policy views indicate that Charlie Wilson could have easily been a Republican, rather than a Democrat — much like Congressman Ralph Hall, also a Texan, was for the longest time a Democrat who voted with the GOP. Hall switched teams to the GOP only in 2004. I know Hall from back when I was a Director of a GOP think-tank on Capitol Hill in DC. Bill Clinton used to say that he didn’t really need any opponents because he always had Ralph voting against him from within his own party.
I have a feeling, though, that in Charlie Wilson’s case, there’s no way the southern GOP “values crowd” would have accepted him. He enjoyed life (and women) too much.
As I’ve said so many times before, the GOP loses so many good people this way — by judging some as “morally deficient”, as a result of some personal choices or mistakes they may have made over the course of a life lived. It’s why Giuliani — by far the most qualified person to be the next President of the United States — gets the cold shoulder from people within his own party.
Personally, I’ve never been a morally preachy conservative — particularly when it comes to people’s personal lives (short of perhaps someone committing rape, murder or a cardinal sin). It’s unfortunate that an element within the GOP adopts this approach. It would explain why candidates like Mike Huckabee, who may have few skeletons in their closet but little experience, end up in the ridiculous position of having a shot at the nomination.