This being San Francisco, its not hard to persuade people that George W. Bush acts more like an unaccountable dictator than a democratically elected president. But if local lefties had any remaining doubts, New Yorker reporter Jane Mayers new book, The Dark Side, will convince them once and for all that the Bushies used the War on Terror as an excuse to put the president and members of the administration above the law. Mayer describes in horrifying detail what Vice President Darth Cheney meant when he told Tim Russert in the aftermath of 9/11 that the U.S. would have to delve into the dark shadows of the intelligence world. Afterward, she writes, suspected terrorists (many later determined to be innocent) were disappeared to secret prisons where they were tortured; one detainee even begged his captors to let him commit suicide. Mayer does an excellent job giving credit to the unsung heroes of the War on Terror dismayed FBI agents, CIA officers, and military lawyers who sounded alarms internally to the administration even before the atrocities of Abu Ghraib became public. These principled conservatives understood that the U.S. shouldnt lose its soul in the name of protecting its way of life.
Thu., Aug. 7, 6 p.m., 2008