Monday Ministerial Musings
By Rev. Mark William Ennis
2022 Blog #31
August 8, 2022
Summer Cinema Scenes in 10 parts
Part 6 “Charlie Wilson’s War”
One of my all-time favorite movies is “Charlie Wilson’s War” which stars Tom Hanks and Julie Roberts. This chronicles the true story of Charlie Wilson, a congressional representative from Texas who engineered America’s covert involvement in forcing the Russian army out of Afghanistan in 1989. Charlie, a very little known member of congress, used favors and great political savvy to increase the funding and weapons to arm citizens of Afghanistan to fight a guerrilla war against the Russian invaders.
As the movie continues, I found myself celebrating the political prowess of Charlie Wilson and the victories of the freedom fighters. I felt the same feelings that I had when I would watch cowboy and Indian movies. I could clearly see the difference between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” and in the end the “good guys” win.
There is a growing euphoria as little by little the funding increases and the “good guys” have more victories. One man, a CIA agent with roots in rural Pennsylvania, doesn’t get sucked into the euphoria. He wants to tell Charlie, and anyone who will listen, the story of the Zen master. It is at the end of the movie that we finally here the story and the warning that it contains.
The story is as follows:
There is a little boy who gets a horse on his fourteenth birthday. Everyone in the village says, “how wonderful that he got a horse.” The Zen Master says, “we’ll see.”
Two years later the little boy falls off his horse and breaks his leg and the whole village says, “how terrible.” The Zen Master says, “we’ll see.”
War breaks out and all the other boys go off to war except this boy because of his leg injury. Because he doesn’t have to go to war the villagers say, “how wonderful” but the Zen Master says, “we’ll see.”
The CIA agent is trying warning Charlie that with the Russians gone, there is a power vacuum in Afghanistan. We were not prepared to rebuild the infrastructure and become friendly with the population. In the wake of this power vacuum the Taliban come to power and ultimately we fought a futile war against that group. All of this came from our covert war against the Russian army.
The lesson in this is that consequences from our actions are not always what we think they will be. Let us be careful what we wish for and work for. We may just get it and the outcomes may not be what we have envisioned.
Charlie Wilson’s War: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2L1-TgfKb4