Charlie Wilson’s War is a Fantasy!

By Paul Fitzgerald & Elizabeth Gould

boilingfrogspost Tuesday, 22. December 2009


The Rallying Cry for an Arms Buildup & to End Public Debate about American Foreign Policy on Afghanistan


CharlieWilsonAs the first journalists to enter Kabul in 1981 for CBS News following the expulsion of the Western media the previous year, we continue to be amazed at how the American disinformation campaign between Hollywood, Washington and Wall Street built around the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan lives on. We’ve seen this pattern from the media again and again. It was particularly disturbing to read Ken Herman’s December 18 interview, Charlie Wilson pessimistic about future of Afghanistan, in the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN filled with CIA disinformation. The secret campaign was activated before the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan to sell the American people on financing the coming Muslim holy war against the Soviet Union

Let’s separate the child-like fantasy that has been resurrected over and over again from the true nature of Charlie Wilson and his war effort. From the interview:

“…the former East Texas congressman – immortalized in a book and a movie about his exploits that helped the Afghans drive out the Soviet Union.

FACT: Covert funding for the mujahideen began long before the Soviet invasion, not after. This covert aid was intended to lure the Soviets into the Afghan trap and hold them there, not drive them out, as claimed by Charlie Wilson. Both Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Zbigniew Brzezinski – President Carter’s national security adviser, have admitted in print (Gates, in his 1997 book, From the Shadows; Brzezinski, 1998 interview in Le Nouvel Observateur, that the U.S. had been secretly undermining its own diplomatic efforts in order to give the Soviets their own Vietnam in Afghanistan.

The American press failed to report these revelations from high-ranking government officials as news, back then. More recently, Brzezinski’s remarks were addressed in an interview  with Samira Goetschel for her film, Our Own Private Bin Laden.  She asked:

In your 1998 interview with the French Magazine Le Nouvel Observateur you said that you knowingly increased the probability of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Brzezinski responded:

The point very simply was this. We knew the Soviets were already conducting operations in Afghanistan. We knew there was opposition in Afghanistan to the progressive effort which had been made by the Soviets to take over. And we felt therefore it made a lot of sense to support those that were resisting. And we decided to do that. Of course this probably convinced the Soviets even more to do what they were planning to do…

FACT: As we document in our book, “Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story,” the record contradicts Brzezinski’s assumption that the Soviets would have invaded had it not been for his intentional provocation to lure the Soviet’s into the “Afghan trap.”

FACT: It is well documented that Charlie Wilson’s war prolonged Afghanistan’s agony for another six years, provided a secure multibillion-dollar technological training base for Islamic terrorism, and set the stage for a privatized heroin industry of historic proportions. It’s bad enough that a Hollywood film continues to project the propaganda campaign that kept Americans in the dark about America’s role in helping terrorism grow in Afghanistan. At this late date, it is unconscionable for any media to perpetuate the fantasy that Charlie Wilson or the Congress wanted the Soviets out of Afghanistan. 

FACT: America’s mistake in Afghanistan was not “the endgame” problem depicted by “Charlie Wilson’s War.” The problem was in the conceptual framework created by America’s Cold War policy makers in the first place that made Afghanistan the bleeding ground it remains to this day.

FACT: Charlie Wilson’s War became the rallying cry for an arms buildup that would end­ public debate about American foreign policy on Afghanistan. The world was remade with the Soviet folly in Afghanistan, a Communist empire destroyed and the West’s pre-eminence assured. But the price in human suffering in Afghanistan and the impact on our democratic freedoms has yet to be understood.

The Mourning After

By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

 President’s speech struck a new milestone for Washingtonian denial

 The President’s speech is history now. Al Qaeda is still the objective and General Stanley McChrystal will get 30,000 more troops and 18 months to make his counterinsurgency plan work. In a country the size of Afghanistan, even ten times that number wouldn’t matter. What does matter is that little has changed in Washington and it appears that Washington cannot change.  It’s too bad that the interests of the United States and those of the Afghan and Pakistani people are apparently mutually exclusive. Before this all began in the 1970’s and the U.S. support for extremist Islam began, Afghanistan did have a government. It was decentralized, but it was a government and it did function alongside a secular tribal structure that had been moving toward modernization for a century.

The Afghans came to the U.S. in the late 40’s and early 50’s asking for help. They needed some basic infrastructure development. They needed a cement factory, paved roads. They needed a hospital and some city buses. The didn’t get them. They at least expected that their external security would be protected by the Americans the way it had been by the British Empire. It wasn’t. During the Eisenhower administration the U.S. made it clear to the Afghans, often in insulting and demeaning ways that Pakistan would be America’s ally and that Afghanistan would have to fend for itself. Washington liked Pakistan’s plucky military brass. They liked their style, their uniforms and their British accents. Read more  Posted at  boilingfrogspost

What are We Fighting for in Afghanistan?

“It was the opportunity for the president of the United States to deliver his most important address yet. America was entering a new era after failing to defeat an implacable foe in a far off and forbidding land. His speech was filled with Sturm und Drang, delivered to the finest young men and women the country had to offer and the highest defense and intelligence officials in the land at the world’s most prestigious military academy. It should have been a sacred moment in American history.”

-Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, Counterpunch Dec 3, 2009

Rethinking Afghanistan

“We are regularly bombarded by news reports and political analysis that reflect certain underlying assumptions about Afghanistan. These assumptions range from claims that Afghanistan was always a backward state ruled by warlords, to assertions that the country was never really a nation at all, and proclamations that Afghanistan is unfit for Western-style democracy and that it is dangerously naïve to think otherwise.

Those who knew Afghanistan prior to America’s current military engagement understand that these assumptions are wrong, yet they form the basis of a mythology that underlies the growing US military commitment and the shape of American policy toward the Afghan government.”

-Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, Middle East Institute special edition of Viewpoints Dec 2, 2009

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