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Hussein Was Bin Laden's Foe, and Thus Our Ally

June 24, 2004

Re "Truth About Iraq Finally Has Its Pants On," Commentary, June 22: Who knows, Robert Scheer may be right -- Americans may finally be coming to a full realization of how they have been lied to and deceived by this administration about its catastrophic war of choice in Iraq. Iraq, of course, had nothing to do with the events of 9/11, had no WMD and, with its second-rate army, posed no threat to us.

But even more significant is the indisputable fact that Saddam Hussein was actually an ally, as he has always been, in the war against the radical Islamic ideologies that are at the root of the terrorism we are facing. Hussein is and was many things, but he was also a student of Josef Stalin, a westernizer, modernizer, universal educator, industrializer, liberator of women and, therefore, a mortal enemy of the root ideologies that are behind the terrorism we are facing.

Simply put, he was, like almost all leaders of Islamic countries, a mortal enemy of our mortal enemies and, therefore, an ally -- a fact that every American administration and almost every country on the planet, except this one, seemed to clearly understand.

Carl Mattioli

Newtonville, Mass.

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The truth about Iraq that a forceful liberal commentator like Scheer fails to grasp is that the American public by and large wanted to believe there was a connivance between Hussein and Osama bin Laden. They wanted to believe this because most Americans, shocked to the core by 9/11, wanted to hit back hard at a tangible target, and Afghanistan was simply too far away and too easy to satisfy this powerful need.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, the troglodytes of the right understand this gut impulse far better than the mandarins of the left. This lack of perception tends to undercut Scheer's righteous rhetoric.

Leon Whiteson

Los Angeles

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To defend the invasion of Iraq, conservative scribes like Stephen F. Hayes ("Al Qaeda Link Exists, Despite the Fog," Commentary, June 22) see the world through a fog of their own making. Hayes stubbornly clings to George "Slam-Dunk" Tenet's alleged evidence of an Al Qaeda/Hussein link, in spite of widespread bipartisan acceptance that the most provocative intelligence provided by our erstwhile CIA director was something less than reliable.

And why would the same jihadists who whipped the mighty Soviet army with improvised explosives and arms provided by the Reagan/Bush administration turn to the Iraqis for advice on fighting an America that just kicked Hussein's can from Kuwait City to Baghdad?

Keith Cornell

Santa Monica

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