“Charlie Wilson’s War” is a biographical drama film based on the true story of Democratic Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson. The film evokes quite controversial emotions, since while watching the film a viewer inevitably confronts the problem of negative effects of the American international policies. To put it more precisely, the film reveals the use of a new strategy by the US which was supported and promoted by Charlie Wilson and which led to the growing support of Mujahedeen in Afghanistan. On the one hand, such a support led to the successful opposition and struggle of the Afghanis against the Soviet occupation, while, on the other hand, it is obvious that it is due to the American support and training Mujahedeen have learned new, effective methods of the guerilla war and they got new weapon which they could apply against the Soviet army. However, it is hardly to get rid of the impression that Americans taught the Afghanis to war and, toady, the US faces the same problem the Soviet faced a couple of decades ago in Afghanistan. Such a situation is really paradoxical since the film reveals the fact that it was the USA that trained and supplied weapon to Afghanistan and, therefore, created the basis for the efficient guerilla war.
At the same time, the US assistance to Mujahedeen was quite logical, taking into consideration the historical background of the time. To put it more precisely, the Soviet army occupied Afghanistan when the Cold War persisted and the occupation of Afghanistan was the manifestation of the intention of the USSR to expand its influence worldwide. Naturally, the USA had the same intention and, therefore, they resisted to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan by all possible means, including the military, technical and financial assistance. However, the US strategy in Afghanistan depicted in the film was a relatively new and effective because it allowed the USA to avoid the direct involvement in the military conflict with the USSR. Instead, they helped Mujahedeen as the power which headed the struggle against the USSR in Afghanistan. In such a way, the US minimized its losses and supported its allies. In addition, the US used the third party, namely Mujahedeen to defeat the USSR and such a strategy to be very effective at the moment. This is why it was widely applied by the USA.
On the other hand, it is obvious that the US paid little attention to effects of such a strategy because this strategy led to the emergence of numerous clandestine organizations and growing number of well-trained guerillas who could conduct the war against the most powerful opponent, the superpower, such as the USSR. Obviously, the support of Mujahedeen in Afghanistan and the ongoing application of this strategy led to the successful struggle against the USSR, but, on the other hand, it raised the problem of the lack of control over the clandestine movement and organizations, many of which have evolved into terrorist organizations the US attempts to defeat today, but with a little success.
Thus, the film provides the audience with information which is very important for understanding of history and the responsibility of policy-makers for consequences of their policies. Americans have proved to be irresponsible when they admitted the use of all means to defeat the USSR. Americans should not rise in power movements which they could not control and contemporary policy makers should avoid such errors and conduct responsible policies.
Nichols, M. Charlie Wilson’s War. Universal Pictures Playtone, 2007.