Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The American Jihad

I've been meaning to go see Charlie Wilson's War, mostly because I'm a big fan of Aaron Sorkin's writing style (our politics differ substantially, but the man is a writing genius). I had no illusions about the veracity of the film; unlike most folks, I actually knew that President Carter authorized the arming of jihadists six months before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, on advice of Zbigniew Brzezinski, with the goal of provoking Moscow. And from my own experiences in the Balkans (and in Washington, DC) I know that many policymakers in the Imperial establishment even now see militant Islam as a potential ally, or at least something that can be used as a weapon.

But it took reading an excellent review by Chalmers Johnson (author of Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire and Nemesis) to really connect the dots.

Furthermore, in his introduction to Johnson's review, Tom Englehardt mentions an important detail about former CIA director William Casey:

...William Casey, the "Catholic Knight of Malta educated by Jesuits," who "believed fervently that by spreading the Catholic Church's reach and power he could contain Communism's advance, or reverse it." And, if you couldn't have the Church do it, as in Afghanistan in the 1980s, then second best, Casey believed, were the Islamic warriors of jihad, the more extreme the better, with whom, in his religio-anticommunism, he believed himself to have much in common. (The enemy of my enemy is my friend, after all.) Casey was, in fact, an American jihadi, eager in the 1980s not just to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan, but to push "the Afghan jihad into the Soviet Union itself."

I still want to see Charlie Wilson's War, but I think I may wait for the DVD.

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