Wed Dec 10th, 2008 at 10:08:40 AM EST
I usually stay away from stories concerning terrorism because they're just too predictable, but I found this one interesting, and as I consider the implications on the idea of legitimacy of the positions and acts of the US government, I thought I'd share it. From July 15 to August 31, World Public Opinion conducted a survey in 17 countries asking the open-ended question, Who do you believe was behind the 9/11 attacks?. The topline results here.
The results surprised me. On average, 46% of respondents thought Al Qaeda was guilty, and in no country outside of Africa, did an overwhelming number of people say they believed Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks. In some cases, a significant number of people thought the US government was behind the attacks. Particularly in Mexico and Germany, where 30% and 15% respectively of the people who were asked said they thought the US government itself was responsible.
All of which seriously undermines the perception of legitimacy of our invasion of Afghanistan (forget Iraq, I'm not even going there). To take matters a little further, all of this is something Indian officials should give serious consideration to in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, and their aggressive stand against Pakistan. Especially in light of of the possibility that this story in the Economist may have more than a grain of truth.
On a lighter note, here's what you get when you give classics scholars a little leeway. The Crimson reports that the Hapsburgs may be asked to reign over the student body at Harvard.