The first thing that sprang to mind when I got the above flier in my e-mail in-box announcing that "Bush's Brain" Karl Rove will be speaking at the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce's "Phoenix Forum" series, was, um, what, you mean David Duke was unavailable?
Sure, that's a slight to David Duke, who may be a racist so-and-so, but for all his faults, never helped sell a war to the American people under the false premise that Iraq had "Weapons of Mass Destruction."
Certainly, Rove's been mixed up in lots of other sleazy stuff, from the outing of undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame to the dismissals of nine U.S. Attorneys for political reasons to the general sliming of anyone running against one of his candidates.
But that's corn nuts compared to the role he played in marketing an unnecessary war. As we all know, Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, but he had no WMDs, and the WMDs were the casus belli for our country invading Iraq.
Lest we forget, according to the last count by the AP, at least 4,424 men and women of the U.S. military have died in Iraq since the country was invaded in 2003.
Iraqbodycount.org, which offers one of the more conservative estimates of the local carnage, reports a range of anywhere from 98,252 to 107,235 Iraqi civilian deaths from violence since the war began.
And according to a recent Congressional Research Service estimate, the Iraq war has so far cost the U.S. $751 billion. However, Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz in 2008 estimated that the full cost of the war, including caring for all those wounded vets, will be ultimately be three trillion dollars. Since then, Stiglitz has written that he believes the final tally will be far more.
So when Rove was heckled recently during a book signing event in Beverly Hills and called a "War Criminal," I sympathized with the sentiment. Any way you cut it, Rove, along with Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and all the rest of that bunch have blood on their hands. A lot of blood.
And yet, look at all the "sponsors" this "War Criminal" has for his November 9 appearance: SRP, APS, the vultures at Freeport McMoRan, wingnut talk radio station KTAR (no surprise there), The Arizona Republic, the Capitol Times, the Phoenix Business Journal, and so on.
Letting people buy ads in your paper is one thing, sponsoring a "War Criminal" is another.
"Whether you like him or you hate him," Sanders said of Rove, "I think he's going to bring some important insight into what happens. Take [President Obama] right now. If I could get the President to come, I'd certainly bring him."
You mean that black, socialist Kenyan usurper? How dare you! It's not like he's ever mistakenly invaded any countries, while telling the American people it was necessary to prevent another 9/11. The piker. (I know, we're still in Afghanistan, and there are troops yet in Iraq. But Obama didn't start the bull. He just got stuck with it.)
I'm not for censoring anyone. If the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce wants to invite Kim Jong Il or Radovan Karadzic (assuming the Bosnian scum could get out of stir) or even Osama Bin Laden (if he could crawl out of that cave in Pakistan) to speak at their Phoenix Forum series, hey, it's a free country. Still, there's this little problem of guilt by association.
Let's at least hope some protesters show up to greet "the architect" -- non violently, of course. He really deserves to occupy a cell in the 21st Century version of Spandau Prison. (Gitmo, maybe?) But I'd settle for a few ticked off demonstrators.