By Linda Feldmann | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Article from pre-war times. It doesn't provide any information directly about the Habbush Letter. But it can help understand the 'feel of the times' , ... help feel why the original story was such a 'kicker' in some peoples guts, when it came out in dec 13... ie, why did people care?

"In his prime-time press conference last week, which focused almost solely on Iraq, President Bush mentioned Sept. 11 eight times. He referred to Saddam Hussein many more times than that, often in the same breath with Sept. 11.

Bush never pinned blame for the attacks directly on the Iraqi president. Still, the overall effect was to reinforce an impression that persists among much of the American public: that the Iraqi dictator did play a direct role in the attacks. A New York Times/CBS poll this week shows that 45 percent of Americans believe Mr. Hussein was "personally involved" in Sept. 11, about the same figure as a month ago.

. . .

Future fallout

In the end, will it matter if some Americans have meshed together Sept. 11 and Iraq? If the US and its allies go to war against Iraq, and it goes well, then the Bush administration is likely not to face questions about the way it sold the war. But if war and its aftermath go badly, then the administration could be under fire.

"Going to war with improper public understanding is risky," says Richard Parker, a former US ambassador to several Mideast countries. "If it's a failure, and we get bogged down, this is one of the accusations that [Bush] will have to face when it's all over.""