Frontline aired a 90 minute episode tonight entitled [The Dark Side], about Cheney’s covert internecine manipulations of intelligence to redirect war on terror efforts from fighting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan to support for a war against Saddam Hussein. Beautiful production values, as always, but biased: no interviews with any of the principals they address including Cheney, Tenet, Wolfowitz, Powell and only about 3 seconds from John Yoo, an architect of the expansion of presidential powers — but plenty of air time for Administration critics Joe Wilson, David Kay and others. No mention — at all — of any rationale for the war that rested on larger strategic goals of reshaping the political landscape in the Middle East, rather the war in Iraq is presented as a way for Cheney and Rumsfeld to settle old scores against Saddam and the CIA. Still, over the 90 minutes, a story becomes clear enough — the intelligence about threat from Iraq was twisted beyond recognition. Tellingly, they point up that more than once, right after 9/11 and just before the Administration decided to push ahead on Iraq, President Bush didn’t defer wholly to Cheney and Rumsfeld but looked to the CIA for guidance and acted on the information provided. Perhaps, if Tenet had been a stronger man, things might have been different.
In [yesterday’s post] I bemoaned the frailty of people in the face of uncertainty, that drives them to rush to judgement before they should. It didn’t address those who don’t want to know the truth, or see it as an obstacle, and merely use information as a means to an end. As someone that figuratively and somewhat literally grew up in psych labs, the thought of conciously distorting knowledge in the effort at pursuing an end — particularly one that will require the ultimate sacrifice of others — is particularly abhorrent.