More Than Just a Dark Side
!Edwin C. Pauzer | New York City | 04/01/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Dark Side is Vice President Dick Cheney's post 9/11 reference to taking on terrorism keeping operations secret and keeping information from the American public. The Dark Side could also be construed as a cynical reference to evil side of the Force in Star Wars. This story gives enough information to support a cynical view.
For Dick Cheney a number of things must occur for him to operate on the dark side. There is his experience watching President Richard Nixon being brought down by Congress conducting the Watergate investigation. To Cheney, this is unseemly for a president to be subjected to. He believes the President should be accountable to no one for his actions.
He has to have connections, and connections that are in the right place. Donald Rumsfeld, a friend of thirty years and an experienced political infighter is running the Department of Defense (DoD). If the others aren't in the right place, he will put them there. John Bolton is sent to Department of State to check Colin Powell who is not supportive of his plans. Paul Wolfowitiz, Douglas Feith, Stephen Cambone, Richard Perle and other loyalists are placed throughout the administration to bolster his agenda. His staff is now the largest vice presidential staff in history.
Now Dick Cheney had everything in place to fight the war on terror the way he wants to, except the president has allowed George Tenet's C.I. A. to lead the attack against al-Qaeda and the Taliban. This is a blow to Cheney and to Rumsfeld who doesn't like taking second fiddle to the C.I.A. And there is Cheney who doesn't trust the C.I.A. Rumsfeld manages to withhold the military personnel the agency needs until the president puts him charge, pushing George Tenet to the background. The DoD will now be the president's major source of "intelligence," and their major source of intelligence is Achmed Challabi, and he knows exactly what this administration wants to hear.
In order to go after Saddam Hussein, Cheney must have intelligence that links Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda and 9/11. He complains that the C.I.A. is simply not providing "sound intelligence." His visits Langley, VA more than ten times continuously asking if there is a connection beteen al-Qaeda and Iraq and asking analysts to recheck their data. The pressure is on.
At the Pentagon, Rumsfeld's hand-picked analysts "cherry-pick" information that support Cheney's Rumsefeld's plan, and discard information that doesn't. This "intelligence" goes straight to the vice president's office without being vetted. One of these fables is Mohammad Atta meeting with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague. Cheney will repeat this story for two years, even after the 9/11 Commission proves that Atta was not there at that time. Cheney will continue making other links between al-Qaeda and Iraq even thought the C.I.A. finds no such connection after combing through thousands of their own documents.
One of Cheney's real marketing successes is having stories leaked to the New York Times, about aluminum tubes, and then after the story is printed, he will cite the Times as a source for the information.
But Cheney has still to convince Congress. The only document Congress trusts is the National Intelligence Estimate, or N.I. E. Under pressure from the vice president, George Tenet presents a false document to Congress stating that Iraq was creating weapons of mass destruction (W.M.D). Tenet had become a convert to a lie. He trades integrity for access. When Bush asked if the information before him is all he has, Tenet adds that it is a "slam dunk." This leads to the Sate of the Union Message with the now well-known sixteen words about yellow cake.
The C.I.A. sends Ambassador Joe Wilson to Africa to investigate. Cheney, ever suspicious of the agency, believes that the agency is trying to sabotage his agenda. Valerie Plame's identity is leaked to the press shortly thereafter.
Colin Powell, the most popular and credible person in the administration is picked to present the case for war against Iraq before the United Nations. Unbeknownst to the General, most of his information is from Rumsfeld's intelligence crew who are shaping facts around the policy. One is a completely incredible source code-named "Curveball." Powell's prestige and credibility suffer. He will leave the administration within months.
Besides taking our country to Iraq on false intelligence, and besides having the president's powers defined as virtually limitless, Cheney is also able to rid himself of the personnel who were blocking his efforts. Powell resigns. Tenet takes the fall for bad intelligence and resigns, and Rice goes over to state.
An American Machiavelli has been able to outmaneuver opponents within the administration, push foreign policy, reconstitute the power of the presidency, lie to the American public, and get a way with high crimes and misdemeanors.
Seventy percent of Americans believed that there was a connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Not a single Iraqi was involved in the attack on 9/11. Seventy percent of Americans were fooled.
Happy April Fool's Day.
"There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." Dick Cheney, Aug. 26, 2002.
293 Days and a Wake-up until we come out of the Dark Side.
Quite possibly the best program on television.
Dhaval Vyas | Dallastown, PA U.S.A | 10/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't watch that much television and I don't get to see that many programs, but Frontline is quite possibly the best program on the tube these days. This is an episode that examines the Bush Administration under a microscope after the 9/11 attacks. It reveals what a bunch of lying, manipulating, evil crooks they are. It reveals how they purposely distorted, exaggerated, and created the evidence that led to the war in Iraq; the intelligence was not bad, folks, it was cooked-up! This is an absolutely awesome episode. It will make your hair-stand."
Every student of American Democracy should see this document
kg5 | Central Texas | 01/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Another incredible installment from Frontline and a must see for anyone who cares about integrity in Democracy. Frontline is known and respected for bringing together sometimes small fragments of network news items and it's own research, inevitably weaving them together to form a seamless reality check for the viewer.
Frontline "connects the dots" and The Dark Side is no exception. The Dark Side looks at the post 9/11 conflict between the White House (Chaney) and the CIA (Tenant). Beginning with the tragic event of 9/11, Frontline clearly explore the facts behind the Vice Presidents role in the White House. And in doing so, sheds light on George Tenant (former CIA director) and other administration players from 2000 to 2008. The Dark Side reveals that while the rest of us sleep soundly, something incredibly insidious was happening beneath the surface of our "Reality TV/X-Box" dreams - I guess when a certain number of people have been pacified into fear, anything can happen. The Dark Side title is taken from a quoted comment Chaney made regarding "(pursuing) the 'enemy' into the shadows" suggesting that we (the Administration) should begin to play on the "enemies" terms. But what is also brought into the light is the question of the dark(er) side of those we entrust - those "in power." Despite intentions of doing what might be perceived as best for America, there are forces bent in using power to pursue an incredible myopic world view and doing so at the expense of "values" they claim to uphold (and are fighting for) - ironic. And dangerous.
The Dark Side rates among the best documentaries regarding the fallout of 9/11. It joins the ranks of Fog of War, Why We Fight, Frontline's Rumsfield's War and The Torture Question - all essential viewing. The facts revealed in The Dark Side should be a positive contribution to the dialog regarding American politics while raising serious questions about the simplistic "do-gooders vs. evil do-ers" paradigm that so many have bought into and hold so dear.
With the welcomed passing of the Bush/Chaney administration, the long term perspective of history will reveal another sad and tragic moment in American History. And with Chaney's current attempt at re-writing history, including his incessant whining directed at Obama - as well as his forthcoming book, he is still trying to justify and manipulate the reality of his (and Bush's) legacy. Good riddance - I feel safer already.
Dont be fooled by naysayers
Kevin N. McMahon | 01/26/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A reveiw of Christopher Johnson's past reveiws suggests he dismisses any program that questions the bush administration. Two in particular were given only 1 star apeice. He is cleary reveiwing strictly along party lines."