An Iraq war veteran confronted former White House advisor Karl Rove during a speaking engagement on Tuesday and demanded he apologize for the war, the Hartford Courant reported.
“I have taken responsibility for my actions and dealt with my demons while advocating for a peaceful resolution of a war that was an act of aggression with no clear goal,” said the former soldier, who identified himself as Ryan Henowitz. “Can you take responsibility and apologize for your decision in sending a generation to lose their humanity and deal with the horrors of war, which you have never had the courage to face? Will you apologize to the millions of fathers and mothers who lost their children on both sides of this useless war?”
The encounter happened while Rove was speaking at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. He had been brought in by the school’s College Republicans and another group, Young America’s Foundation. The Eastern Connecticut Young Democrats posted footage of the exchange online.
Henowitz said he served as a Medic in the 2nd Battalion of the Army’s 7th Infantry Regiment.
“I saw my friends torn apart and Iraqi children screaming for their parents as indiscriminate shrapnel scarred them and us in ways that we will never know,” he told Rove. “We were exposed to more questions about life and death then any 20 year old should have. These scars stay with me and other veterans who are now one of the highest demographics to commit suicide at a rate of 22 suicides per day, and over thousands disabled.”
Rove, who served as deputy chief of staff for then-President George W. Bush, said removing Hussein was the right thing to do because he had “thumbed his nose at the international community.”
“I appreciate your service for our country. I’m sorry for what you went through but it was the right thing to remove Saddam Hussein from power,” he said. “The United States government and the United States military was right to do so. We should be proud of what we were able to do in Iraq and we should be sorry that we left them alone, because when we left them, things deteriorated.”
According to the Courant, Rove also called Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) “Pocahontas” during the event, a disparaging reference to her Native American heritage. A spokesperson for his consulting firm later said that he was “simply making light of the fact that Senator Warren continuously over-embellished her heritage for political benefit during the course of her 2012 campaign.”
Henowitz’s exchange with Rove, as posted online, can be seen below.