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May 13, 2004

Comments

Ron Hardin

According to John & Ken (KFI in LA), the father was always a lefty. Now he has a microphone. It does not seem on their account that he's working out his grief. Indeed that's a curious difference, a lack of charity in Augustine's sense of thinking the best of somebody rather than the worst. There's cynicism for you. The media plays its part because nobody believes the media, starting with the media.

The entire family has the intelligence of 8-year-olds, spouting what they tell you in grade school, according to John, who has a very low tolerance for everything.

His wife was once a TV reporter.

Mike Daley

How long before Mr. Berg appears in a Kerry commercial.
My bet is on six weeks or considerably less.
Mike

Sparkey

I told my family to never dishonor me in that way.

blogaddict

Media/Class? Isn't that an oxymoron?

Mr. Berg's motivations--desperate and bottomless grief and rage, combined (perhaps) with a pre-existing detestation of the war and of Bush, are being crassly and callously exploited by the ever-more-disgusting media.

freya

Not to be too psycho-babbly here, but I took a short course on being a Casualty Assistance Calls Officer (CACO), the folks who show up at relative's doors in uniform when a servicemember dies. One of the things that stuck in my head was that ALL people go through several phases after the death of someone close to them and one key phase is that of blame. Clearly Berg's father is in that phase (and that could be forgiven him) but the difference is that (as you all have pointed out) unlike any of us, he has the whole world to rant to because of the media coverage. It is truly pitiful, and, like Mike Daley, I wonder how quickly the far left will seize upon this for their propaganda...hopefully the President and Rumsfeld will stay above the fray. Unfortunately I do not believe in any way that the media will...they LOVE this kind of sniping...and once again we are distracted from the real issue - our enemy's brutality.

Bryon Gill

Um, there is question about whether the abuses at Abu Ghraib caused Nick Berg to die, but there is very little question that he'd be alive today if we had not invaded Iraq. Given his well-publicized opposition to the war, I'd say that's what Mr. Berg was talking about.

And where in any of these quotes does he "forgive" Nick's executioners? I don't see it, could someone point me to it? In any other forum I wouldn't feel the need to say this but here I have to - Nicholas' captors are more directly responsible for the beheading than Bush and Rumsfeld. However, it's difficult not to see this as the sort of atrocity that happens in a war, and part of the cost to be considered when deciding whether to engage in a war. Perhaps if the administration had been a little wiser and not promised rose petals and sweets this charge wouldn't carry as much weight. But even war supporters must admit, if they are to be rational at all, that both the positive nad negative consequences must be considered when determining the cost of a war.

Percy Dovetonsils

I'm just now starting to see news about his parents being involved with ANSWER. Is this confirmed? If so, the whole situation of why he was there in the first place gets more curious.

Sparkey

If you look at this list of endorsers on an ANSWER (http://www.internationalanswer.org/campaigns/cuba/signers.html) webpage (Signers for Statement supporting Cuba against Bush's attacks) you find an entry for "Michael S. Berg, Retired Teacher"

Michael S. Berg just happens to be the name for Nick Berg's father a retired teacher.


Context is a wonderful thing...

Bryguy

The victim's family's political affiliations are not particularly relevant here, are they? I've heard of blaming the victim, but this is insane.

Leon

It is not about blame. This information (about political affiliations) is about context. Knowing that the father had a particular set of beliefs explains some of his behavior now. Why is that insane? It allows for a fuller understanding of the fathers statements and allows the reader to evaluate whether to accept his statements at face value or with a grain of salt.

dauber

BryGuy, come on. You're right, if we hadn't invaded Iraq, this particular kid would not have probably been in a situation where he might have interacted with an al Queda affiliated group. But THAT is really a stretch, since going to Iraq AT ALL was his choice and his choice alone. He wasnt even military, so it's not even a question of, well, he chose to join the military but couldnt forsee where senior leadership would send him. HE CHOSE TO GO TO A COMBAT ZONE. I mean, you cant think that argument has any legs at all.

And had we not invaded Iraq, and this particular kid not fallen into the clutches of an al Queda group, well, then it would have been some other Westerner in some other country . . . while thousands of other Iraqis were being killed by Saddam all the while.

Surely you can do better than that.

And if that's what Mr. Berg meant, then it really is just the ranting and raving of a man deranged by grief, and out of respect FOR HIM the media should have had the class to never put it on the air.

They were opposed to the war. Their kid wasnt. They didnt want their ADULT son to go and tried to talk him out if it. They failed. So now they're blaming the war? That's the reasoning of grief, not of public discourse.

Bryon Gill

I disagree- I think had we not invaded Iraq, there would be less killings of Westerners. I believe that our invasion of Iraq has been a boon for recruiting by those who would like to kill Westerners, resulting in the killing of more Westerners in both the short and long terms.

I think Mr. Berg, though bereaved, would have been done a disservice if his opinions about the war had been omitted. Better for us to understand his words as grief talking than for the media to make that decision for us since there's some disagreement about it.

Good point about Nick deciding for himself, and my point is premised on the claim that he had decided to go home before he was brought into custody. If he had planned to stay anyway then you are right, the U.S. is in no way responsible for his death. However, it is still quite distrubing that we couldn't get a straight answer about whether, where and why he was imprisoned at all, beheading notwithstanding.

Athena

Bryon, From GatorSix:


"(I)n 1992, the mullahs sent a "specialist" to cut off the head of Shapour Bakhtiar, the shah's last prime minister, in a suburb of Paris. When the news broke, Hashemi Rafsanjani, then president of the Islamic Republic, publicly thanked Allah for having allowed "the severing of the head of the snake."

In 1993, Fereidun Farrokhzad, one of Iran's most famous pop stars, had his head chopped off in Germany by a Khomeinist hit squad after the mullahs issued a fatwa for his murder...

Throughout the 1990s, head-chopping was routinely carried out by the Army for Islamic Salvation (AIS), the Islamic Armed Group (GIA), the Salafi Group for Preaching and Armed Jihad (GSPAJ) and other Islamist terror outfits.

One Algerian specialist in slitting throats and cutting off heads was known as Momo le Nain (Muhammad the Midget). He was a 20-plus-year-old butcher's apprentice recruited by the GIA for the purpose of cutting off people's heads. In 1996 in Ben-Talha, a suburb of the capital Algiers, Momo cut off a record 86 heads in one night, including the heads of more than a dozen children.

In recognition of his exemplary act of piety, the GIA sent him to Mecca for pilgrimage..."

I'm definitely not the ME history scholar, but I know chopping heads goes back (at least) to the 11th Century.

So I'm a little confused how you argue that this would not have happened to Berg had the United States not invaded Iraq. Maybe it wouldn't have been on video.

You could argue that all the decapitations were a response to invaders, but how do you account for the last part of Gator Six's post:

"Although head-chopping is now seen as a mode of communication between Islamist militants and the Western world, the overwhelming victims have been Muslims."

Maybe had the US not invaded, this murder would've never happened because Berg wouldn't be finding work in rebuilding a country. And maybe Islamists wouldn't be so hell-bent on finding an American (not saying they still wouldn't be conniving to find other ways of spreading their fascistic message). And maybe this beheading would've happend, IT JUST WOULDN'T BE ON VIDEO.

But that's not the point. It happened and unfortunately we live in reality where these people would kill every Westerner they could get their hands on in the same fashion because that would be fulfilling God's plan.

So focusing on "why" all of this happened gets us nowhere in the short-run for defense of Westerners, moderate Muslims, and freedom.

In the long-run and once we defeat the short-term threat, all the liberals AND conservatives can try to determine exactly what role the US and the West played in inciting Islamist violence so we learn how to deal with a new threat that will undoubtedly emerge.

However, there won't be a long-term if we don't deal with these people here and now.

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