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The President of the United States, who lacked the courage to serve his country during the Vietnam War, has once again shown his cowardice. Scores of brave American soldiers have given their lives since he went on vacation a couple of weeks ago. And yet, when the mother of one of our war dead -- Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed awhile back in Sadr City -- showed up at his Texas ranch asking to speak to him, he didn't even have the cojones to ask her in for a cup of coffee.

Instead, he had Karl Rove contact the Drudge Report and other sleazy news outlets across the land with a couple of comments Mrs. Sheehan made to her hometown paper in Vacaville, Calif., shortly after her son's death. Taken out of context, the quotes make her look like she spoke in favor of Bush and his dirty little war. On reading the full interview, however, it is clear that, from the beginning, she thought her son had died for nothing and was -- as we all might in such a situation -- just trying to be polite to the president.

What a coward. What a pathetic excuse for a man. To refuse to meet with, and then attempt to slime, a Gold Star Mother. It's inexcusable. In fact, it's beyond inexcusable.

The moral high ground in this, of course, belongs to Cindy Sheehan and the other mothers of dead soldiers who have joined her on her vigil down in Texas. It clearly does not belong to George W. Bush, who shirked his military commitment at a time when "wimps" like Al Gore and John Kerry were getting shot at in Southeast Asia.

Mrs. Sheehan, a Catholic youth minister for eight years, says the war is unjust, immoral and was predicated on a pack of lies emanating from the Bush administration. She is, of course, correct. No evidence has been produced to show a link between the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks against the United States and the regime of Saddam Hussein, and the question of whether the Iraqis were in possession of weapons of mass destruction was resolved a couple of years ago.

They weren't, by the way, despite Colin Powell's masterful deception at the United Nations.

Our president is a coward who lied us into a war we can't possibly win. The blood of more than 1,850 American soldiers, 195 allied troops and at least 25,000 Iraqis is on his hands.

As the writer Juan Cole noted recently, "The war in Iraq is over, and the winner is ... Iran."

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Aug. 16 2005