Controversial Films

The Dark Side (2006)

Keith Wheelock (Raritan Valley Community College)

Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive. Bob Woodward and Seymour Hersch provided useful insights into the top-level senior officials’ deceptions that led to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. This two-hour Frontline documentary provides chilling details, with many on-the-record- interviews, that are a ‘smoking pistol’ of how Vice President Cheney orchestrated the Iraqi war.

The title comes from a September 16, 2001 Cheney statement on Meet the Press: We have to work the dark side, if you will. Spend time in the shadows of the intelligence world.…A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussions. Cheney’s co-conspirators included his close friend, and one-time mentor, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and a tight knit group of neocons. Cheney and Scooter Libby’s 10 visits to CIA to ‘supervise’ intelligence analysis were part of a concerted plan to shape intelligence to fit a predetermined conclusion.

Some of the most tendentious data interpretations were made ‘official’ in Cheney speeches and leaks to the press. Questionable and false intelligence was included in President Bush’s State of the Union address as well as Secretary of State Powell’s dramatic February 5, 2003 speech to the U. N. CIA Director Tenet, originally a Clinton appointee, according to one insider wanted to be a player, thus trading integrity for access.

All of this is available on an excellent web site that includes a chart of interconnections of key players over a 30-year span, a detailed time line, and numerous interviews with outsiders who comment on what Cheney’s insiders were doing. I wonder, when Cheney referred to the “dark side,” whether, at least subconsciously, he had the Darth Vader villain of Star Wars in mind.


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