On Wednesday, March 20, the world will mark ten years since an international coalition led by the United States invaded Iraq. The anniversary coincides with a new documentary–airing Friday night on Showtime–that takes a look at one of the Iraq War’s most influential architects and tireless cheerleaders: former Vice President Dick Cheney.
In The World According to Dick Cheney, filmmaker R.J. Cutler sits down with a long list of Cheney’s detractors and boosters, including former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former vice-presidential aide David Addington, Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, Cheney-biographer Barton Gellman and Ron Suskind, author of The One Percent Solution. But the centerpiece of this story is Cheney himself, and Cutler presents of portrait of Cheney in his own words that’s revealing, if not as critical as most critics of the second Bush administration might like.
This week, the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University released a study on the costs of the Iraq War, both in terms of lives lost and money spent. The study found that at least 189,000 people died from causes directly related to war violence, including 4,488 members of the U.S. armed services and, at least, 123,00 to 134,00 Iraqi civilians. (It estimated the cost of the Iraq War to U.S. taxpayers at, at least, $2.1 trillion.)
Despite this toll–and despite the false pretense of weapons of mass destruction which Cheney and other Bush administration officials used to shape public opinion in favor of the 2003 invasion — Cheney seems completely untroubled by the legacy he left as the most powerful vice president in the history of the United States.
“I did what I did,” he tells Cutler during the film. “It’s all on the public record, and, um, I feel very good about it. If I had it to do over again, I’d do it in a minute.” Of course, most people in the United States, and around the world, would probably skip another eight years of Vice President Cheney running U.S. foreign policy. But you can revisit those scary, deeply polarized years Friday when MSNBC host Martin Bashir talks to R.J Cutler about The World According to Dick Cheney.