Our page 3 story highlights the longstanding slimy, criminal tactics of Bush-Cheney mastermind Karl Rove. It points out how Rove’s lying, cheating, backstabbing methods, dating back to the Nixon days, helped the ultra-right seize the pinnacles of political power in our country.

But, as in the past, so too today, Rove is a minor figure in a major crime syndicate.

Nearly 2,000 American soldiers are dead and thousands more seriously injured, many scarred for life in body and spirit, from a war based on lies. Many thousands of Iraqi people have been killed and maimed, and their country lies in ruins. Today’s Karl Rove scandal is not just about the CIA operative he “outed.” And it’s not just about Rove putting himself above the law. As the Downing Street Memo made clear, it’s about the ruthless, orchestrated fraud at the highest level of our government that sent those soldiers to die and be mangled, that rained death and destruction on the “cradle of civilization.” And it’s about the cold-blooded scheming to cover up that crime of the century!

Rove is simply the schemer and hatchet man for the president and vice president. They are the chief criminals.

New York Times columnist Frank Rich was one of the few to make this point, in a scathing July 17 op-ed. In trying to untangle the complexities of this case, he wrote, don’t get “hung up” on Rove, or reporters Matt Cooper or Judith Miller, right-wing columnist Bob Novak, or former ambassador Joseph Wilson and his CIA-agent wife Valerie Plame.

“This scandal is not about them in the end, any more than Watergate was about [Nixon operatives] Dwight Chapin and Donald Segretti or Woodward and Bernstein,” Rich wrote. “It is about the president of the United States. It is about a plot that was hatched at the top of the administration and in which everyone else, Mr. Rove included, are at most secondary players.”

Bush’s announcement of his Supreme Court nominee conveniently pushed this unfolding scandal out of the headlines. We cannot allow a cover-up of the high crimes and misdemeanors committed by this president and his top officers.