This morning I read that most Muslims believe that 9/11 was a conspiracy created by the US government to justify the invasion of Iraq. This worried me. How could the majority of Muslims be so wrong?

But then I thought that the US government and some EU countries did lie to invade Iraq. They lied about the weapons of mass destruction conspiracy and the connections between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.

So if I were debating with any of those Muslims who believe that 9/11 was an excuse to invade Iraq, I would have to say “9/11 was not a US/Israeli conspiracy, there is tremendous irrefutable evidence that it was a terrorist attack perpetrated by Saudi terrorists and led by Osama Bin Laden”. And that part is true.

But then I would have to explain other painful truths. I would have to admit that we invaded Iraq despite knowing that neither the 9/11 terrorists nor the WMD where there. That in our countries we created the false impression that Saddam was behind 9/11 and that many believe this lie now. And this is one weak side of the debate.

If we can create conspiracies  about WMD and “muslim terrorism” as if all Muslims act together (Saddam=Osama=Ahmadinejad), attack and destroy the wrong country (Iraq), torture their citizens, post pictures of how we torture them in Abu Ghraib, take some to Guantanamo and approve their torture, share the blame in the killing of 25 times more innocent civilians than those who died in 9/11 and admit to use white phosphorous (chemical weapon) attacking Fallujah; if we can commit such human right atrocities, why is it so far fetched that most Muslims believe that 9/11 was perpetrated by US and Israel in order to invade Iraq and control the second largest oil reserves in the world?

Moreover, in this Wikipedia entry you will be surprised to find out that one third of Americans actually AGREE with the majority of Muslims. They also believe in 9/11 conspiracy theories even though 2% of Americans are Muslims.

Can our argument just be “yes, we do horrible things but not precisely the horrible things you believe we do”? My hope is that, during this decade, we will truly gain the high moral ground against terrorism and cooperate with moderate Muslims to erradicate Muslim extremism without violating human rights in the region. In the end, terrorism is an industry that feeds on angry young men. We have to make it much harder for Muslim terrorists to recruit. As we have been behaving over the last 10 years, it is not surprising that terrorism has greatly increased since 9/11.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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