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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

The Search for an Iraq-Al Qaeda Link

June 22, 2004

I continue to be amazed by the simple contempt the Bush administration has for the American public. As "Two Panelists Detail Allies' Al Qaeda Ties" (June 21) points out, Al Qaeda had ties with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan prior to 9/11, but there is no definitive evidence of any Iraqi agreements, certainly no cooperation with the 9/11 attacks. Vice President Dick Cheney continues to contradict this conclusion. I assume these same intelligence data were available before the war. My question is, why wasn't it considered before pronouncing that Iraq was cooperating with Al Qaeda to provide nuclear, chemical and biological weapons to attack the U.S.? Much more frightening is the thought that it was considered.

Doug Bowler

Laguna Beach

Osama bin Laden has just been handed a tool against us. Regardless of the amount of truth in the reports of support he received from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, all he has to do now is spread the word: "Yes, indeed, I was given a great deal of support from both countries. I received billions of dollars. See, here are all the records and receipts to prove it!" (I'm sure he has experts to fabricate evidence.) Our precious coalition could be ripped to shreds.

Robert Crawford

Venice

If Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein could have this extensive relationship, as Cheney believes, while at the same time Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11 -- Al Qaeda's signature moment -- there is only one conclusion I can come away with: that Iraq was no threat to the U.S. Perhaps the religious zealot Bin Laden and the secular Hussein were in a fantasy soccer league together.

Bill Seibel

Glendora

The allegation [that Iraq had no links with Al Qaeda] came from the commission staff (not yet endorsed by the commission), which based these findings on the interrogation of two of Bin Laden's "most senior associates." Meanwhile, the staff has also found the FBI, the CIA, this administration and past administrations to be a bunch of bungling idiots in handling threats and actual acts of terrorists. Unless and until there is more substantive and reliable information coming out of the 9/11 staff than the words of a couple of Bin Laden's assassins, I will continue to believe and trust in the information gathered by at least two administrations.

Marianne Truitt

Marina del Rey

Re "Iraq Planned Attacks Against U.S., Putin Says," June 19: Is this conservative administration so desperate that it needs a former head of the KGB, Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, to justify its foreign policy? Talk about irony.

Marty Schoen

Pasadena

Following the Bush-Cheney logic on the Iraq-Al Qaeda link, I must have a "relationship" with telemarketers because of our "numerous contacts" over the years.

James White

Los Osos

Apparently, those in the Bush administration are great believers in the old adage, "You can fool some of the people all of the time." Shame on them.

Barbara Izac

Capistrano Beach

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