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By Bill Gallagher

DETROIT -- It's a campaign built on failure and fraud. George W. Bush claims he's making our nation and the world more safe and secure, and hopes enough people will buy that big lie so he can stay in power.

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Around the world and at home our security blanket is matted and stinky, and our resolute leader is really the national pacifier sucking his thumb, praying for the campaign to end and hoping another term will return him to more naps and the earlier bedtimes that he's accustomed to as a child of supreme privilege.

The forefront in his war on terrorism is the streets of Baghdad, Fallujah and other Iraqi cities, as Americans continue to fight and die in a bloody, unending occupation with no hope for conclusion and not a hint of an exit strategy. It is a blunder of the highest order and a military failure directed right from the Oval Office. The horrible consequences fuel terrorism and threaten our national security.

The car bombings, kidnappings and ambushes are getting worse, and the promise of more stability under an Iraqi puppet government is simply not happening.

The New York Times reports a classified National Intelligence Estimate provides a bleak assessment for the future of Iraq. While Bush paints a rosy picture of progress in Iraq on the campaign trail, the study the CIA requested presents a pessimistic hue. One possible outcome considered is that insurrection will grow into a full-blown civil war with American troops caught in the middle.

U.S. air strikes and artillery bombardments around Fallujah are resulting in significant civilian casualties and the "collateral damage" is intensifying hostility toward our troops.

Former Marine Commandant and head of the U.S. Central Command, Gen. Joseph Hoare told Sidney Blumenthal of The Guardian that "the idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong."

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, his deputy Paul Wolfowitz and the other top political appointees in the Pentagon should be fired for manifest incompetence. Even those who supported the war must recognize the absence of planning for post-invasion Iraq has been disastrous and those responsible should be held accountable.

In the British Sunday Herald, a report entitled "Bush and Blair: Secrets and Lies" should get Prime Minister Tony Blair sacked. Investigations Editor Neil Mackay writes, "Blair's secrets are out, and this is what he knew a full year before the invasion of Iraq: The war was illegal, it would turn into a quagmire that could last for a generation and it was more than likely that, once Saddam was overthrown, a new Iraqi government, even a democratic one, would start developing weapons of mass destruction." Documents the paper obtained show Blair's own foreign secretary and defense secretariat had grave reservations about attacking Iraq.

Peter Ricketts, an official in the foreign office, noted that there were real problems with the U.S. policy line.

"Even the best survey of Iraq's WMD will not show much advance in recent years," Rickets warned. "Military operations need clear and compelling military objectives. For Iraq, 'regime change' does not stack up. It sounds like a grudge match between Bush and Saddam."

Blair chose to join the horrible grudge match knowing Bush was going after Saddam with or without British support. By siding with Bush, Blair would show himself a "loyal ally" and preserve the transatlantic special relationship with America, according to the report. Neil Mackay writes Blair is fixated with his place in the history books, but Iraq may cost him his legacy.

"The rotting albatross that is Iraq still hangs around Blair's neck, and, after the revelations of secret government papers laying out the dangers of joining Bush's war, its stench has become impossible for anyone to ignore but for the man closest to it -- the Prime Minister," Mackay writes.

The Brits are doing a far better job than our media in dissecting the body of lies that led to war and the corpse of its aftermath. The BBC had a telling report about a British military leader George W. Bush admired who is now questioning the wisdom of the occupation.

Col. Tim Collins, the commander whose rousing speech to his troops before the invasion Bush reportedly had hung in the Oval Office, is now expressing serious concerns about the consequences and lack of post-invasion planning.

"Either it was a war to liberate the people of Iraq, in which case there was gross incompetence, or it was simply a cynical war that was going to happen anyway to vent some form of anger on Saddam Hussein's regime with no regard to the consequences on the Iraqi people. In that case it is a form of common assault -- and evidence would point to the latter," the now-retired colonel said.

Chris Patten, who was once chairman of the British Conservative Party, lashed out at U.S. unilateralism and the failed promises of the fruits of war in Iraq. Patten, who is now the outgoing European Union's External Minister, told Reuters, "Liberation rapidly turned into brutally resisted occupation. Democracy failed to roll out like an oriental carpet across the thankless deserts of the Middle East."

He added, "Above all, peace in Jerusalem and Palestine was not accomplished by victory in Baghdad," and the world deserves better than American "testosterone."

George W. Bush will take his "manly" self to the United Nations this week and the Texas gunslinger will put on a show. In one of his most ridiculous rationales for war, Bush claimed he just wanted to carry out U.N. resolutions on Iraq. Now, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan says flat-out that Bush's war is "illegal" and a clear violation of the U.N. Charter.

Bush will surely tell the organization he scorns that things are really going much better in Iraq than we think.

You know the damn media and those pessimists in Europe.

Bush's speech on Iraq will contain a tidal wave of testosterone and not a drop of truth.

Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox2 News. His e-mail address is gallaghernewsman@aol.com.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Sept. 21 2004