Skip to comments.History Channel 2 Hour Documentary Premier: The True Story of Charlie Wilson
Posted on 12/21/2007 7:32:45 PM PST by flattorney
Produced by Wild Eyes Prods. Executive producers, Carl H. Lindahl, David Keane; producers, Ryan Spyker, Aaron Cowden; director, Keane; writers, Bowden, Terrence Henry. Narrator: Bill Lloyd. Editor, Justin Inda; music, Michael Plowman. Running time: 120 Min.
Charlie Wilsons War (Wide Release Theater Movie)
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Adaptation, Biopic and War
Running Time: 1 hr. 37 min.
Release Date: December 21st, 2007
MPAA Rating: R for strong language, nudity/sexual content and some drug use.
Distributors: Universal Pictures Distribution
Production Co.: Icarus Productions, Participant Productions, Relativity Media, Playtone
Studios: Universal Pictures
Filming Locations: Morocco
Los Angeles, California USA
Produced in: United States
- - Based on the true story of how Charlie Wilson, an alcoholic womanizer and Texas congressman, persuaded the CIA to train and arm resistance fighters in Afghanistan to fend off the Soviet Union. With the help of rogue CIA agent, Gust Avrakotos, the two men supplied money, training and a team of military experts that turned the ill-equipped Afghan freedom-fighters into a force that brought the Red Army to a stalemate and set the stage for conflicts in the Middle East that still rage to this day.
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Book: Charlie Wilson's War:
The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (April 2003)
PaperBack 550 pages
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Pub. Date: April 2004
Posted for FlAttorney by TAB
I havent read the book, but I get a very strong feeling that the film is part of the ongoing lefty revisionism of all of our history, which states that basically every good thing happened in spite of conservatives and Republicans, not because of them. Regardless of the facts. New facts will be supplied to replace the old.
For example, well know that the global warming movement has officially been completely exposed as a fraud when we see it starting to get blamed on Republicans.
You’re completely correct,denydenydeny; the book definitely implies Wilson’s role in securing support for the Afghan rebels (and thereby ending the Cold War) far outstripped that of Ronald Reagan’s; Reagan is in fact barely mentioned in the book.
A broader, deeper and more accurate perspective is presented here: Reagan's War, Not Charlie Wilson's.
He was my congressman and I don't intend to see the movie. I can't stand the jerk. I've seen all I ever want to see of Sorry Charlie!
Did they show that he took Miss World with him on one of his trips?
Michael G. Vickers, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict & Interdependent Capabilities, during an November 16, 2007 interview at the Pentagon. With his owlish glasses and nasally voice, Vickers isn't Hollywood's version of an international man of mystery. Yet this unassuming ex-Green Beret and former CIA agent engineered the clandestine arming of the Afghan rebels who drove the Soviet Union out of their country nearly a quarter century ago in what was the largest covert action in the spy agency's history.
Sorry Charlie, This Is Michael Vickers's War
The Washington Post by by Ann Scott Tyson
December 28, 2007
The CIA Agent behind Charlie Wilson's War
- - Michael Vickers, from the shadows to the silver screen
The Journal News by Richard Lardner
December 26, 2007
Interview with Michael G. Vickers
Special Operations Technology by Jeff McKaughan
November 14, 2007
Special Operations Official Sets Priorities for Future
- - Presentation by Michael G. Vickers
American Forces Press Service by John J. Kruzel
Sept. 10, 2007
The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments
Collection of Presentations and White Papers (PDF Files)
by Michael G. Vickers
For Guidance on Iraq, look to Afghanistan: Use fewer U.S. troops, not more
USA Today Op-Ed by Michael G. Vickers
June 27, 2004
The Invisible Government: A Closer Look at Pakistani Intelligence
Asharq Alawsat Newspaper by Omar Farouk
The Leading Arabic International Daily - English Edition
November 20, 2006
Secret War that Undermined Saddam
The Scotsman by Alex Massie
April 26, 2003
# # #
Michael G. Vickers Biographical Data
The White House, President George W. Bush
For Immediate Release - Office of the Press Secretary
April 4, 2007
President George W. Bush today announced his intention to nominate ten individuals, appoint twelve individuals, recess appoint four individuals and designate one individual to serve in his Administration. The President today also announced that he has appointed one individual to serve in his Administration.
The President intends to nominate Michael G. Vickers, of California, to be Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict, and Interdependent Capabilities). Mr. Vickers currently serves as Senior Vice President for Strategic Studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. Prior to this, he served as an Operations Officer at the Central Intelligence Agency. Earlier in his career, he served as a Special Forces Officer with the United States Army. Mr. Vickers received his bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama and his master's degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Michael G. Vickers, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict & Interdependent Capabilities (SO/LIC&IC)
CURRENT ASSIGNMENTS: Michael G. (Mike) Vickers was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict & Interdependent Capabilities) on July 23, 2007. He is the senior civilian advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense on the capabilities and operational employment of special operations forces, strategic forces, and conventional forces. He is also the senior civilian advisor on counterterrorism strategy, irregular warfare, and force transformation.
PAST EXPERIENCES: Prior to his appointment as ASD (SO/LIC&IC), Mr. Vickers served as Senior Vice President, Strategic Studies, at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). In this capacity, Mr. Vickers provided advice on Iraq strategy to President Bush and his war cabinet. He also was a senior advisor to the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, and Executive Director of the QDR Red Team, which provided an assessment of the QDR for the Deputy Secretary and Vice Chairman. In late 2005, Mr. Vickers conducted an independent assessment of special operations forces (The Downing Report) for the Secretary of Defense. He is the author of numerous publications, among which is The Revolution in War (2004).
From 1973 to 1986, Mr. Vickers served as an Army Special Forces Non-Commissioned Officer, Special Forces Officer, and CIA Operations Officer. During this period, Mr. Vickers had operational and combat experience in Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia. His operational experience spans covert action and espionage, unconventional warfare, counterterrorism (including hostage rescue operations), counterinsurgency, and foreign internal defense.
During the mid-1980s, Mr. Vickers was the principal strategist for the largest covert action program in the CIAs history: the paramilitary operation that drove the Soviet army out of Afghanistan. Mr. Vickers oversaw a major change in U.S. strategy, provided strategic and operational direction to an insurgent force of more than 300 unit commanders, 150,000 full-time fighters, and 500,000 part-time fighters, coordinated the efforts of more than ten foreign governments, and controlled an annual budget in excess of $2 billion in current dollars.
Mr. Vickers received his B.A., with honors, from the University of Alabama. He also holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is married to Melana Zyla Vickers, and has five daughters.
Source: Department of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Afghanistan: Lessons from the Last War
The National Security Archive
Electronic Briefing Book No. 57
Edited by John Prados and Svetlana Savranskaya
October 9, 2001
On October 7, the United States launched an attack against targets in Afghanistan in the beginning of what President Bush has promised will be a long campaign against terrorist groups and the states that support them. In response to these events, the National Security Archive offers the second volume of a series called The September 11th Sourcebooks. In this installment, Archive experts John Prados and Svetlana Savranskaya draw on declassified records and the memoirs of former Soviet officials to examine Soviet policymaking, military operations, and lessons learned from the last war in Afghanistan, a bloody, ten-year conflict that pitted Soviet military forces against CIA-backed Afghan rebels. The collection also includes excerpts from an essay written by analyst Steve Galster as an introduction to the Archive's microfiche collection, Afghanistan: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1973-1990, published in 1990.
Afghanistan: The Making of U.S. Policy, 1973-1990
- - Afghanistan, an underdeveloped, tribal-based country, deemed strategically insignificant by the U.S. for decades, became a battleground for the bloodiest and costliest superpower proxy war of the 1980s.
# # # # #
Dan Rather's first trip to Afghanistan was broadcast on "60 Minutes" on April 6, 1980 entitled "Inside Afghanistan" (1). It was discussed in a Washington Post article on April 7, 1980. In the movie Charlie Wilsons War this was the broadcast he started watching in the hot tub that sets up the movie.
(1) It became quite popular for reporters to make excursions inside Afghanistan, accompanied by one of the Mujahiddin groups. The resulting reports were often short on substance; they appeared as a type of adventure tourism, more suited perhaps to the Travel Section. The standard was clearly established in Dan Rathers 1980 60 Minutes broadcast - - "The resistance fighters have opened up with automatic weapons from the top of the ridge toward the tanks below," Rather said breathlessly. "Anti-tank gun goes off. Now, again, silence. Artillery shell. Anti-tank round. Impossible to know where it hit. Or if it struck home.... That round hit the ridge just below us." And then, the ordeals over: "I don't know when anybody's been so glad to see stars." Rather himself tended to emphasize the hardships of the reportage. He made a "three-hour trek" down the mountain, a "two-day walk" from one village to another, and as for getting to the ridge, "the climb was straight up--10,000 feet."
See FR Post: CBS "60 Minutes" - Charlie Wilson's War archive video clips - TAB
Posted for FlAttorney by TAB
# # #
BBC Special: Women In Power
Benazir Bhutto, Former Prime Minister of Pakistan
thanks for the ping!
I’ll bookmark the post for future read. Getting ready to receive family visit, so time is limited today.
From Dr. Jack Wheelers article about Charlie Wilson and Ronald Reagan's War
This picture was taken during my wedding on May 25, 1986. The ceremony took place at the villa of a friend of mine in St. Tropez, France. My bride was a gorgeous California redhead named Rebel Holiday (yes, her born name). The dapper gentleman you see between us was serving as my best man. The reason he doesn't look like Tom Hanks is because he's the real Charlie Wilson. When Rebel tossed her garter after the ceremony, it was Charlie who caught it.
He promptly and gallantly put it on the shapely leg of his then-fiancée, Annelise Ilschenko - who was more beautiful and classier than Julia Roberts, having been Miss USA (in 1975 at age 17). Besides, Charlie hadn't seen Joanne Herring (played by Ms. Roberts) in years.
So it was a strange experience for me to see the movie Charley Wilson's War, a movie portraying events I participated in, to see how it was both true and not true, magnificent and ludicrous at the same time.
Charlie must have been one piece of work. At least he was colorful. Having lived in Louisiana I know colorful politic ans.
I plan to see the movie this weekend
THERE ARE A LOT of words one could use to describe former congressman Charles Wilson--drunkard, sleazy, womanizer, patriot--but the one that most comes to mind in my dealings with him was simply "persistent." Wilson, whose role in supporting the Afghan mujahedin in their war against the Soviets in the 1980s has become the stuff of a best selling book - - Charlie Wilson's War by George Crile, a long-time CBS news producer - - [ Crile, who passed away May 15, 2006, was a controversial ultra liberal that loathed the GOP and conservatives. Many parts of his book are Criles own fictional fantasies that are without basis. That stated, it is still a very good read, just take it with a grain and reason to explore further if interested. - FlA ] and now a ticket-selling movie success of the same name, was a tall, lanky populist Democrat from East Texas. Wilson had first been elected to Congress in 1973 and, by the time the Afghan war had broken out, by hook and by crook, he had made his way well up the seniority ladder of the all-powerful House appropriations committee. It was there he could protect aid to Israel, keep money flowing to Somoza in Nicaragua, and--eventually--pour money into the "covert war" the CIA was quasi-supporting and quasi-directing in Afghanistan.
I say "quasi" because the Agency, especially in the early 80s, was letting the Pakistanis call many of the shots when it came to running the war and was as often as not applying the brake to folks who wanted to up the ante when it came to fighting the Soviets. CIA's analysts were insisting that the Soviets could not possibly lose the war, and the folks from the operational side at Langley were saying: "Let's bleed 'em, but let's not start World War III either." Before I had ever met Congressman Wilson, I had of course heard of him. I was from Texas, and Wilson was already a legend there for partying and his ability to bring home federal money to his East Texas constituents. He had helped pull Rep. John Murtha's bacon out of the fire during the ABSCAM investigation while a member of the House ethics committee and had been rewarded by the Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill, with even more of a free hand on the defense appropriations subcommittee.
As Crile and others tell the story, Wilson first got involved in the Afghan war through a girlfriend and Houston socialite Joanne Herring, who had been named an honorary consul for Pakistan. After a visit to Pakistan, the Afghan border, and a meeting with Mohammed Zia, Pakistan's dictator, Wilson returned to Washington and began to turn on the spigots for both Zia and the mujahedin.
Initially, with support from the outside increasing, the Afghan rebels were eating up the Soviet forces: thousands had been killed or wounded, hundreds of aircraft lost, and thousands of tanks and other vehicles destroyed. But, not willing to go down easily, Moscow ratcheted up the fight by deploying elite special forces (Spetsnatz) to Afghanistan and adding the Mi-24D (Hind) attack helicopter to the fight. The Hinds in particular were devastating, and the fight seemed to be turning in the Soviets favor.
Back in Washington, the issue for those of us who wanted to increase support for the rebels was what could be added to their arsenal to help defeat the Hinds. The older, out of storage, surface-to-air missiles that the CIA and others had been providing them were, at best, only marginal effective. Eventually, through the efforts of officials in Weinberger's Pentagon--especially Fred Ikle, the then undersecretary for policy--modern American surface-to-air missiles (Stingers) were sent, providing a devastating and ultimately critical counter to the Soviet military machine in Afghanistan. Before that decision was taken, however, Wilson had decided all on his own that the mujahedin needed the portable anti-aircraft weapon made by Oerlikon, the Swiss arms manufacturer. Capable of spitting out rounds at several hundred a minute, the weapon could throw a blanket of lead against low-flying attack helicopters and planes. Using his position on the subcommittee, Wilson put language in the annual defense appropriations bill that required the Pentagon to "reprogram"--that is, turn over--$40 million of its monies to the Agency to buy a couple of the weapons and the ammunition to go along.
But, before that money could be turned over, the budget rules required in this case that both the chairmen and ranking members of the two relevant Senate committees (armed services and intelligence) literally sign off on the reprogramming. And it is here that I first ran into Charlie Wilson, the persistent Charlie Wilson, in early spring of 1984. As the minority staff director of the Senate's intelligence committee at the time, Wilson needed my boss, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), to ok the deal. He also needed the approval of Sen. Sam Nunn, then the ranking member on the Armed Services Committee, whom I also served as an advisor on issues that crossed over our two committees' jurisdictions. His first step was to call me and ask me to get their signatures for the reprogramming.
Thinking it mattered, and wanting to give my bosses the best advice I could, I then asked both the Pentagon and CIA what they thought about Wilson's effort to supply the Afghans with 22-mm Oerlikon cannons. Both were adamant that it was one of the dumbest ideas they had ever heard of. The Oerlikon was portable, but definitely not mobile. It would take teams of mules and horses to move the gun, and even larger teams to move the ammo to keep the gun supplied. Once in place, it wasn't going anywhere, and it would be a target as much as a weapon once actually used. And to top things off, each round for the weapon would cost somewhere on the order of $50, with the Oerlikon eating through each 60-round magazine in just a few seconds. Virtually everyone agreed that the Oerlikons would be a waste of money and resources. And if there was going to be a solution to the Hinds, this was not it. The Oerlikons were so obviously impractical that it didn't take long before Wilson's own sketchy history was combined with his push to buy the weapon into pretty loud whispers that there were kickbacks involved. Or, as the then deputy director of CIA John McMahon later more politely said: "We use to make comments like, it must be Charlie's uncle who owns Oerlikon."
I passed this all along to Sen. Moynihan, who instructed me to stall Wilson's efforts. So, for the next while, I "missed" Wilson's calls or "returned" them when I knew he had probably left for the day. But Wilson was persistent and, sure enough, he started making his way over to the Senate side to track me down in person. For a few days, I avoided him and even found myself asking my secretary to see whether the hallways were clear before heading out to lunch. When he finally got hold of me--literally--the 6'4" Wilson was adamant that I get Moynihan's ok for the reprogramming. Angered by Wilson's attempt to intimidate me, I told him that, if my boss were to listen to me, he wouldn't give the ok. After a few rhetorical rounds of "who was I?" and "who was the congressman here?" Wilson then went into his more soothing East Texas routine and said he would take this matter up with the senator directly. It was then Moynihan's turn to scan the hallways, which he quite ably did for a few days. But then Wilson struck. He waited until the senator was in an important finance committee hearing, came in through the back door directly behind the senator and the committee members' dais, and publicly accosted the senator from the back. Sitting in my office, I got a panicked call from one of the senator's other aides telling me that Moynihan had said for me to do whatever I had to do to get this "mad man" away from him, including having him ok the reprogramming.
My next step was to turn to Sen. Nunn, who had only recently taken over for Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson as the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee after Jackson's unexpected death in 1983. But Nunn, of course, was no stranger to Washington's ways and was quite capable of standing pretty firm if he thought it worthwhile. When I briefed Nunn on what was up, his response was simple but smart. He'd only approve the reprogramming if the Agency said it really wanted the Oerlikons. Perfect, I thought. I then called Langley asked them to send a team from the Afghan program down to meet with Sen. Nunn to brief him on the Agency's position. In a day or so, we all met in the senator's office. And sure enough, the CIA caved. Officers who had been constantly calling me over the past month to tell me what a ludicrous idea the Oerlikons were and that Afghan rebels were going to lose their lives carting and protecting these weapons, were now benignly telling Sen. Nunn that the Agency had "no objections" to the reprogramming. Sen. Nunn turned to me, shrugged his shoulders and gave me the old "welcome to Washington" look.
The assumption was that Wilson had gotten to Bill Casey, Reagan's director of central intelligence. And, no doubt, from Casey's point of view, wasting a few tens of millions on the Oerlikons was worth it if it kept this powerful democrat on the side of the angels, especially given all the problems the administration was having getting similar support for its programs in Central America at the time. Plus, in the end, it didn't matter much once the decision to ship Stingers to the Afghan rebels was made a year or so later. So the mujahedin got the Oerlikons. But, as predicted, once they had moved them to a spot, that is where they stayed; and also as predicted, they were of marginal use in the war against the Hinds, at best. But if buying them kept "Good Time" Charlie Wilson happy, that was good enough for Bill Casey--and Casey was probably right.
Gary Schmitt is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and former minority staff director of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Posted for FlAttorney by MAR
I watched the History Channel broadcast last night that we had recorded on our DVR.
Fascinating & riveting, to say the least. It really refreshed a lot of my vague memories of that era. I had forgotten about the car crash Charlie had prior to his junket to Paris & Pakistan. I just got my job & was headquartered in Liberty County, TX. My supervisor & co-workers had nothing but bad to say about Charlie. I voted against him in his re-election bid and recall when he managed to come-from-behind to secure another victory.
Now, years later, I have to admire the guy for what he managed to pull off.
Now I want to get the book.
I probably wont be watching the Hollywood version until it comes out on DVD or PPV. We have a youngster & babysitters are scarce in our neck of the woods.
I’d love to meet the real Charlie Wilson - maybe one of these days I will get back to east Texas.
Not much different from other Congress-critters acting as money-getting patron-saints for funding of their favorite causes. Al Gore (in his own words, "an inspiration for Erich Segal's novel Love Story") got interested in getting more funding for ARPANET / NSFnet as which later became Internet because someone gave him to read a report by inventors of TCP/IP protocol "Towards a National Research Network" [future information superhighway]".
At least Al Gore [in his own words] "took the initiative" in getting more funding for NSFnet, Charlie Wilson had to be "recruited" into getting funding by the charms of Joanne Herring and stories of wild adventures by the "rogue" CIA agent, and potential for junkets to exotic places.
Al Gore has more credible (as much as it is) claim to "inventing the Internet" than Charlie Wilson has to "Charlie Wilson's War", let alone "winning it". There is a reason why Charlie Wilson didn't become a "hero" of heretofore unknown "Charlie Wilson's War" until almost 20 years after the war was over.
Tagline to any political movie that comes out today can be :
When real history is not well known or well forgotten, Hollywood will rewrite it to suit its own ideology.
SSSSShhhh! Don't tell anybody how much I respect and admire the er.....ah...well....hmmmmm...at a loss for public words. LOL!
You are one busy boy!
Had to make an errand into College Station so ended up going to Barnes & Noble and purchasing the paperback version.
Unfortunately, the only ones in stock had Tom Hanks & Julia Roberts plastered on the front cover....but que sera, sera.....
Cant wait to start reading it.....
Yes, the ultra libs are sure shoving it down our throats. Hubby and I also bought the book today even after I saw flattorney's posted comment about it.
[ Crile, who passed away May 15, 2006, was a controversial ultra liberal that loathed the GOP and conservatives. Many parts of his book are Criles own fictional fantasies that are without basis. That stated, it is still a very good read, just take it with a grain and reason to explore further if interested. - FlA ]
It was only $15 plus tax. Like my husband said it is only a movie, only a book, and we don't get educated by liberals anyway. He raised his voice on the liberals part. Some of the book's critical reviews say even with it's fictional inclusions and liberal embellishment it is still a good spy novel.
Thank you for the post. I will have to watch the DVD that was released December 22, 2007. It cannot be any worse than Miami Vice (2006) in which Jamie Foxx starred and was the lead billing. - TAB
The Kingdom (2007)
Box Office Gross Revenue
Domestic: . . . $47,467,250
Foreign: . . . . $37,732,493
Worldwide: . . $85,199,743
- Production Budget: $70 million
- Breakeven: $131 million
IMDB Users Rating: 7.3 | Rotten Tomatoes: Critics: 51% - Users 85%
DVD Release Date: Dec. 22, 2007 [moved up from Dec 26, 2007]
About: When a terrorist bomb detonates inside a Western housing compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, an international incident is ignited. While diplomats slowly debate equations of territorialism, FBI Special Agent Ronald Fleury quickly assembles an elite team and negotiates a secret five-day trip into Saudi Arabia to locate the madman behind the bombing. Upon landing in the desert kingdom, however, Fleury and his team discover Saudi authorities suspicious and unwelcoming of American interlopers into what they consider a local matter. Hamstrung by protocol-and with the clock ticking on their five days-the FBI agents find their expertise worthless without the trust of their Saudi counterparts, who want to locate the terrorist in their homeland on their own terms. Fleury's crew finds a like-minded partner in Saudi Colonel Al-Ghazi, who helps them navigate royal politics and unlock the secrets of the crime scene and the workings of an extremist cell bent on further destruction. With these unlikely allies sharing a propulsive commitment to crack the case, the team is led to the killer's front door in a blistering do-or-die confrontation. Now in a fight for their own lives, strangers united by one mission won't stop until justice is found in The Kingdom. Stars Jamie Foxx; Jennifer Garner; Chris Cooper; and Jason Bateman. - Written by Universal Pictures
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