(Spoiler alert). In the current movie, The Good Shepherd, a defector revels to the CIA that the USSR is no threat. He is ignored because the military/industrial complex needs a strong, if imaginary, enemy to fight.
A longer dissertation on the same theme was posted to the Huffington Post last month. This one holds that Trueman was the worst president ever because he started the Cold War.
But, it was Truman who started this disastrous policy and condemned us to a phony confrontation with the Soviet Union. People talk today about the failed and skewed intelligence concerning the threat of WMD from Iraq in 2002. That pails by comparison to the skewed intelligence that was used to make the Soviet Union our mortal enemy between 1945 and 1950. The National Security Act of 1947 that created the CIA was the final "nail in the coffin" concerning our post war relationship with the USSR. And although the Soviet Union was a totalitarian dictatorship, that country was instrumental in the defeat of Nazi Germany and they were not a threat to the U.S.
[...] The U.S. had the atomic bomb in 1945 and the Soviets were only interested geo-politically in protecting themselves from another invasion from Germany, something that had happened 3 times in the 20th Century. So the CIA got to work on this and fed the people with skewed intelligence about the Soviet threat. They even kept this up during the Reagan years when all of our real intelligence had shown that the USSR was on the verge of collapse. They just could not out spend us for 50 years militarily.
[...] In the 50 years that followed WW II, the CIA was busy exporting terrorism throughout the world on the false premise that so-called monolithic Communism was threatening the world. Reagan praised the so-called freedom fighters in Afghanistan who were fighting the USSR. In fact, Reagan's freedom fighters were the extreme Muslims that were responsible for the rise of Muslim extremism and 9/11. At the time, we could not conceive of the idea that the USSR was defending its border with Afghanistan in an attempt to support a secular government there that was aligned with the Soviet Union. When it came to Soviet Russia, an entire generation of Democrats and Republicans supported the idea of containment of the USSR that was expressed in NSC Directive 68.All of this overlooks the fact that the USSR was exporting communist dictatorships to Asia and the Americas from the 1940s through the 1960s. It also overlooks the fact the the Taliban grew out of the Islamic schools in Pakistan where many Afghans were driven by the USSR.
The same writer posted a follow-up on Christmas Eve. A different writer wrote about the Military/Industrial Complex a few days later.
So, why the attack on a conflict that ended nearly 20 years ago? I can see a few reasons.
1) Parallels with the current conflict. Many including myself have argued that WWII is a bad analogy for the War on Terror (AKA the Long war or the War on Islamic Fascists). What better way to discredit the current version of the Cold war than by discrediting the one that we already won? If we shouldn't have fought that Cold War then we shouldn't fight the new one either.
2) Regret for the loss of the USSR. Communism might have been discredited but there are still a lot of unreformed progressives out there. I think that some of them miss the USSR. They think that,like a mistreated puppy that grew up mean, if the USSR had only been treated better, things would have turned out differently.
3) Blame America first. According to this reasoning, the US, specifically the CIA, set up lots of dictatorships in the name of freedom. We created the Taliban. We created everything wrong with the world today in the name of the American Empire.
One interesting point in all of this is how the CIA figures in. When they thought that the leak of a CIA agent;s name might result in the arrest of Karl Rove or Vice-president Cheney, the Left pictured the CIA as a group of heroes, quietly working in the shadows to save us from foreign threats. Now that this hope has been dashed, they have reverted to form. The CIA is back on their list of the worst institutions in the world.