Skip to comments.Lessons Unlearned (Nick Berg Update)
Posted on 05/17/2004 2:02:20 AM PDT by Remember_Salamis
By Ben Johnson FrontPageMagazine.com | May 17, 2004
Although al-Qaeda mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has claimed responsibility for beheading 26-year-old Nick Berg in Iraq, Bergs father blames another perpetrator: the United States of America. My son died for the sins of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. This administration did this, Michael S. Berg recently told Philadelphia radio station KYW-AM.
The elder Berg, a staunch leftist, lashed out at the Bush administration for its Iraq policy both before and after his sons gruesome dismemberment. Michael Berg was a signatory to International ANSWERs March 20th Call to Action. (End colonial occupation from Iraq to Palestine and everywhere!) This anti-American screed also endorsed by a slew of ultra-leftist groups such as the National Lawyers Guild and the Korea Truth Commission (which claims America started the Korean War) was intended to mark the first anniversary of the U.S./U.K. [sic.] invasion of Iraq and to demand an end to the Bush administration's Endless War plans for global domination. (Although ANSWER has trimmed its list of endorsees, a poster at FreeRepublic.com published the complete list, including one Michael S. Berg, teacher, Prometheus Methods Tower Service, Inc., West Chester, PA.)
Michael Berg has candidly acknowledged that he and his son were very much on different sides of the war question. He was a Bush supporter, Berg says of his son. He looked at (the war) as bringing democracy to a country that didn't have it. His father has a different view: I don't think this administration is committed to democracy.
Michael Bergs case that Bush killed his son is as follows: Nick Berg went to Iraq seeking work to build the nations infrastructure. After a visit in 2003, Nick returned under the impression that he had a contract lined up. However, the deal fell through, and Nick continued to look for work that would have the added benefit of enriching the lives of a people long oppressed. Iraqi police stopped him in Mosul and found an Israeli stamp in his passport, a book on Iran and pieces of Farsi literature in Bergs possession. Suspicious what a 26-year-old American would be doing in Iraq with neither a support network nor any discernible business prospects, they detained Berg from March 25 until April 6. Berg told UPI reporter Hugo Infante, whom he befriended while they stayed in the same hotel, that the police assumed since he was Jewish and had been to Israel that he was an Israeli Mossad agent. It was like an adventure for him, Infante recalls.
The police asked the FBI to double-check Bergs story, and FBI agents paid three visits to the Bergs West Chester home during the 13-day detention. The Bergs filed a lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld on April 5, claiming the U.S. government was holding their son without due process. The Iraqi police released Nick the next day. Four days later, he disappeared, to become a tragic victim of Islamist hatred.
Why then does Bergs father claim George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld are the real murderers?
Berg elaborated on Boston radio station WBUR last Tuesday, (W)hat cost my son his life was the fact the U.S. government saw fit to keep him in custody for 13 days without any of due process or civil rights and released him when they were good and ready.
The Bergs say their son told them he was trying to leave Iraq in March, before his detention, and discussed making travel arrangements as late as April 9. However, they aver, the area had become so dangerous by then that he could not find safe transportation outside the country and then became the prey of terrorists. And Uncle Sams security measures are to blame.
Although all Americans must sympathize with his grief, the problems with his theory are manifold.
For one, Nick Berg was (probably) never in U.S. military custody. According to Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman Dan Senor, it was the Iraqi police and not U.S. military personnel who detained Berg. Although allied with the military, they are distinct entities. While Michael Berg has produced an e-mail saying that the military had his son in custody, it would appear this is a clerical error. Infante, a professional journalist with a world-class news agency, remembers Nick Berg telling him the Iraqi police detained and questioned him, not U.S. forces.
Moreover, whomever detained Nick Berg was simply trying to keep Iraq safe from the people who beheaded him. Although Berg believed Iraqi police suspected him of being an Israeli spy, he also told Infante that their questioning focused on Iran, a known sponsor of the indigenous Iraqi uprising. And others being questioned were frequently violent and dangerous. Berg quoted Arlo Guthrie to describe his cellmates as father-stabbers and mother-rapers. In other words, Iraqi police detained and questioned anyone who might plausibly be connected to further destabilizing Iraq and succeeded in corralling many of the worst cases. If police had sufficient manpower and resources, they might have also caught al-Zarqawi and his four murderous cohorts. What Iraq needs is more of the police action Michael Berg decries, not less.
Most damning of all, though, is the revelation that American forces tried to help Nick Berg leave Iraq and he refused. FBI spokesperson Kelly Shannon told reporters that Bureau agents offered to fly him home on April 10 the day before he vanished but Berg turned them down, saying he preferred to travel alone into Kuwait. This certainly fits the picture everyone has painted of Berg: an adventurer, a loner who used his own resources to travel and better the Third World. (Berg had made previous trips to Kenya and Ghana, alone.) Even his brother, David, has admitted this possibility. Recalling his brother's independent personality, David Berg said such a refusal would not surprise his family, one account has it.
Why the rush to believe the worst? It seems Michael Bergs leftist politics have blinded him. Berg has recently berated the entire edifice of Homeland Security legislation. When discussing why he believed the Bush administration was responsible for his sons death, he said: It goes further than Donald Rumsfeld. Its the whole Patriot Act; its the whole feeling in this country that rights dont matter any more because there are terrorists about. Well, in my opinion terrorist is just another word like communist or witch, and its a witch hunt .
Berg blames the Patriot Act (which he calls a coup detat) for his sons arrest and detention as though the act applied to a domestic police investigation in a war-torn nation halfway around the world! Iraq is not ruled by the Patriot Act; it is ruled by the law of the battlefield, and the first law is to stay alive.
One would think, though, recent events would shock his eyes open about the reality of our Islamist enemy. Tragically, should he ever need a reminder that terrorists are very real, he need look no further than his sons grave. Yet the lesson has not taken. Somehow, his grief has conflated his leftist worldview of the conflict in Iraq and Homeland Security into murder. The mind and body have rejected the loss, and his leftist background has found a convenient scapegoat not in the barbarians who executed his son but in the administration that fought like Hell to keep him safe.
Leftist Conspiracy Theories Abound
Like Berg, some on the Left have outrageously blamed the Bush administration for Bergs beheading not figuratively but literally. The World Socialist Website which in recent days has drawn more visitors than the Weekly Standards website has seriously intimated the Bush administration itself murdered Nicholas Berg to deflect attention from the fraternity prank photos emanating from the Abu Ghraib prison:
Anyone who believes it is unthinkable or outrageous to suggest that the American government would sanction having one of its citizens murdered to shore up its fortunes is underestimating the political situation. The Bush administration and elements of the American military hierarchy, media and corporate establishment are indictable war criminals To them, the life of 26-year-old Nick Berg would have meant nothing.
The grassroots of the Left have seized on the idea with gusto. One poster at the leftist Daily Kos website insisted, As soon as I heard about this, I knew it was a setup by the Bush Administration Bush has killed thousands in this war, he wouldn't blink an eye about killing one more to rekindle the same hate America had for Muslims after 9/11. Another insisted, I wouldnt put it past them. I really wouldnt.
Indymedia, the website anti-American activists around the world used to plan their antiwar rallies, also acts as an alternate news source and message board. Those who post on Indymedia represent the activist core of the Left. A participant on their NYC board asserted, I'm sure it's a CIA operation. Another chimed in, im quite sure the killing of nick berg was an cia action. [sic.]
One commenter on Indymedias German site added, I bleieve [sic.] that Al-CIAda is involved and that is why they are covered up. Another added, Whoever posted this on behalf of the CIArabs is not fooling anyone. The event was timed appropriately to soften the shock of the upcoming torture videos, and to get Rumsfeld off of the hot-seat.
The speculation has grown so great that even Pravda printed an opinion piece this weekend entitled, Could N. Bergs Execution be Fake? by Pater Havlasa, editor of the website eBigBang.com. Among his musings, he lies that N. Berg disappeared when in U.S. custody. (False! He disappeared four days later, and one day after Americans offered him a one-way ticket back to the City of Brotherly Love.) He also produces this tender observation: A human head contains 1.5 gallons of blood yet the freshly decapitated head shown in the video is leaking none. (Does he know Elvis middle name is misspelled at Graceland, too?)
Not all conspiracists blame the United States, though. Professor Sam Hamod is a former Princeton professor and State Department advisor. He currently edits his own leftist website. Hamod, who also writes editorials for al-Jazeera, recently posted an article condemning Bergs beheading but casting doubt that Muslims did it. For one thing, he insists Muslims only kill people after a fair and judicious trial (!). No, these are not Muslims. (I)t may also be that this was perpetrated by Israeli agents, who have been operating in Iraq since the American invasion and have been advisors and combatants for Blackwater, and for the U.S. military, especially in interrogation techniques Remember also, many Israelis speak Arabic as well as Arabs themselves. (Curiously, Hamod earlier complained the murderers chant of Allahu Akbar Allah is great! seemed strained.) You see, the gentle poet tells us, it wasnt Bush it was the filthy Jews.
It is among the kooks of the Left that Michael Berg has chosen to find peace over his sons death. Ironically, this is where Nick Bergs memory has found its greatest detractors.
Leftists Desecrate Nick Bergs Memory, Too
While most left-wingers have been careful to condemn the murder of an innocent American, the leftists who inhabit the fever swamps of International ANSWER and the antiwar lobby have no qualms about telling the world how they really feel: Nick Berg got what was coming to him.
One poster at the San Diego Indymedia site, responding to the idea that al-Zarqawi beheaded an innocent, wrote:
Helloooo!!! Are you on the same Planet as the rest of us? There was nothing innocent about someone going into a country to profit off an illegal war The guy got beheaded because he was somewhere he should not have been.
The writer then added, Americans are like cockroaches!
Posters at Portland Indymedia bizarrely connected Bergs beheading to the passage of a tax cut bill through the Senate. One participant referred to Berg as a poor bastard (or an invader who has met with traditional social justice depending on your point of view I suppose). He went on to call Bergs death pure money in the bank for George W this November.
Nor has the hatred been confined to America. A particularly vile message on Indymedias German site gleefully displays no less than eight pictures of Nick Bergs severed head next to the words, Nick Berg has his head cut off. Below that, the messenger wrote twice, Nick Berg a private mercenary who went to Iraq to help the American Empire install a puppet government gets his head cut off for his crimes. [sic.]
The Irish also got in on the act on Indymedia. Salah wrote, Nick Berg was part of the US led coalition which is attempting to bleed Iraq dry, with no concern for the effects on the Iraqi people. Whether civilian or not, he was scouting for the leftovers of a devastating campaign which began decades ago with British occupation through to US led sanctions and this current illegal invasion Until the middle-east is free from brutal occupations there will not be, and should not be unilateral peace. [sic.]
Another writer added, I find it very difficult to feel sorry for Mr. Berg when the link below shows what american [sic.] intervention has done for the children of Iraq So before you go harping on about how despicable it was for one yankee to have their head hacked off, think about how despicable it is for the government of your country to destroy the genes of these children and of many generations yet to come.
Caliban offered, C'mon the guy was just another bit of collateral damage in the Clash of Civilzations.....
When a writer pointed out the obvious that Nick Berg was killed by Islamists because he was both American and carrying a Jewish prayer shawl Stan sympathetically replied, Avi, the holocaust must be starting again! Lets go and kill some more palestinians! [sic.]
If all holds true to form, it will only be a matter of time before Ted Rall draws a cartoon calling Nick Berg a moron and berating his grief-stricken family.
These are the hateful nutcases Michael Berg signed up with when he signed the International ANSWER statement. (Incidentally, ANSWERs most recent campaign is to Defend Dr. Hatem Bazian, the professor who called for an intifada in America.) His son, Nick, saw a nation that needed his help and tried to better it. Michael Berg said of the killer, They did not know what they were doing. They killed their best friend. On the contrary. Nick Berg was a friend of a free and democratic Iraq. The Islamists knew exactly what they were doing, because they are Nick Bergs enemies and ours. The best tribute a father could pay to his sons memory is to stop apologizing for those who killed him, associating with those who revile him and antagonizing those who seek to avenge him.
Had his son been held a little longer by the Iraqis he might still be alive.
FREEPers specifically mentioned
Micahel Berg say this as if there's a difference on who should be shot on sight. There isn't.
Am I the only one who read this article and can't help thinking that the world on the brink of a massive global war? And I'm not just talking about the Islamic terrorists: I'm also talking about the seemingly inevitable conflict between the rabid Left and the rest of human kind.
A Muslim Leader Speaks Out
By Sam Hamod
Al-Jazeerah, May 11, 2004
Where is the Christianity of America? Has America and the Americans lost their values, their religion, their minds? As an American born of Muslim parents, and as the former Director of The Islamic Center in Washington, DC, I am appalled at the way some of our nation's leaders are trying to speak with forked tongues about the horrible, demeaning, illegal and immoral behavior in Iraq. No matter what President Bush says about being a "born again Christian", I think he is a false witness to Christ, and that God will deal with Mr. Bush in this life and certainly in the next, as he tries to cover up the dirty deeds of Mr.Rumsfeld and his generals, while trying to pin the torture deeds on a few ignorant non-coms, lower level military people in Abu Ghraib.
Any decent Christian would not have allowed the Iraqis to be treated in this way, whether in major office or at the lower levels of the military--but here we have Rumsfeld trying to dodge responsibility for saying in the past, "These enemy combatants, these detainees do not have the protection of the Geneva Conventions." It seems that he and President Bush had come to this decision. Yet he, Bush and our senators and even the public, wonder, "Who was the one who gave permission to these military people to do this, and were they ordered to do it and how severely."
As a Muslim, I am outraged that fellow Muslims in the world are being treated this way. All we have from Muslim organizations, and allegedly "Muslim countries", are weak cries of protest, or none at all for fear the money and the U.S. prostitutes will dry up. Where is the Muslim Ummah in protest? I know most of the Muslim people in the world are upset and want something done--but the leaders of "Muslim countries" have soft-pedaled this whole affair. When Rumsfeld and Bush first started their brutality in prisons in Afghanistan and Guantanamo, they should have stood up at the UN, put ads in U.S. and British newspapers, sent their media people out to condemn this and demand a halt to it. Instead, they went idly by and talked in the double-talk of diplomacy and went to the usual parties and smiled that party smile and nothing was done.
Ironically, it took CBS TV, the New Yorker and some U.S. military people at the lower level to bring the pictures of torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib to light. Why hadn't the "Muslim nations" done something like this? Why hadn't they asked to investigate the prisons that Al Jazeera and Al Arabiyha had reported as torture chambers. But it proves that some parts of our democracy are working when some of our media will stand up. It's too bad that most of our media runs with their tails between their legs when Bush or Rumsfeld bark at them.
Let it be known that this torture will remain for generations in Iraqi and in Arab and Muslim minds all over the world; it will not go away. Remember, in a traditional society, memory is long, very long--hundreds of years, sometime more--and America will be seen and remembered in this way.
And no, not even the Senate Hearings will help the matter, because no one was able to penetrate or get Rumsfeld to come up with responsibility or with the truth. Then, President Bush compounded matters today when he went to the Pentagon and heartily endorsed Rumsfeld--which tortured the Iraqis and all Muslims even more because it made clear that none of the major heads, especially Rumsfeld's, would roll --even though it is clear that Rumsfeld was one of the major perpetrators of these torture crimes.
It is time that Christian leaders, and I don't mean those false chrisitian leaders like Pat Robertson, or Billy Graham Jr., or Jerry Falwell, but the legitimate ones who are real Christians, and who follow the teachings and morality of Jesus Christ, stand up and condemn these hoodlums from Bush on down; that these Christian leaders stand up and condemn those who are not truly Christian but who wear the mask of Christianity and do the deeds of the devil.
If this is not done, then the devil will have his way on the earth, and those who are false Muslims and those who are false Christians will have done the work of the devil, to the detriment to the way of God.
Dr. Sam Hamod is the former Director of The Islamic Center of Wash, DC; professor at Princeton, Iowa, Howard and Michigan (ret.); he may be reached at email@example.com
A Left-wing Nation-State with global reach does not yet exist; the EU's foreign-policy/nationalsecurity apparatus isn't fully-formed yet and Chinese National Socialism hasn't broken out yet. It took a long time from the "trigger" event, the global economic collapse of the 1920s, until the onset of WWII. It took a long time from the passage of the Stamp Act until the onset of the American revolution. If 9/11 was the trigger event this time around, War won't break out for quite some time. Therefore, I don't envision Chinese Troops goose-stepping Hu Jintao's Proclamations of "Long Live The Han Race!" for at east a few decades or so. Nor do I see a threat from Hindu Nationalism, or Hindutva, becoming a global threat within a decade. The time will come eventually, wherein we will cast the next global order.
Who's a REAL Christian, Mr. Samod? Pacifist Jesuits?Catholics For a Free Choice? The United Council of Churches?
I hope insulting the Faith of the only true Christian Leader in the West will make you sleep well.
I don't see the next global conflict as a war between nations per se, but rather a series of simultaneous civil wars and revolutions occurring across the globe. Most will be "seeded" by Islamic terrorism, but will be quickly fueled by the Leftists, who are becoming both increasingly powerful and increasingly radical.
The left has always been committed to the enslavement of the human race and the destruction of their freedoms.
Witness Russia -> Soviet Union, China -> PRC, and so on.
It really does seem that the Islamic Terrorists have found sound allies in leftists all over the globe. I do not see much hope in the future of freedom for mankind. The power of envy and the lust for power is too great..It overcomes the natural need to secure the future for the sake of future generations. My faith states that in the last days of the survival of the earth, "Evil will be called good and good will be called evil." All I have to do is to read much of what the American media (news and entertainment) has to say and I am convinced that day has arrived.
My guess is that his son's death gave Mr Berg the national exposure he probably has so wanted to bash President Bush. I guess it was his way of making something positive out of something negative. And posing for pictures in his front yard exhibiting his grief like a greek tragedy was really genuine<sarcasm
Nick rebelling against his father like a childish 14 year old, his stupidity of roaming the streets alone and at night, his refusal of countless advice on the danger, and purposefully putting his Jewishness out there is what put a huge target on his back. It was all a lark. He shrugged off his 3 week detention and I'm not sure that he also thought his kidnapping was a grand adventure too. I suspect he was one of those kids raised to think everyone had his best interests at heart and that whatever he did was great and wonderful no matter the consequences. We're seeing something similar in Kerry's childish blaming of everyone else for his mishaps and not taking responsibility for his own actions.
Could be a distant cousin.
The lawsuit was filed and Nick released the next day, but how do you know that one caused the other? Everyone is assuming it did, but I have seen no conclusive evidence that it did.
Interesting you should say that. Here is what his father actually said about Nick:
"I am sure that he only saw the good in his captors until the last second of his life," Berg said.
Then, referring to his son's executioners, he said: "They did not know what they were doing. They killed their best friend."
Personally, I still think there was something very suspect going on with that kid. I mean, just what are the odds that he coincidentally was on a bus with some Al Qaeda terrorists a few years ago in Oklahoma, and that he innocently let one of them use his email account and password (which was later used by Zacarias Moussaoui, one of the 9/11 terrorists)?
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