Regarding Charles Krauthammer's Oct. 8 op-ed column, "Terrorists' Candidates?": What terrorist wouldn't be delighted with the events of the past 18 months? A world united in our support after Sept. 11, 2001, has been divided by the acts of the Bush administration.

Iraq, relatively off-limits for al Qaeda under Saddam Hussein, is now a terrorist safe haven.

Arab leaders, once inclined to collaborate with us, now face restive populaces who will try to overthrow those seen as our allies.

We have failed to take adequate steps to protect our ports, air cargo carriers, tunnels, bridges and even our streets. Our resources and national will have been eroded.

Osama bin Laden and his associates take a long-term historical perspective; they are less concerned with their individual fates than with their cause. Why wouldn't they hope that George W. Bush is returned to office to ensure that divisions grow, their legions increase and we continue to be debilitated by fear?

THOMAS R. CARTER

Gaithersburg

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Charles Krauthammer says al Qaeda wants Sen. John F. Kerry to be elected. Never mind Ayman Zawahiri's message from a few months ago, in which he gleefully noted that the United States has fallen into a trap: "If they continue, they will bleed to death, and if they withdraw they lose everything," he said.

In referring to the terrorist attacks in Madrid, Mr. Krauthammer said, "The attack worked perfectly. Within weeks Spain had withdrawn its troops from Iraq."

What he did not say was that the public was outraged by the attempts of the administration of Jose Maria Aznar to pin the blame for the bombings on Basque separatists.

In what was already going to be a close election in Spain, the people rejected an administration that lied to further its own interests. It is a disgrace that in a time of war the American people are confronted with the same situation.

DAN KENNY

Frederick