This week’s editorial:
I recently saw the film, “Charlie Wilson’s War’ which depicts efforts of Congressman Charlie Wilson of Texas in the 1980s to provide weapons for Afghan militants who were fighting the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Naturally, the film concludes with Russian troops exiting Afghanistan as Americans cheer their great triumph. There is a slight nod to the future at the conclusion of the film when a cynical CIA agent mumbles something about is the success possibly going to result in new problems.
Of course, subsequent events have demonstrated that driving the Russians and the communist Afghan leadership from control of Afghanistan may have been among the worst blunders of modern times. Osama bin Landen and thousands of militants received arms and training from our CIA who regarded communism as the chief enemy in the world. Out of the debacle created by defeating a communist government– which had created a society in which women had equal rights-drove in the Taliban with arms and cars supplied by the friendly Pakistan Intelligence service. We all know the impact of Taliban power upon women, and miilitants throughout the war. We struck out the first time in Afghanistan by not following up defeat of communism with any form of economic development aid. We struck out the second time in Afghanistant by not having greater economic and social support for the budding new Afghan government.
One must raise the question: suppose a communist Afghan government had remained in power- how would subsequent events have unfolded? Osama bin Laden would have been denied a sanctuary to plan his terror. Women in Afghanistan would not have been reduced to powerlessness and ignorance. Maybe, just maybe, there would not have been a 9/11 nor would there have been an invasion of Iraq. After collapse of the Soviet Union, would a more moderate form of communism have arisen in Afghanistan?
Yes, Charlie Wilson helped drive out the communists. He did it with the support of right wing extremists in America who hated communism but didn’t have a clue as to the world lying to the east in Afghanistan or Pakistan. Ignorance may well be bliss, but it can sometimes result in great horrors in the world.