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Charlie Wilson's War

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 1249 words Published: 27th Apr 2017

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Phase II: Synopsis

In the year 1979 the Soviet Union took over the Afghan capital city of Kabul and started a war that devastated the people and land of Afghanistan. A congress man of Texas took it upon himself to help the Afghanistan people suffering from the Soviet Union invasion. Congressman Charlie Wilson, with the help of Gust Avrakotos and Joanne Herring, fought with stubborn politicians, nation leaders, and endured career damaging stories in order to give the people of Afghanistan a fighting chance. With the budget for the war effort being only 5 million, Congressman Wilson, with the help of an anonymous donator, raised the fund to more than 1 billion dollars. The Afghan war effort, set on an equal playing field with the Soviet Union, was able to overcome the Soviet Union and take back the Afghanistan peoples homes.

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Phase III. Analysis

The movie Charlie Wilson’s War takes place from 1979 to 1989 and tells the story of how the biggest covert operation in America happened. Charlie Wilson, a Texas congressman, who, with help, raised the necessary funds needed in order to give Afghanistan weapons that could help throw out the invading Soviet Union forces. Based on a true story the movie sticks to the facts and realistically portrays the main character, Charlie Wilson, and the events that lead to the freedom of Afghanistan. The film shows the importance of what happened and how it changed future events.

Charlie Wilson’s War described the proceedings from 19 years ago that shaped the way events have happened today. The movie focused on the funds, and how they were gathered, that gave the Afghan fighters the weapons and training that they needed. Congressman Wilson, with the help of others, raised the government’s budget for the Soviet-Afghan war from a few million to 750 million. With a new flood of money and weapons to help in their fight, the Afghanistan people were armed and inspired to fight the invading Soviet Union forces. As a reward for making it possible to defeat the Soviet Union, Congressman Wilson was given the stinger tube that shot down the first enemy aircraft. Something about the events of the film that has to be noted is the impact that the events of the past had on our present. Had America not interfered, Afghanistan would have been taken over by the Soviet Union which could have lead to them eventually controlling Pakistan and the stores of oil. Allowing the Soviet Union to take control might have prevented the conflict we have with the countries in the Middle East now. However, allowing both Afghanistan and Pakistan to fall into the hands of the Soviet Union would have meant that we would surrender the supply of oil Pakistan held. Charlie Wilson’s War is a film of importance, showing scenes of historical events that have come to dictate the way both Afghanistan’s and America’s people live.

Based on a true story, Charlie Wilson’s War holds several historical events which should be noted. Inspired to help the refugee situation in Afghanistan after reading an Associated Press report, Congressman Wilson began to help build funds that would allow the Afghan people to fight the invading Soviet Union. Elected to be on the House Appropriations Subcommittee of Defense, Congressman Wilson was able to request, and receive, a doubled budget for the Afghanistan war. With the help of both politicians and private citizens, Congressman Wilson was able to raise enough funds to support the Afghanistan war effort. This covert operation, named Operation Cyclone, was the largest covert operation to ever happen in the history of the CIA. After ten years of fighting the Soviet Union, Afghanistan became the first country to ever defeat the Soviet Union. The Clandestine Service’s organization gave the Honored Colleague award for the first time to a citizen, Charlie Wilson, for his efforts in the Afghan War. The historic events in this film shaped many people’s opinion about the situation in Afghanistan.

The war in Afghanistan 19 years ago resulted in opposing political views in the United States each having valid reason for helping or not helping the situation in Afghanistan. The side I agree with would be the people who were for supporting Afghanistan in their fight against the Soviet Union. Giving The United States a valid reason to support Afghanistan with a covert operation and giving more than 5 million as funding, would hide the fact that we were are in no way friendly towards Russia. Another reason for the U.S. to intervene would have been that we are a nation who stands for justice and the massacres and other atrocities happening in Afghanistan demanded our attention. In helping Afghanistan we also helped ourselves, not only did we get the satisfaction of seeing the Soviet Union beaten, we also kept something far more valuable than, our oil supplies, out of their hands. In the movie the Afghan leader talking to Congressman Wilson said that the only reason the Soviet Union was attacking was because of their location relative to Pakistan. By controlling Afghanistan the Soviet Union would have a direct road to Pakistan and where they could control the flow of oil. The Soviet Union had control of the oil it would have led to serious economic problems for the United States. Many people who know how we helped Afghanistan say that by our contributing to their war effort in the past we just gave them weapons to use against us now. Although there may be some truth to our own weapons being used against us, the fact remains that in the past we did not know this and we could not ignore the suffering people of Afghanistan. Helping Afghanistan was to our benefit in the past and I agree with the decisions made by people like Congressman Wilson and Joanne Herring who raised the necessary funds.

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Every film has good moments and bad moments, although Charlie Wilson’s War is not exempt from this, it is one of the movies that almost perfectly shows the true story. Most films that are based off a true story stick to the very basics and add to the movie to make it interesting or dramatic. This movie however, tells the true story with very little the added fiction. Charlie Wilson’s War accurately describes the events that occurred in the late 1900’s. The meeting with Gust Avrakotos was not how the actual event happened; however, Congressman Wilson did eventually meet with Mr. Avrakotos when he went to the CIA to learn more about weapons for Afghanistan. Although the movie does focus on the serious nature of what is happening, it also adds comedy providing a break from all of the technical names and political scenarios. Though I could have done without the nudity in the movie, it helps to show the reason Congressman Wilson was called “Good Time Charlie”. Despite some of the flaws in the film I still recommend this film to anyone who wants to watch a great story.

Charlie Wilson’s War is a fun and historically accurate movie that shows the difference one man can make. The movie has love, conflict, courage, sorrow, and comedy which will keep its viewers captivated until the final scene is finished. I give Charlie Wilson’s War four and a half stars for the ability to stick to the truth and still keep the audience involved. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn a little more about American history.


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