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By Bill Gallagher

DETROIT -- The lies, delusions and deceptions of George W. Bush have reached a point where the "dry drunk" madness and the "stinking thinking" in his frighteningly flawed mind are what drives all his remarks on the bogus al-Qaida-Iraq connection and the president's rigid, judgmental world view.

In the best of times, George W. can be impatient, self-important and prone to irrational, contorted rationalization. Now that his crazy, unnecessary war in Iraq and grandiose plans to change the Middle East with more violence have clearly failed and he fears that he might get bounced from the White House like his daddy, our president's mental pathology is gaining more control over his behavior.

The commission investigating the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks set off the president's panic attack. The commission -- which Bush first opposed and then ostensibly supported, while his minions thwarted its work -- arrived at a conclusion that sent the White House into white heat.

In vividly clear language, the commission reported, "We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al-Qaida cooperated on attacks against the United States." That fact is well known to anyone who takes time to pursue the truth and is not blinded by partisan fanaticism.

Even Bush said as much himself in one of the most under-reported stories of our times. Last Sept. 17, the president admitted publicly for the first time that there was "no evidence Hussein was involved" with the Sept. 11 attacks.

The admission got little play in the media. The Wall Street Journal and New York Post didn't even bother to mention it, and many other papers buried it far away from the front page.

But the commission rekindled the issue. Since the panel did exhaustive research and its chairman and half of its members were named by the president, the panel's refutation of the Saddam-al-Qaida connection enraged Bush, and the emperor struck back.

"The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al-Qaida is because there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaida," Bush told reporters at the White House after the commission's findings were announced.

Bush said his most significant evidence of this link is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian terrorist the president claimed worked with the Iraqi government as a "senior al-Qaida terrorist planner." He failed to mention that CIA Director George Tenet testified before the Senate that Zarqawi is a rogue operative who doesn't work with al-Qaida and was not associated with the Saddam regime.

I noticed Bush had that same look on his face, that same smirk, defiance and "How dare you question me?" pose when he met last year with Polish reporters, who asked him about the phantom weapons of mass destruction. Bush snapped impatiently, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction." Bush then went on to cite some mobile trailers his own inspectors had already dismissed as harmless weather labs.

Bush then went on a twisted attempt to redefine the record he and his people had deliberately clouded -- aided, I should add, by most of the mainstream media. Wait a minute, Bush cautioned, saying, "This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al-Qaida."

While that is technically correct, Bush chose to ignore the torrent of rhetoric he and his supporting cast of warmongers used to create just that impression. The administration convinced 70 percent of the American people before the war that Saddam Hussein was linked to Sept. 11 and now Bush is trying to distance himself from the lies and successful propaganda campaign he orchestrated.

Bush said flat-out, one year after bin Laden's terrorists attacked, "You can't distinguish between al-Qaida and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror."

Condoleezza Rice tossed in her contribution to the company line, saying, "Saddam was a danger in the region where the 9/11 threat emerged."

And, of course, there was Donald's Rumsfeld's wild, unfounded claim that "within a week, or a month, Saddam could give his WMD to al-Qaida."

Bush likes his enemies evil and simple. Since Saddam was a personal irritant for Bush and sat on the world's second-largest oil reserves, he was going to be the target no matter what.

Unwilling to admit the real reasons for war and with his phony ones now exposed, the president is growing more angry and resentful. In public he can still put on a cheery and likable face -- as he did when unveiling the Clintons' official portraits at the White House -- but privately there is another picture.

Bush has been displaying "increasingly erratic behavior and mood swings," reports Capitol Hill Blue, an Internet news site. Doug Thompson and Teresa Hampton, who once wrote a scathing piece about Bill Clinton's serial groping and sexual attacks on women, have written a chilling account that raises serious concerns about Bush's state of mind these days.

"It reminds me of the Nixon days," one longtime GOP political consultant with White House links told the reporters. "Everybody is an enemy; everybody is out to get him. That's the mood over there."

White House aides told Thompson and Hampton that Bush is now micromanaging to the extreme, spending hours reviewing attack ads against John Kerry and denouncing Democrats he calls "enemies of the state."

The report notes Secretary of State Colin Powell has fallen from grace because of his doubts about the war against Iraq. One White House aide reveals, "We lost focus. The president got hung up on the weapons of mass destruction and an unproven link to al-Qaida. We could have found other justifiable reasons for the war, but the president insisted on those two tenuous items."

But George W. Bush is an unyielding, inflexible and extreme man, who, by his own admission, follows the dictates of his "gut" rather than careful thought and reflection. Bush may be showing more signs of being a "dry drunk," according to Katherine van Wormer, co-author of "Addiction Treatment: A Strengths Perspective." In an article in "Counterpunch" magazine, she writes, "Dry drunk is a slang term used by members and supporters of Alcoholics Anonymous and substance abuse counselors to describe the recovering alcoholic who is no longer drinking, one who is dry, but whose thinking is clouded. Such an individual is said to be dry but not truly sober. Such an individual tends to go to extremes."

She also observes that Bush's obsessions, tunnel vision, single-mindedness and grandiosity point to the "stinking thinking" commonly found in dry drunks. Bush will claim forever that Saddam was in cahoots with al-Qaida, that there were weapons of mass destruction, and that his war with Iraq is all about doing God's work and spreading freedom. That's how his damaged mind is programmed.

Dick Cheney is another case. He sets his own course and says what he pleases. The vice president -- or enabler in chief -- has nurtured Bush's obsessions. Cheney is the most strident propagator of the al-Qaida-Iraq-link lie and is sticking with his story in a futile attempt to save his fallen reputation and in the hope that continuing the deception for five more months will salvage the Bush administration's chances for another term in office. His clinging to power and his addiction to his discredited reasons for war drive Cheney.

Two days before the 9/11 Commission debunked the al-Qaida-Iraq connection, Cheney, who surely was tipped off, made a pre-emptive strike, claiming Saddam Hussein "had long established ties with al-Qaida."

Cheney was so enraged with media reports about the commission's findings, he ventured from his usual protected forum, the Rush Limbaugh show, to CNBC, territory where he might even be asked a question.

Asked if Iraq was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, Cheney said, in his oh-so-solemn tones, "We don't know." And then, with a smugness that goes with power addiction, Cheney was asked if he knows information the 9/11 Commission does not know. He crowed, "Probably."

Well, if he does, why didn't he share it with the commission? Why doesn't he tell the American people about the previously unknown smoking gun on the al-Qaida-Iraq connection? Will Cheney provide new evidence? Probably not.

With the power-drunk Cheney navigating and the dry-drunk Bush at the helm, our ship of state is in distress. We should throw them both overboard.

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 June 22 2004