- Balancing right against wrong is a difficult challenge. But at some point in our lives, common sense must prevail. Nicholas Berg died at the hands of a vicious serial killer. To have any mercy for that killer is a sign of sheer stupidity. So it is for Nicholas Berg that I feel honor must be bestowed upon him after hearing of his father’s relentless pacifism of which only disgraced his son’s memory. -
In the spring of 2004, Islamic terrorists kidnapped Nicholas Berg while in Iraq seeking engineering work. The events that followed horrified every sane person on the planet. In May of 2004, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi beheaded Nick Berg. While beheadings are a common form of assassination in the Middle East, this event marked a first in terrorist history; the Islamic militants chose to video tape the beheading and release it on the Internet for public viewing. Zarqawi stated that Nickolas Berg’s murder was revenge for the abuses by the American military at Abu Ghraib prison. The beheading was a despicable event, and greatly saddened everyone around the world. But what I personally found to be even more offensive than seeing Nicholas Berg executed for no other reason than being an American, was in hearing his father denounce al-Zarqawi’s death.
On June 7, 2006, a little more than two years after the video tapped beheading of an innocent Nick Berg, American troops captured Abu Musab al-Zarqawi by dropping two 500-pound guided missiles from an F-16C jet into his safe house. Fortunately, for the world, he died during that attempted capture.
To understand the evil that al-Zarqawi represented one only need look at the list of attacks he orchestrated throughout the Middle East during his 7-year reign of terror. A documented list of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s historic record of murder and more murder is available throughout the Internet. A check on his Wikipedia entry would be an excellent starting point. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Musab_al-Zarqawi ).
The day after al-Zarqawi was killed by American forces, Nicholas Berg’s father was interviewed on various television networks. To most people, if a vicious serial killer, cum terrorist, beheaded their son they would rejoice with word of the butcher’s death. But Nick’s father, Michael Berg, instead denounced al-Zarqawi’s death.
Michael Berg is a well-known anti-war activist. I understand what could motivate someone to be a pacifist. I often am disgusted myself with acts of war. However, most people are sensible enough to understand that those who attack others with a litany of violence must be captured by whatever means. What al-Zarqawi did to Michael Berg’s son was inhumane. The terrorist bombings that al-Zarqawi masterminded against other Muslims throughout the Middle East was cowardly and demanded his capture and eventual execution for crimes against humanity.
In an interview on CNN, Soledad O’Brien asked Michael Berg about how he felt regarding al-Zarqawi’s death. To me, what Mr. Berg said was an insult to the memory of his son. He said, “Well, my reaction is I'm sorry whenever any human being dies. Zarqawi is a human being. He has a family who are reacting just as my family reacted when Nick was killed, and I feel bad for that. I feel doubly bad, though, because Zarqawi is also a political figure, and his death will reignite yet another wave of revenge, and revenge is something that I do not follow, that I do not ask for, that I do not wish for against anybody. And it can't end the cycle. As long as people use violence to combat violence, we will always have violence. … Well, you shouldn't be surprised, because I have never indicated anything but forgiveness and peace in any interview on the air.”
If the only act of violence al-Zarqawi committed had been to murder his son in order to avenge the physical abuses that occurred at the Abu Ghraib prison, there might be some merit to what Mr. Berg is saying. However, that was not al-Zarqawi’s only offense. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had masterminded many terrorist attacks. Some of which were so severe and so unwarranted that his own people ultimately led American and coalition troops to him. For Michael Berg to be sad at al-Zarqawi’s death shows he is a man with no sense, no understanding between what is right, and what is wrong. I feel bad for Nicholas Berg. I feel he deserved a better more loving parent. And I wish all to remember his death and to feel relieved by the capture and subsequent death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
© 2006 Sara Coslett