I just finished watching the PBS Frontline documentary called The Dark Side, which focuses on Cheney’s role in manipulating intelligence to get us to declare war on Iraq. Cheney used intimidation and subtle applications of shadowy force to get his way.
From stories of Iraq buying yellowcake uranium from Niger to claims that 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta had met with an Iraqi agent in Prague, “The Dark Side” dissects the now-familiar assertions that led the nation to war. The program also receounts [sic] the vice president’s unprecedented visits to the CIA, where he questioned mid-level analysts on their conclusions. CIA officers who were there at the time say the message was clear: Cheney wanted evidence that Iraq was a threat.
At the center of the administration’s case for war was a classified October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate that found evidence of an Iraqi weapons of mass destruction program. But Paul Pillar, one of the report’s principal authors, now admits to FRONTLINE that the NIE was written quickly in a highly politicized environment, one in which the decision to go to war had already been made. Pillar also reveals that he regrets participating in writing a subsequent public “white paper” on Iraqi WMD. “What was the purpose of it? The purpose was to strengthen the case for going to war with the American public. Is it proper for the intelligence community to publish papers for that purpose? I don’t think so, and I regret having had a role in it,” Pillar says.
Dick Cheney should be charged with violating his oath of office, impeached and removed from office. Thereafter he should be indicted for crimes against humanity in both international and national courts and — if the evidence truly supports it — convicted and sentenced to prison. I’m sure we can find some other crimes to charge him with as well, but that’s the tip of the iceberg. There probably is no crime that really fits what he did. We’ll have to create one and name it after him.