Charlie Wilson (Tom Hanks) starts out in the 1980s as a congressman who is more interested in partying than legislating, frequently throwing parties. This ultimately leads to an investigation into his cocaine use, as part of a larger inquest into governmental misconduct, but results in a clearance of Charlie's name. Friend Joanne Herring (Julia Roberts) asks Charlie to help the Afghan people, and talks him into visiting with the Pakistani leadership. The Pakistanis complain about the lack of American support to oppose the Soviets. Charlie is deeply moved by the misery he sees in an Afghan refugee camp and is determined to do something, but is frustrated by the local CIA office's stand-off approach against the Soviets. When returning home, Charlie organizes a fundraiser for the mujahideen. Meanwhile, Charlie joins forces with CIA agent Gust Avrakotos (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and his group, consisting of members of the CIA's Special Activities Division. Charlie's political bargaining for sufficient funds and Avrakotos' group's careful use of those resources, cripples the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan greatly. The CIA's anti-communism budget grows from 5 to over 500 million USD, startling a number of congressmen. Charlie's effort gradually becomes the part of the American foreign policy known as the Reagan Doctrine, expanding U.S. assistance into supporting anti-communist resistance groups anywhere in the world. Charlie follows Gust's advice to find support for Afghanistan once the Soviets leave, but meets no enthusiasm in any part of the American government. Charlie receives a commendation for his contributions, but he fears the future unintended consequences his covert efforts might have and the impact of American withdrawal from Afghanistan.
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Best part of story, including ending:
This is based on a true story. It's distressing to know there is so much going on behind closed government doors, that has such major consequences for the world. All it takes, is - or could be - one lunatic...
Best scene in story:
Where he gets his commendation and starts doubting everything he has done was the right thing to do.
Opinion about the main character:
You would hope there are some checks and balances for people like him.