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May 21, 2004
Michael Berg, Moral Coward

I can understand the grief of a parent mourning the loss of a treasured son, and how that grief can lead a father to lash out irrationally. I try to make allowances for those unfortunate enough to find themselves in that situation. However, Michael Berg has completely exhausted my sympathy and patience with a twisted and craven opinion piece published by the London Guardian today, in which he romanticizes his son's killers while saving his venom for George Bush (emphases are mine):

People ask me why I focus on putting the blame for my son's tragic and atrocious end on the Bush administration. They ask: "Don't you blame the five men who killed him?" I have answered that I blame them no more or less than the Bush administration, but I am wrong: I am sure, knowing my son, that somewhere during their association with him these men became aware of what an extraordinary man my son was. I take comfort that when they did the awful thing they did, they weren't quite as in to it as they might have been. I am sure that they came to admire him.

I am sure that the one who wielded the knife felt Nick's breath on his hand and knew that he had a real human being there. I am sure that the others looked into my son's eyes and got at least a glimmer of what the rest of the world sees. And I am sure that these murderers, for just a brief moment, did not like what they were doing.

When exactly did all of that soul-touching occur? When they sawed his head from his body while he was still alive? He assigns more humanity and depth of character to those who brutally murdered his son than he does to George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld in the next two paragraphs:

George Bush never looked into my son's eyes. George Bush doesn't know my son, and he is the worse for it. George Bush, though a father himself, cannot feel my pain, or that of my family, or of the world that grieves for Nick, because he is a policymaker, and he doesn't have to bear the consequences of his acts. George Bush can see neither the heart of Nick nor that of the American people, let alone that of the Iraqi people his policies are killing daily.

Donald Rumsfeld said that he took responsibility for the sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners. How could he take that responsibility when there was no consequence? Nick took the consequences.

Even more than those murderers who took my son's life, I can't stand those who sit and make policies to end lives and break the lives of the still living.

Would that include Ayman al-Zarqawi, or Osama bin Laden, who were killing Americans well before Bush took office? Or perhaps he doesn't consider the seventeen American sailors who died in the attack on the USS Cole to be true Americans. (Kerry obviously doesn't, as he claims that "when Bill Clinton left office, not one young American in uniform was dying in a war anywhere in the world".) Note that he transfers all of the evil done to his son very neatly to the present administration, as if Islamofascism suddenly raised itself up from a zero point sometime after 9/11, in response to George Bush's policies in Afghanistan and Iraq. Berg makes this point explicitly later in his remarks:

So what were we to do when we in America were attacked on September 11, that infamous day? I say we should have done then what we never did before: stop speaking to the people we labelled our enemies and start listening to them. Stop giving preconditions to our peaceful coexistence on this small planet, and start honouring and respecting every human's need to live free and autonomously, to truly respect the sovereignty of every state. To stop making up rules by which others must live and then separate rules for ourselves.

Berg's prescription for the proper response to 9/11 is simple, and simple-minded: accept the blame for the slaughter of thousands of Americans and retreat from the world. After all, it's our fault they hate us and kill us. Obviously, Berg feels this way about al-Zarqawi; the poor, oppressed terrorist looked deep into his son's eyes and probably regretted that he'd have to saw his head off and display it gleefully to a video camera, and then post it on the Internet to brag about what he'd done. Bush made him do that.

And then Berg lectures America about committing to "honouring and respecting every human's need to live free and autonomously," and in the next breath to "truly respect the sovereignty of every state." Unfortunately, in this world those two directives are mutually exclusive, especially when states such as Taliban-run Afghanistan choose to harbor or support terrorists who attack other states. Had Saddam "truly respected" Kuwait's sovereignty, we wouldn't have attacked Iraq in 1991, and had he abided by the terms of the cease-fire he signed, we wouldn't have had to finish the job in 2003. Had al-Qaeda "truly respected" our sovereignty in 2001, we wouldn't have attacked the Taliban. Had either of those tyrannies honored and respected every human's need to live freely, al-Qaeda wouldn't exist and we would already see democracy flourishing in the Middle East. Berg condemns Bush for a lack of respect for liberty -- after Bush liberated 50 million people so that they can have a chance at self-determination.

Michael Berg is a moral coward. He wants peace and freedom without any sacrifice, he wants liberty for every human as long as it doesn't cost anything, and he wants sovereignty of other nations respected while they harbor those who attack us. He romanticizes those who killed his son like one might slaughter cattle -- worse, actually -- and transfers the blame to George Bush for partisan purposes. He's exploiting his son's ghastly execution for political gain -- and providing yet another example of the shamelessness of the radical left.

UPDATE: Michele at A Small Victory, not surprisingly, agrees with me:

I'm never going to get tired of repeating this: They. Will. Kill. You. When they attack us again - and they will - they will kill you, too. They will not care if you belong to ANSWER or Move On. They will not care that you support them. They will not be going through the buildings or subways or whatever structure they plan to blow up and pull out the anti-war people. Make no mistake, they hate you. They will use you as pawns while they can but in the end, you'll be on the same end of their terrorism as I will. ...

Mike Berg is an opportunist who is seizing the moment of his son's death as a way to spread his leftist propaganda.

How incredibly disgusting.

Reading through her comments, I found this nugget ...

Um yeah, Mike Berg just had his son executed on the international stage. Cut him some fucking slack.

Any of you people casting aspersions on him for his statements or beliefs need to consider his position. His son was executed.

Until you've had your child murdered on film and shown around the world, shut the fuck up about his means of dealing with his grief.

... which drew this immediate response:

Well, if he's going to share his grief with every camera/microphone/newspaper journalist in sight, he'd goddamn well better be prepared to hear a little criticism in return.


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Posted by Ed Morrissey at May 21, 2004 7:37 AM

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