WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists' strike against this country.
Sixty-nine percent in a Washington Post poll published Saturday said they believe it is likely the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks carried out by al-Qaeda. A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents believe it's likely Saddam was involved.
The belief in the connection persists even though there has been no proof of a link between the two.
President Bush and members of his administration suggested a link between the two in the months before the war in Iraq. Claims of possible links have never been proven, however.
Veteran pollsters say the persistent belief of a link between the attacks and Saddam could help explain why public support for the decision to go to war in Iraq has been so resilient despite problems establishing a peaceful country.
The president frequently has called the Iraq war an important centerpiece in the United States' war on terror. But some members of the administration have said recently they don't believe there is a direct link.
The Post poll of 1,003 adults was taken Aug. 7-11 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
A Time magazine/CNN poll released Saturday said most Americans — 71% — believe the United States has done a good job in Iraq since the end of major fighting, while 26% said it has done a poor job.
Sixty-three percent said the nation was right in going to war in Iraq and 32% said it was wrong. But the Time/CNN poll found Americans more closely split on whether the military action was worth the price in America lives, taxpayer dollars and other costs — 49% said yes, 43% no and 8% were unsure.
The poll also found Bush's approval down to 52%, from 63% in May.
The Time/CNN survey of 1,003 adults was taken Sept. 3-4 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
Some Americans Still Link Hussein to 9/11
- Some adults in the United States remain convinced that the former Iraqi president played a role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, according to three recent public opinion polls. In a survey by Zogby International, 46 per cent of respondents think there is a link between Saddam Hussein and the al-Qaeda plot.
In studies by Opinion Research Corporation released by CNN and CBS News, 43 per cent and 31 per cent of respondents respectively believe Hussein was personally involved in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Al-Qaeda operatives hijacked and crashed four airplanes on Sept. 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people. In June 2004, the federal commission that investigated the events of 9/11 stated that there had been "no collaborative relationship" between the deposed Iraqi regime and the terrorist network in the planning and carrying out of the attacks.
On Aug. 21, U.S. president George W. Bush referred to the situation, saying, "Nobody has ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq. I have suggested, however, that resentment and the lack of hope create the breeding grounds for terrorists who are willing to use suiciders to kill to achieve an objective. I have made that case."
Yesterday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report which concludes that, although the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had evidence of "instances of contacts" between Iraqi authorities and al-Qaeda throughout the 1990s, these did not amount to a "formal relationship." Democratic Michigan senator Carl Levin said the document was a "devastating indictment" of the Bush administration's attempts to link Hussein and al-Qaeda.
Hussein was captured by coalition soldiers in Adwar—near his hometown of Tikrit—in December 2003. The deposed leader is currently being tried for assassinating Shiite men and expelling women and children from the northeastern Iraqi town of Dujail in 1982. The actions were regarded as retaliation for an attempt on Hussein's life organized by members of the Dawa Party. If convicted, Hussein could be executed.
a) Do you think there is a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 terrorist attacks?
Source: Zogby International
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,014 likely American voters, conducted from Sept. 1 to Sept. 5, 2006. Margin of error is 3.2 per cent.
b) Do you think former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks?
Source: Opinion Research Corporation / CNN
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,004 American adults, conducted from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, 2006. Margin of error is 5 per cent.
c) Do you think Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?
Source: CBS News
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,206 American adults, conducted from Aug. 17 to Aug. 21, 2006. Margin of error is 4 per cent.