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Terrorist Attack Ruptures U.S.-Spain Relationship

March 19, 2004

In his March 17 commentary, Patrick J. Ishmael argues that Al Qaeda won Sunday's election in Spain because the Spanish people voted out a government that supported President Bush's war in Iraq. The problem with this argument is that the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with stopping terrorism. Iraq was not responsible for 9/11, it had no ties to the Al Qaeda network and was not a threat to either the U.S. or Spain.

Rather, the invasion of Iraq has set back the war on terror by diverting resources away from the hunt for Osama bin Laden and giving Al Qaeda a recruiting tool by inflaming Arab hostility against Spain and the U.S. The Spanish people recognized this and voted out the politicians responsible for endangering their country. Let's hope Americans will do the same thing.

Brian Cluggish

San Diego


Re "Al Qaeda, the Movement," Commentary, March 17: The spread and success of the Al Qaeda movement are the result of the alarming, rampant growth of jihadi schools around the world -- which is caused by the flawed policy of the West over control of Middle East oil, and also aiding the wrong countries. Experts on terrorism should emphasize the need for the elimination of such schools, under various names, in every place, including Europe and the U.S. The world should be united in the goal of isolating extremists from the rest of the peace-loving people who are opposed to Bin Ladenism.

Nirode Mohanty

Huntington Beach


"Hard Lessons From Spain" (editorial, March 16), with its tortuous reasoning of the courageous people on Spain's election results, is pure nonsense. Plain and simple, the terrorists won. They wanted Spain out of the war on terror and Iraq. Also, plain and simple, America and the world are safer without Saddam Hussein and family.

Who is next, Germany? It has troops in Afghanistan. What will The Times say about that attack if (God forbid) that were to happen? It is a war -- don't you get it? Do we need to get hit again just so The Times can enjoy the sympathy the world can show us again?

Gary Cunningham

Los Alamitos


I am quite amused at the hand-wringing of right-wing pundits over Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's defeat in Spain, especially the attempt to spin this as a victory for Al Qaeda.

The fact is, Aznar's Popular Party was in a neck-and-neck race until, against all evidence, he tried to blame the Basque separatist group ETA, a cynical move for political gain.

The Spanish people saw through this lie and rightfully turned against him. Polls showed a shift against Aznar as he clung to his lies. If Aznar had blamed Al Qaeda from the beginning, his Popular Party would probably have won.

By blaming ETA, Aznar, not the Spanish people, ran away from Al Qaeda, thereby defeating himself.

Dan Gomez


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