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WASHINGTON – Remember when Osama bin Laden had a ZZ Top beard? Well, he’s apparently replaced it with a bushy mustache and now looks to Americans a lot like Saddam Hussein – thanks to White House brainwashing.

With last week’s press conference, President Bush completed the morphing of bin Laden into Saddam. He mentioned the Sept. 11 attacks nine times, Saddam 40 times, and bin Laden zero.

“Saddam Hussein is a threat to our nation. Sept. 11 changed the strategic thinking for how to protect our country,” Bush intoned.

“Used to be that you could contain a person like Saddam Hussein, that oceans would protect us from his type of terror,” he went on in his breathy drawl. “Sept. 11 should say to the American people that we’re now a battlefield, that weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist organization could be deployed here at home.”

So we had better hit him before he hits New York or Washington again.

Hey, don’t laugh. I just heard a Sean Hannity caller describe Saddam as “America’s archenemy.” Earlier, a Rush fan said that “after what happened Sept. 11,” we have to invade Iraq. A country singer is just as confused. His hot single pushing for war in Iraq reminds Americans not to forget Sept. 11.

Propaganda works.

At his State of the Union speech, Bush slammed Saddam 19 times. Bin Laden didn’t get a single mention.

The uber-terrorist must have felt slighted, because a few weeks later, he gave his own State of Islam speech, carried by Al-Jazeera. Bin Laden made sure to remind everyone that he was the guy who actually attacked America, though he would support Saddam if we attacked him.

But then the White House knows this. Rewind to Sept. 16, 2001.

“Do we have any evidence linking Saddam Hussein or Iraqis to this operation?” NBC’s Tim Russert asked Vice President Dick Cheney on “Meet the Press.”

“No,” replied Cheney.

You want to protect Americans, Mr. President? Re-deploy those 200,000 troops to Pakistan.

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