Saturday, December 29, 2007

The First Afghan War

I'm listening to the radio, hearing news of unrest in Pakistan caused by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. It's an eerie counterpoint to the film, Charlie Wilson's War. The news also reported a new Bin Laden tape. The airwaves are full of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Ron and I went to see Charlie Wilson's War today. It's déjà vu all over again. The film is a fascinating tale of the life of the rich, the life of the hopeless, and the life of our elected officials. Many scenes in the movie are priceless, including the opening footage showing a naked Congressman in a hottub full of Las Vegas showgirls, and the grilling of the same Congressman by the President of Pakistan and two senior Pakistani officials.

Tom Hanks plays Congressman "Good Time" Charlie Wilson. Julia Roberts plays Texas socialite Joanne Herring. (Check out her web site!) Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays CIA operative Gust Avrakotos. The acting is believable, and the movie, for all of its serious themes, is more a comedy than a historical recounting. It ends up, though, a sobering reminder of how a determined small group of people can (and do) change history, people who are completely unbeholden to the rest of us.

Unintended consequences?