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Financial Literacy test shows America falling behind other nations


Financial Literacy test shows America falling behind other nations as additional evident the financial literacy crisis in our nation is evolving.

Less than 10% of 15 year old American students could achieve Level 5

Financial Literacy test shows less than 10% of 15 yo American students could answer Level 5 question.

The financial literacy crisis in the United States is one that statistics and reality seems to grasp the nation’s complacency in making changes to resolve the problem. The OCED is an intergovernmental think thank with 13 member nations, and the the OCED conducts an annual financial literacy exam including 29,000 students 15 yo within the member groups served. The exam is enclosed for review. The exam is measured at 5 different levels to be inclusive of the numbers as student would proceed through the different levels within the 13 member nations. The international comparison is shocking for the United States in the test scores. Level 1 shows almost 93% of American students were able to answer correctly the test question. Level 5 shows the number of American students able to answer the question drops to 9.4%. That is a wide disparity to Shanghai-China’s Level 5 score of 42.6%. America is not alone in the financial literacy debacle as nations across the globe are dealing with same issue, but the leader of the freedom and prosperity is not the leader in resolving the crisis. China is the leader especially in education of financial literacy in their cities. This weakness of education in America shows a nation not capable of remaining as the number one superpower. When the education system is taking the a tempered implementation of personal finance education and students are graduating high school without the knowledge of the benefits of savings/credit choices or the finance behind starting a business. How competent are talented students coming out of high school to make the next step decisions of education or innovation?

 

The answer is competent financial literate students in America are not coming out of the education system. The nation is being robbed of the innovators and upcoming talent needed in the highly technical and executive professions due to the financial vacuum that students face after high school graduation. The following items are the the financial literacy test questions and the scores per nation:

 

 

In this vacuum, students are leaving high school (if they make it to graduation)as adults to find their inadequacies along with parents to fund or explore options in the first steps of adulthood. When grants sit idle and innovative minds are trapped by their economic circumstance, we give credence to complex student loans to fund the higher education of our young people and we shut out the opportunities of ideas when banks do not consider legitimacy of business plans without massive capital and credit. When a degree equals a debt burden, the degree does not guarantee a job to repay these obligations. The yoke of debt does nothing but strangle a young generation. The access of a younger generation is not accessible as to previous generations. The thought of America is the impoverished cannot raise children to break the cycle of the circumstance as a public education leader stated directly in a conversation. We break the back of the American Dream. The economic horror of The Depression Generation did not let poverty push their children to seek better lives and the nation was available to support one entitlement of a democratic and free market system. The door of opportunity is the true entitlement of a free America. We have destroyed the door of opportunity. Many Americans feel entitled to technology and lifestyle without consideration of quality of existence. The accumulation of things may be nice, but the door of opportunity is the roadmap to quality of life and sustainability. Our financial literacy crisis is evident in the smaller and poorer nations scoring higher on financial literacy test scores. A society must wake and speak to make changes to provide Generation Next or the young people under 18 with the tools of financial education and integration.

The cost of failure is a very high price over the short and long term. China will soon became the top economic power even with the credit pressures of the country surpassing the United States, and the day of the Chinese economic power will be a very quick decline in the United States. Failure will see a United States undergo a Communist Soviet Union style collapse where the core of the entity falls apart and having to rebuild the system from the ground upward. Russia is now regaining her influence as a less democratic society in comparison to the years following the collapse of the communist state. The cost of failure will be the loss of America in the dust of historical superpowers, but no country has been as massive in economic might. The fall of such a system will insure the rise of an America less free and lost prosperity for the next century. This doomsday scenario is not unique in history. Ignorance was a contributing factor in the Fall of the Roman Empire. Ignorance has the same impact no matter the modern posterity of human beings. This fall will be accompanied with computers, cable, and smartphone devices at first if the infrastructure remains in tact.  The Roman fall was not witnessed in real time, but America stays the course with the a real time exclusive to the event of the endgame. That is the high price of failure to prepare Generation Next to be prepared in education and knowledge. The fall will come but how hard depends on our aggregate actions of today.

 

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18 And Life: Personal and Business Finance Education Impact Before 18


donnuy - Edited2The year was 1990, and 18 was not looking so bad for this soon to be high school graduate. The Fall of the Berlin Wall and The Soviet Union was on the verge of collapse. The United States was the beacon of freedom, hub of prosperity, sole superpower, and the gateway to prosperity was bright and shining ahead. I had a brand new car, went on a cruise, and planning for college with no worries of loans or college debt. I was on top of the world, and the world was mine. The dream was alive for me turning 18..I never thought 40 would be in the near future, but the 22 years flew by in several moments in time. 

Fast forward to 2012, I was 18 in 1990, and life has gone 22 years into the future and turning 40. The world has changed, and I have changed. I did graduate from college, and had a very successful career in banking. The truth is many graduates of  my high school class were either in a better position or not in the position when I was 18. The two decades were to have years of plenty in money and success in my career. Other years would see my mistakes almost destroy everything, and medical illness would threaten my life twice to emotionally erase the fight and drive inside.

I was living the boom. I thought that the boom would be forever, but the achievements of my Father and Uncle at 40 would be a new starting point in my existence. They did not live the security of life as granted to me all my life. The older dog saying is so true. It is harder to learn new tricks. It is more difficult for an adult to learn to read than a child. The same is true for financial habits and knowledge. Life did not explain that events would happen under and out of your grasp of control. The boom would become a bust.

The piggy bank is dead. Saving money  is being taught by a piggy bank to a society where 3 year olds can text .When I hit the big 4-0, one little change at 18 would have made a high impact in my life for the rest of my life. It would take forty years to understand.  The importance would come in a clarity of being educated in personal and business finance inclusive of learning to saving money, credit and borrowing knowledge, and smart money management beginning in elementary school. The impact would strengthen my abilities to make smarter decisions as an adult.

I was living the boom. I thought that the boom would be forever, but the achievements of my Father and Uncle at 40 would be a new starting point in my existence. They did not live the security of life as granted to me all my life. The older dog saying is so true. It is harder to learn new tricks. It is more difficult for an adult to learn to read than a child. The same is true for financial habits and knowledge. Life did not explain that events would happen under and out of your grasp of control. The boom would become a bust. Being a banker did not deter my success, but I did not realize the danger of being financially ignorant and intelligent at the same time.

In reality, my family were in a generation of community bankers being the teachers of finance. My family did not know how or what to teach to prepare for this modern world. I did not worry at 18 being giving a yoke of debt around my neck for a undergraduate degree. I could not imagine 22 years ago  the debt burden our young adults face today by deciding to go to college with a mountain of debt at graduation and the current job market. We are a debtor society, and we are in too deep in the willingness not to change.

If I was 18 again, I would walk down for my high school diploma, and I would have another milestone in addition to my diploma. I would have an education  system to hold a small business ownership fair in parity to a science fair. I would have been educated to save money for the future and charity to assist others in the right situation, credit savvy, and less expectation of the new goodies for my family to provide. I would know that saving for a house was expected, and I would be educated in money matters to not be led by words or business practices to hurt and not enhance my financial ownership of my life.

Material world is useless without a spiritual world. At 40, the happiest people were my grandparents that I ever met in the entire world. They gave me the love and happiness that was robbed from them as children, and money was a tool for they had land including their home. A farm was filled with plenty of food, and toys and excitement were all around. They left knowing that I grew up in security in a great country.

Are you a parent or future parent? The benefactors of the 80′s, 90′s and before the 2008 crisis were gifts of a Depression generation to suffer and fought to leave better than the nightmare in their time. They left us prosperity and we are leaving debt and decline for the younger and future  generations as our gift to the future.

Poverty is a challenge to change your child when you are barely surviving. Are you making 50k a year? 100k? 20k a week? 40% of people live paycheck to paycheck on households of 100k in annual income or more. My former client would receive a direct deposit of 20k personal income a week and would bounce checks after the second business day. My family grew up under poverty and became millionaires, but we are high income earners in despair. Broke in style is a situation of personal blame but financially ignorant. Both do take from the quality of life, and financial integration and education at 18  would change the financial ignorance, secrets, and system that we are forced to live and abide. We are a debtor society and the product of $500 credit card hand outs at college campus as introduction to credit and borrowing.

I want to help our next generation of future children and children under 18 to be equipped with the tools of financial knowledge, interaction, and engagement to have the tools to clean the rubble of financial chaos left behind. Those tools would have given this 18 year old a much different path, and my classmates would have the same knowledge to understand the disaster our financial system. We would be empowered to demand change in the financial services industry.

We are not educated to understand as banking seems complex, and we must fear the industry even when they break the rules.

We are old dogs. Teach your children. Educate your children with assistance and few changes of behavior to engage your new pups the new tricks. A Super Parent would know that the gift given fully at 18 would last for life. 18 and life can be many options for your new young adult of the future. Secure young adult will handle the decisions of college and courage to traverse the worst of economies as a financially savvy and educated 18 year old as a new part of the  Saver society. The other option is college and degree with years of debt, or insecure young adult will get lost with no college and financial chaos that will lead to. A dark path unless a miracle would happen. That is letting your future 18 year old drink the cup of this debtor society in a much precarious economic situation. The educated child has a chance to survive and thrive but the latter will be given a subprime knowledge in survival. I would not want to live as the latter. I want to help our kids and the parents give a gift back. They must rebuild paradise, but paradise was built on a treasure of the freedom of the American Dream.

****THIS ARTICLE MAY BE REVISED AND UPDATE OVER THE NEXT FEW DAYS….I AM LOOKING TO STATE MY CASE TO TEACH OUR NEXT GENERATION OF FINANCIAL EDUCATION BEFORE 18…..THIS FIRST ARTICLE IS A SERIES TO INTRODUCE SUPER PARENTING:MILLION DOLLAR CHILDREN BY 18

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The Fall of France 1940 Finality of Collapse by the German Sword


This photograph was taken in the forest of Com...

This photograph was taken in the forest of Compiègne after reaching an agreement for the armistice that ended World War I. This railcar was given to Ferdinand Foch for military use by the manufacturer, Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits. Foch is second from the right. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

America will experience a collapse if not now in the near future, and this epic episode is playing out live in Washington, DC. Many people compare an American collapse to the collapse of the Soviet Union. I heard a reference two weeks ago about American collapse and The Fall of France in 1940 to Germany. The last push to France in the  collapse was the German invasion with armor tanks slicing the country as hot knife through a the weakest part of butter. They built the Magino Lines with 500,000 soliders in underground bunkers and French Army of Elite Troops fighting a few the diversion Germany attack to the north in Beligum with the entire British land forces in Europe beside the French army and reporting only minor fighting for a number of divisions in lieu of the bulk of the fighting force for Germany coming out of the Arden Forest with French commanders disputing reports of heavy forces invading from Germany because Germany could not have sufficient fighting forces before a certain time, and that time was the first possibility for real threat to be realized by Germany.  The political and military leadership were the victors in the First World War over Germany, but the bitter costs of the war politically and militarily was nation internally in pieces. The political situation was so dire as left hated right to the point of dictatorship would be the preference of either side to solve political problems instead of compromise and stay democratic.

 

In the military, the 1917 leaders in the First World War were back in command as men in their 70′s-80′s without any younger demographic in French military leadership. Did any of aging veterans consider bringing up some younger recruits as leaders to complement their experience with new technology and speed advancements 20 years after the First World War to keep the French Army robust, but the inventor of tanks and aircraft in 1918 went back to using the horse as transport in the Second World War. The country was bitter and was in political upheaval and military decay with a French populous just over the entire  situation in France that easy out to the Devil would be acceptable to fighting Germany for a hated France.

 

This article provides an eyewitness in time to the Fall of France and a good comparison to what would occur in America collapse of today with some twists and differences.  The next article will look at the American collapse to provide a feasible theory of events pointing to the eventual meltdown in America. Many Americans are tired and will not be surprised at first over a collapse, but a militaristic Germany will not force an American population into behavior through occupation by terror and murder. The terror would be a societal collapse with all civil services non operational.

 

France in Defeat, 1940

 

 

It took only six weeks for France to capitulate to the German invaders. A stunning defeat – particularly since before the war the French army was considered the most powerful in Europe.

 

France’s vaunted Maginot Line failed to hold back the Nazi onslaught and the German Blitzkrieg poured into France. (see Blizkrieg, 1940) Thousands of civilians fled before it. Traveling south in

 


A Frenchman weeps as German
troops march into Paris
June 14, 1940

 

cars, wagons, bicycles or simply on foot, the desperate refugees took with them what few possessions they could salvage. It wasn’t long before the roads were impassable to the French troops who were headed north in an attempt to reach the battlefield.

 

Paris was abandoned and declared an Open City. The French government joined the fleeing throng and after moving to, and then quickly abandoning one location after another, finally ended up in the city of Vichy.

 

The ultimate humiliation came at the signing of the armistice on June 22. The French had maintained as a memorial the railroad car in which the armistice ending World War I had been signed twenty-two years earlier. It occupied a hallowed space within a small forest north of Paris. Hitler insisted that France’s capitulation to his Nazi jauggernaught be formally acknowledged in the same railroad car at the same spot.

 

Under the terms of the armistice, France was divided into two sections: Occupied France under direct German control and Vichy France – a quasi-independent territory with Marshall Petain, an eighty-four-year-old hero of the First World War, as its head.

 

A reporter for the London Times published his observations on defeated France shortly after its collapse:

 

“A problem for all who think about it is how to explain the amazing mental attitude which seems to prevail today in France. Most Frenchmen seem to regard the total collapse of their country with a resignation that has the appearance of indifference. They are, indeed, dazed by the rapidity of the collapse, but register no violent reaction to so great and unexpected a shock. Soldiers in considerable numbers are being demobilized and returning home, and so, it is felt, the catastrophe cannot be too appalling. The German propaganda machine is working on this state of mind. The R.A.F. attacks upon the aerodromes in the occupied region are used as evidence that the British, who have already deserted their Ally, are now making direct onslaughts on the Frenchman’s home.

 

ADVERTISMENT

 

There is little interest among the ordinary people in the maneuvers of the Petain Government. The Marshal himself is not looked upon with any enthusiasm. His achievements as a soldier in the last War are generally recognized, but his last minute entry into politics makes little stir in the Frenchman’s heart. On the other hand Laval [a lieutenant of Petain's and the real head of the government], who has never been popular, excites almost general distaste…”

 

Conditions in Vichy France

 

“Vichy, for a nation which has reached the nadir in its history, gives an excellent picture of a certain French state of mind. Naturally the place is crowded beyond capacity. It is full of well-to-do refugees from occupied France, as well as French officers, immaculately accoutered, and political aspirants. They crowd the cafes, hotels and boulevards. The refugees and officers are enjoying the calm and the mild pleasures to be had there.

 

The aspirants are busily fishing in the stirring political pool in the hope of finding an agreeable job. There is adequate food for those who can afford to buy it, always provided that you are not a butter lover or do not expect to find a wide selection of luxuries in the shops. Here is little evidence that France has suffered one of the greatest defeats in her history. Outside the boundaries of this temporary capital, food is not so plentiful, yet in a minor degree the same spirit of indifference exists. The men are returning fairly quickly to their homes and to the harvests which have been in many cases ruined by inattention. But it is hard to discover any serious attempt to meet the formidable problems which are threatening the Vichy Government.”

 

Conditions in Occupied France

 

“The opinion is often expressed that occupied France is in a much better shape, in spite of all the devastation, than the unoccupied territory. The Germans for many reasons are trying to whip into shape that part of the country which has fallen into their sphere of influence. Their problem is especially serious.

 


The division of France

 

North of Paris there exists a desert. Towns like Abbeville, Amiens, Cambrai, Arras, and scores of others are very largely destroyed, though in most places the churches and the cathedrals seem to be intact. The villages are deserted, the farmsteads empty.

 

Crops are rotting on the ground. The first wave of the German Army consumed everything. It was, in fact, until a week or two ago a land of the dead, metaphorically and literally, since the corpses of men and animals still littered the ground. Now the people are slowly creeping back, only to find that there is little to eat and less to do. Everywhere the first pick of what is going falls to the army of occupation, the second to those who work for their German masters, the scanty crumbs that remain are left for those who fulfill neither of these conditions.”

 

Treatment of British Prisoners

 

“One case of refined cruelty was witnessed at Malines, where a body of British prisoners were being marched east. They were in full uniform except for their tin hats. These had been replaced by a variegated assortment of every kind of headgear, male or female: bowler hats, toppers, caps, homburgs, women’s bonnets, berets, plumed Ascot models. A pathetically ridiculous spectacle. Its only purpose could have been to make the weary men look clownish or to suggest to the French inhabitants that British troops had been looting the shops. Other tales of discrimination between British and French prisoners of war are common. Nevertheless, on the whole, the treatment of prisoners whose care is left to the second-line troops is not too bad.”

 

References:
This article was originally published in The Times of London on August 17, 1940, republished in The Times of London, Europe Under the Nazi Scourge (1941); Shirer, William L., The Collapse of the Third Republic: an inquiry into the fall of France in 1940 (1969).

 

How To Cite This Article:
“France in Defeat, 1940,” EyeWitness to History, http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2006).

 

 

 

The Brink of War: Syria Becomes Potential Ground Zero for US and Russia


The worst consequence of mankind leaps in technology, communication, and travel is the magnitude of war. The industrial revolution made globalization a reality in the early part of the 20th Century, and World War I or The Great War began in 1914 over an incident in the Balkans.  War broke out over a renegade terrorist from Serbia assassinating  Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary.  One incident was the spark for the First World War.  War was conducted on a scale unprecedented in the history of the world as war at that time was fought by land, sea, and air from the shores of America to Asia.  Four years of carnage before the Allies could defeat Central Powers had to pass before the war would come to an end. Twenty years in the future, World War II began as a result of how the first one ended. The carnage and destruction made World War I seem like a trial run for Total War. Genocide and Atomic Weapons were the result of the Second World War.  Today, a crisis is evolving that may have implications globally.  The Assad Regime in Syria has absolutely nothing to lose, and the recent chemical attack on its citizens were not strictly to combat the insurrection threatening the Assad regime. This dire move was to take pressure off Assad, and bring the United States and Russia to the brink of war as the Russia’s mantle will be shown as advocate of war and enemy of the United States.  Why would Syria risk a global war?  The answer is Israel….The worst case scenario would be no less than catastrophic.

The complexity of the situation in Syria is many dynamics for people to grasp. Syria has a best case scenario from using such a dangerous card. The one item on this planet can take the pressure off the Assad Regime, and the ending the war would be the result because of this one item.  Israel could become the focal point as the core problem in the entire region. Israel would be the one time to unite the different sects, conflicts, and countries of the Islamic world. The Soviet Union was not allies with the United States or Britain until the Nazi Regime came along with Adolph Hitler. Communism and Capitalism put all differences aside and united to defeat the Nazi’s.  The Nazi Regime was pure evil. Israel is a Jewish nation in the middle of an Islamic Middle East. The conflict is religious and generational to the point in the Islamic world. Israel would be a strong enough issue to unite the Islamic world. If this gamble works, Assad saved his regime in Syria at the expense of a world on the brink of war. What a dangerous game is being played for self preservation of power.

 

President Obama secret energy crusade or grave mistake? (Article One)


English: President Barack Obama welcomes Israe...

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Presidents must act in certain times to lead a nation through times of crisis, prepare a nation of the journey ahead, counsel the nation to action, or commit to action against popular opinion to protect national interests and security. President Roosevelt had to prepare a nation for war, support an ally from annihilation, and uphold legal law of the land during the run up to Pearl Harbor in December 1941. President Reagan had to bring the American people face to face with the country’s mortal enemy, The Soviet Union.  President Reagan had to counsel the American constituency that freedom was the weapon to win the Cold War and bring the end to communism. Both presidents had an insurmountable task to bring the nation from a place of great weakness to a place of great strength to accomplish the impossible of defeating tyranny in the 20th Century.

President Obama is at a similar crossroads in his presidency, and his actions would speak that our country’s mortal threat is Energy Security. The current crisis with Iran has sent the price of crude oil up this calendar year, and that translates to higher gas prices for America.  President Obama’s actions are a secret crusade to transition our nation off carbon fuels and foreign dependence on oil, but his actions may be a long-term necessity to insure national security but a grave mistake in the short-term.

A review of President Obama’s energy policy short-term implications must explore the following items of interest:

  • The President’s legislative intervention was to prevent passage of the Keystone XL Pipeline in the Senate by making phone calls to Democratic members of the Senate who were sitting on the fence about a final vote. What is the motivation to kill domestic oil production and high wage jobs?
  • The Republican’s claim stating President Obama being in favor of high gas prices to wean the American people off carbon base fuels. What factual basis is this claim? What harm to the economy if gas prices go higher?
  • The President’s recent trip to North Carolina was to promote truck factory producing trucks that consume Natural Gas instead of petroleum.   What implications to the US Economy by not embracing all available domestic resources of energy until the technology are ready to meet needs?  Are we ready for Green?
  • President Obama is handling of the Iran issue did nothing to stem the tide of high gas prices or to avoid war. What is the President’s plan to avoid oil disruption in the Middle East?

The short-term energy policy will have potential negative consequences to the US economy.  The next several articles will examine all short-term costs to President Obama’s long-term objective of Green and Clean Energy is the ultimate insurance of Energy Independence and Security for America and the world.

Super Tuesday Blues: Charlie Wilson’s legacy in comparison to the political leadership of today


Charlie Wilson’s War Trailer courtesy of MovieClips on You Tube

Charlie Wilson’s War was the unmasking of one of the true stories of the behind the scenes efforts by many to hasten the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Congressman Charlie Wilson was the individual to make the War in Afghanistan for the Soviet Union   into a Vietnam nightmare for the communist regime. The story was not public knowledge because of the man behind the operation. Congressman Charlie Wilson was the over the top (movie does capture how over the top) 12 term Congressman from Texas that liked drinking, women, and alleged illegal substances. Congressman Charlie Wilson would be thrown out of Washington, DC on his respective ear. The bad behavior was the other side of Charlie Wilson as his love of country and respect for the principles of this country was the triumph card over all in his life. Charlie Wilson’s antics would not the everlasting legacy of his political leadership, but his involvement was paramount in bring down the Soviet Union.

In the times of peril, America had to utilize every resource of talent in leadership, and those times did require more unorthodox people such as President Abraham Lincoln and Congressman Charlie Wilson. Both men would not be tolerated in today’s political environment, but both men did play a role in keeping America secure for the future generations to enjoy. Our current political leadership in Congress does not publicly act so out of the mainstream as Abe and Charlie, but the legacy of this generation’s political leadership is the approaching  financial ruin due to fiscal madness in Washington, DC. Our politicians may be transparent in bad behavior as being publicly drunk or chronically depressed, but the legacy of this Congress is nothing less than moral culpability in the decline of the American society for the future generations to come. Super Tuesday Blues are knowing the status quo is alive in the halls of Congress, and the full speed ahead to the path of financial ruin is real as the debt ceiling worries are rearing again. Holding out for hero at this point may be nothing less than wishful thinking.

Content by: Donny Wise @ donny-wise.com

———————————————————————

Charlie Wilson’s War: When Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

Written By Martin Frost

Published December 17, 2007

NONE

  • The real Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson

    The real Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson

  • Tom Hanks as Congressman Charlie Wilson, and Philip Seymour Hoffman as a rogue CIA agent in the new film, 'Charlie Wilson's War.'

    Tom Hanks as Congressman Charlie Wilson, and Philip Seymour Hoffman as a rogue CIA agent in the new film, ‘Charlie Wilson’s War.’

  • Actress Julia Roberts plays the love interest in 'Charlie Wilson's War.'

    Actress Julia Roberts plays the love interest in ‘Charlie Wilson’s War.’

Some times truth is stranger than fiction.

My guess is that a significant number of people who see the new movie, “Charlie Wilson’s War,” about the exploits of my former Congressional colleague from Texas, Charlie Wilson, will walk out of the theater shaking their heads thinking that Hollywood made all this up. It simply couldn’t be true.

Well, folks, it is true. All of it. Congressman Charlie Wilson, a member of the House Appropriations Committee for much of his 24 years in Congress representing a rural district in East Texas, single handedly convinced Congress during the 1980’s to appropriate hundreds of millions of dollars to finance a covert war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. The money went to provide weapons for Afghan rebels who drove the Soviet Army out of their country, humiliating one of the two greatest armies in the world and contributing to the collapse of the Soviet Union a few years later.

What makes the story even more incredible is that Charlie Wilson was a rake — a fun-loving Congressman who liked whisky, beautiful women and, allegedly, an occasional dose of recreational drugs.

Tom Hanks plays Charlie and, if anything, portrays him in a somewhat subdued way. If Hanks had really come over as outrageous as the real Charlie Wilson, absolutely no one would have believed the story. Julia Roberts plays Charlie’s Houston socialite love interest — a born-again beauty who first interested Charlie in the cause of the rag-tag Afghan resistance force. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the rogue CIA agent who showed Charlie how to actually get the arms to the Muslim Afghans without causing an international incident. Would you believe that he devised a plan to use the Jewish state of Israel as the middleman?

Before Charlie took up the cause of the Afghan resistance, no one was providing them the sophisticated weaponry needed to shoot down Soviet helicopters and to blow up Russian tanks. Charlie basically traded every chit he had accumulated as a member of the Appropriations Committee over his Congressional career by doing favors for other Congressmen (many of whom were liberals from the North East) in exchange for his project of defeating the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Thanks to Charlie and the courage of the Afghan rebels, Afghanistan became the Soviet Union’s Vietnam.

Several things make this a great movie: (1) it is true; (2) it does not try to hide the fact that Charlie Wilson had large faults that probably would have made it impossible for him to accomplish something like this today (20 years later); and (3) Hanks, Roberts and Hoffman have real star power and play their roles perfectly. Hoffman is simply brilliant in almost any role and this has to be the best performance of Julia Roberts’ career.

Charlie pulled this off in the era before 24-hour cable news. CNN was in its infancy. FOX and MSNBC didn’t even exist. Charlie’s foibles probably would have been exposed in great detail in the new media environment and he might have been driven from public office before he could ever have performed this great service to the country.

It is certainly possible that the Soviet Union ultimately would have collapsed even if it wasn’t humiliated in Afghanistan, but Charlie Wilson’s successful personal war may have accelerated the timetable.

The real tragedy of all of this was that the United States walked away from Afghanistan after the Soviets were driven out. We refused to provide vital educational and developmental aid to the new government which eventually was replaced by the extremist Taliban.

Charlie tried to persuade Congress to provide this economic aid after the military aid was successful, but even he couldn’t accomplish that. The movie shows this effort and concluded with a quote from Charlie about how we lost a golden opportunity to avoid Muslim extremism. He was right then just as he was right in helping drive the Soviets out of the country.

This is the type of movie that should be seen by people of all ages because it is truly an inspiring story. However, there is enough nudity and profane language that it couldn’t come close to a “G” rating. The nudity really wasn’t necessary to the story but you couldn’t eliminate the strong language. It wouldn’t have been credible in a sanitized version.

So here it is — warts and all. “Charlie Wilson’s War” is a wonderful story, well told. I loved the movie and I am one of the people who believe that Charlie Wilson is a great American.

Respond to the Writer

Martin Frost served in Congress from 1979 to 2005, representing a diverse district in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. He served two terms as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, the third-ranking leadership position for House Democrats, and two terms as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Frost serves as a regular contributor to FOX News Channel and is a partner at the law firm of Polsinelli, Shalton, Flanigan and Suelthaus. He holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a law degree from the Georgetown Law Center.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,317196,00.html#ixzz1oMFt2bbr

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