Charlie Wilson’s War starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Seymour Hoffman as the crass street wise CIA operative was a bit of reality injected into the uncertainty of our foreign affairs. See it.

Womanizing and boozing, but effective, Congressman Charlie Wilson is touched by the plight of the Afghan refugees from Russia’s brutal invasion. He increases the funding of covert operations to arm the mujahideen from $5 million to a billion dollars and helps send the Russians running with their heads between their legs, not only removing the Commmunist threat from the Middle East but neutering the Soviets for decades.

In the end he laments that “… we fucked up the end game.” While willing to fund arms to defeat the soviets, the politicians were uninterested in funding the recovery, building needed schools, hospitals and security forces. We left a vacuum that was filled by the Taliban and Al Queda. We are back in Afghanistan finishing the very difficult work.

We learned from the over bearing reparations forced on Germany after WWI, and after WWII replaced the crushing punishment with the Marshal Plan. We learned from the endless uncertainty of Vietnam and succeeded in Desert Storm with clarity and short term ferocity.

In Iraq we have learned that we must commit to win the peace if do not want to return. Regardless of inteligence failures that may have led us into Iraq, if we withdraw without committing to rebuild and improve the position of the Iraqis we will not serve the cause of peace; we will only be laying the ground work for the next war.