June 07, 2004
INDC Journal Interviews Michael Berg (Best Of)
Posted by Bill
Michael Berg: "... I don’t think that my son’s murder was solved, if you know what I’m saying ..."
On Saturday I attended International ANSWER's latest "EMERGENCY MOBILIZATION" to protest the Bush administration's "criminal wars, occupations, torture and assault." According the flyer, thousands of protestors would "Speak Truth to Power" in a march from the White House to Donald Rumsfeld's front lawn. The highlight of the event was to be a celebrity speech by Michael Berg, the father of terror victim Nick Berg. Given Mr. Berg's recent rhetoric espousing what he regards as the Bush administration's culpability in his son's death, I saw the rally as a good opportunity to ask him a few questions.
A quick run-down of ANSWER's public goals:
All foreign troops OUT of Iraq -
End the Colonial Occupation of Palestine
U.S. HANDS OFF of
Money for Jobs, Education, Housing & Healthcare - Not for War!
We'll take a closer look at Mr. Berg's associates in a forthcoming post.
After a series of predictable and vitriolic speeches, Mr. Berg's turn at the mic was greeted with great enthusiasm.
Fortunately, Mr. Berg's speech answered at least two of my prepared questions. And since Mr. Berg's time and patience were very limited in our later exchange, I'll take this opportunity to offer commentary on portions of his prepared statement. Highlights:
Recently my son, Nick Berg, traveled to Iraq in peace, fell into the wrong hands and was murdered. I wanted and needed to talk to my parents and sister, and much of the rest of my family who have died before me. I wanted to speak to them, and hear their words of comfort, and in a way I did, by finding a poem my mother wrote after my sister died, and which I read at Nick’s memorial service. And then shortly after, I got to hear from a man in the same way, who like Nick spent some time in jail because his own government didn’t understand him, and who later on was murdered while trying to do good things. His message came to me through his written words … his came to me through a speech he wrote, and it started out “I have a dream.” If I could speak to the late Rev martin Luther King, Jr., I’d tell him I share his dream, and Nick too shares his dream.
Mr. Berg compares his son favorably to Martin Luther King. While I might possibly see the analogy, because I view Nick Berg as a courageous idealist and entrepreneur, some of Michael Berg's co-protestors might beg to differ:
It didn't seem to bother Mr. Berg that many of his comrades were so critical of his son's efforts to obtain business as a result of the war. I have no doubt that Nick Berg was an idealist, but he was also a capitalist. In a war zone. A "war profiteer."
And yes, this is a war, and it is racist. Of the few negative cards or e-mails I received, all used the language of bigotry. Dr King knew how, and he consistently told us how to make change, and in his many words he preached, non-violent direct action, and that is exactly what we are taking now and what we must continue to take: non-violent direct action now!
So, by that logic, because much of the hate mail that Berg received uses the "language of bigotry," he draws the larger conclusion that the war in Iraq is fueled by racism? Considering that Berg's son was a supporter of the war, was he "racist?" Or is it just the rest of us?
But there is more to do and others to enlist, there are more vigils, more protests, more letters and e-mails to write, and phone calls to make to our leaders. There are petitions to write and petitions to sign, there are ballots to cast and there are ballots to be counted without the shadow of doubt being cast on the very heart of the democratic process!
Ah, Florida. Let me ask you this, Mr. Berg: where was your outrage for the Democratic process when Saddam Hussein received 99.8% of the vote? Or is your concern only for American Democracy? If so, isn't that an ethnocentric, "racist" focus? In the United States, we had hanging chads; in Iraq, the .2% that voted against Saddam Hussein were simply hanging.
America and beyond has been in touch lately, and the American public who let Nick and me and my family into their hearts, and who in turn have entered into mine, that American (unintelligible) has a message for the media too. The message is, "We're disgusted with you! And we don’t believe much of what corporate owned, corporate controlled media says anymore!
On this point, Mr. Berg and I are in complete agreement. Sort of. If I hear Judy Woodruff use the word "defeat" or "failure" one more time, I'm going to put my foot through my corporate-manufactured television screen.
Mr. Berg went on to discuss what he wants to happen to the men that murdered his son, answering another one of my prepared questions:
"There is a topic I’d promised my daughter Sarah I’d address, and that topic is the men that killed my son. She said that people don’t think I blame the men that murdered my son. That is not true Sarah; I do blame them. They should be arrested, subject to trial in a court of law, and if found guilty, never again be allowed to practice the brutality that cost my son his life. I cannot imagine the circumstances that would lead them or anyone to any violent act, let alone the atrocity that was done to my son."
You can't imagine? Because they want you dead, Mr. Berg. Your family is Jewish. Your son was Jewish. The people who killed your son are not merely desperate political operatives, they are religious fanatics that have no tolerance for the existence of non-Muslims, least of all Jews. If they met you in a dark alley, they would kill you in less time than it would take for you to mouth the word "peace."
Another of my original questions was then answered, regarding Bush's responsibility for his son's death:
"These men purposely sped up their hate train when they saw Nick lying on the track, however, I have to hold the Bush administration accountable for denying my son his civil rights for the 13 days of his illegal detention. If they were going to take illegal action, instead of violating the heart of the Constitution of the United States of America, why didn’t they just illegally deport him from Iraq and let us prove who he was at home? Their callous behavior, in effect, tied him to the track until it was no longer possible to escape that speeding hate train."
Mr. Berg's grief and hatred of the Bush Administration causes him to draw some interesting conclusions. He criticizes the FBI (and the Bush Administration directly) for holding his son without the benefit of an attorney for thirteen days. If this is all true, given his son's citizenship, it's certainly a valid criticism. But even though the FBI determined that Nick wasn't a terrorist, and advised and offered him a flight home, Mr. Berg goes on to express that he wishes the government would have violated Nick's civil rights by deporting his son. He's essentially upset with the fact that the FBI prioritized criminal/terrorist investigations in the course of alleged civil rights violations, rather than prioritizing the safety of his son.
I have no idea if the FBI violated his son's rights as a US citizen in a war zone; it's certainly possible. But even if this is true, I fail to see how their detention of Nick "tied him to the track;" Michael Berg seems to blame the FBI based on coincidental timing. His public assignation of blame implies that the FBI caused Nick's death because his detention somehow led to the chain of events where Nick was kidnapped. (More on Mr. Berg's private assignation of blame later in the interview.)
Nick Berg was traveling alone in a country filled with hostile terrorists. His independence fueled his refusal to leave. Nick Berg chose the risky path.
"Let’s act now to stop war and end racism! And let’s keep acting until we can raise a banner of peace that says mission accomplished!"
In his concluding sentence, Mr. Berg employs (for the fourth or fifth time) the acronym for ANSWER - "Act Now to Stop War and End Racism." If there was any doubt as to Berg's previous close involvement with this far left-wing group, it was beginning to evaporate.
After his speech, I made my way into the Press gallery and squeezed myself into the cluster of reporters. The ANSWER folks were very protective of Mr. Berg and didn't seem to want him to answer very many questions. In all fairness, this seemed to stem from a sense of paternalism/maternalism/gender-neutralernalism, given Mr. Berg's previously intrusive encounters with the media that took place immediately after his son's death.
Surprisingly, many of my prepared questions were covered by the other journalists that were interrogating Mr. Berg.
An unidentified television crew first asked him why he blamed the Bush Administration for his son's death.
Michael Berg: "They held my son for 13 days, without any of his civil rights. They violated so many of the amendments that are in the Bill of Rights that are at the very core of the basic document of democracy. And then, they said that my son refused to take their plane ride home, and of course they couldn’t violate his rights by making him do that. And again, as I said in my speech, why couldn’t they illegally deport him from Iraq?
Some of the Congresspeople that we called when my son was missing and asked to help us, uh, and got back to us a couple of days later and said, “No, we cant help. We can’t violate your son’s right to privacy.”
I wish they had violated my son’s right to privacy and helped him before he died, instead of violating his civil rights … his constitutional rights to be held without being accused of anything, without having a lawyer present, without even notifying his mother and his father and his brother and sister that he was alive. I wish they had violated that right of privacy and helped. Their priorities are a little mixed up here, don’t you think?"
Unidentified Reporter: "I know there’s no … (unintelligible) … solution for your personal experience, but does June 30th mean anything to you, with the handover?"
Michael Berg: "Yeah, June 30the means that they’re going to switch around the nut and shell game again, say a few words and … as long as, as long as we're over there, I think that people are going to die. As long as Americans are in Iraq, it is a slap in the face to those people, and more Americans are going to die, and more Iraqis are gonna die, and … realize that 601, I think was the count for American military, I don’t believe that number counts my son’s death and the many other civilians, American civilians that have died over there … but there are people over there from many other countries that are dying. And for every one of them, how many hundreds of Iraqis are dying? I’ve heard the figure of 11,000 dead Iraqi civilians, 11,000 dead Iraqi civilians. How many more times the number of people that died in this country on 9-11 is that, and how devastated are we that those people in, in the World Trade Towers died, and that devastation is times 3 and a third?"
I wanted to offer up the old argument - where was your concern for the dead Iraqi civilians that died under the regime of Saddam Hussein?
Unidentified Reporter: "Did Mr. Moore contact you, Michael Moore?"
Michael Berg: "What has happened between Mr. Moore and myself is personal."
Unidentified Reporter: "There are counter-protestors out there who are in support of this war, they’re using your son’s image to promote their cause, um, they said that you are … (unintelligible) … using the issue to promote your left-wing agenda. What is your response to that?"
(Wow, BIG media covers another INDC question)
Michael Berg: "Well, my son and I disagreed very much on the war and religion, on politics in general, uh, we both respected each others' opinions, uh, but even more than our opinions, we respected each others’ committment to act on our beliefs. My son was in Iraq, acting on his beliefs. I respect my son for the fact that he went over there; I wish he didn’t, but I respect the fact that he had to act on his beliefs, and although my son has always been in support of the Bush administration and this war, every time that I went to one of these rallies in Washington, he would say to me when I would get home that night, “Dad I’m really proud of you, I don’t agree with you, but I’m really proud of you for going out there and saying and doing what you believe in.” And I think that that’s a good answer to those people out there."
An Al Jazeera reporter then asked if this is the first time that Berg has spoken publicly at a protest.
Michael Berg: "Well, yeah, I was … in the King of Prussia, PA, about April 2003 in front of the Lockheed Martin plant where, um, there were a lot of cameras in front of my face and … (unintelligible) … but, it’s the first time I’ve spoken (after his son’s death). It’s the first time that people are ready to listen. It’s a shame that it has to be (after his son’ death)."
"I’m hoping that, I’m hoping that, the tide of support for this atrocious war is shifting. I’m hoping that I can suggest a few things for people to do, to act now directly and nonviolently to end this war, I’m hoping that I can convince people that the story that they getting in the media, maybe your media, isn’t exactly true. That they need to feel in their heart just one … of the tragedies, just one of the 601 American military tragedies and many other military tragedies from other countries, from civilian Americans to foreign nationals, that have died, and of the 11,000 Iraqi people that have died ... they need to think of that. They need to feel the sorrow of 11,000 people that have died.
I want them to stop what they are doing in Iraq. I want Americans out of Iraq. I want a truly international force of people to take their place and not with their guns, but with ... to ensure the democratic process is carried out
My mind reeled; this will be accomplished by an international force without ... weapons?
"I want the troops out now! Why do I want the troops out now? Because as long as the American troops (are there) the killing will continue, they’ll be shot at as long as the American troops are in Iraq. Al Qaeda will be attacking and all the terrorists in the world will be attacking. We have to start listening to our enemies, not speaking to them."
Al Jazeera: "Is there a message that you would like to send to the people of the world?"
Michael Berg: "Yes, join with the many, many Americans that oppose this war. By the way, I just got back from England, and the support in England for the antiwar movement is far stronger than they appear in America. Please join us, no matter what country you are in, no matter what your culture, join in making your opinion known that this war, any war, is wrong, and that what we need to do is listen to each other and not just speak to each other. Our politicians need to learn how to listen. They need to learn how to listen to the American public and they need to listen to the people that they call our enemies. Our enemies are desperate and they do desperate, awful, atrocious things which I do not condone. I’m not here to condone what they’ve done, I’m here to stop them ..."
After that answer, Mr. Berg stopped taking questions, but another man insistently asked him, “Is it possible to get your contact information, to follow up?”
Michael Berg: "Who are you?"
Michael Berg: "Socialist Workers newspaper? (Enthusiastically) Oh, yeah , oh yeah, oh yeah … (gives info) my e-mail is the best way to contact, because my wife probably will slam down the phone on just about anyone who calls; she’s still in a very emotional state. My son was a member of the Socialist Workers Party, yes he was, my son David, not my son Nick, my older son David. I supported his efforts working with the Socialist Workers Party, and I went with him to the headquarters in NY and I attended the rallies and I supported his trips to Cuba and … I don’t really want to say (gestures to me) because he’s (got a tape recorder)."
What was he afraid to say? Was it incriminating, or is Mr. Berg merely aware that his utility and mainstream image as an antiwar advocate would be tarnished by close association with a Communist political group?
After that curious exchange, an individual identified himself as a representative from AlJazeera.net and asked another question. I have no idea whether this was another blogger, independent media or what, but I have serious doubts that this guy was from Al Jazeera. Besides his Aryan-poster boy looks (meaningless in-and-of-itself) and the fact that he unprofessionally scribbled Berg’s answers on a notepad in lieu of recording them, the nature of his question leads me to believe that he misrepresented himself. You be the judge:
"AlJazeera.net:" "One question … my condolences, but … the question I have is, it’s been reported that your son was, supported the war, and believed in what the US was doing in Iraq, and bringing freedom to an oppressed country … is it difficult for you to portray the things that you’re saying, to speak out against that effort, to try and reconcile it?"
Michael Berg: "As I’ve said to many people, and this goes back years and years and years, my son and I have always disagreed on politics, religion and just about everything except for rock climbing and kayaking, but we have always agreed to disagree, and we have always respected each other for acting on our beliefs. I respected, I respected my son’s courage tremendously for acting on his beliefs and going to Iraq, since that is what he believed, … and he knows I didn’t want him to go, but I never said “don’t go” because I know he had to do what he had to do."
"Every time I came to one of these marches here in Washington, and this is my fourth one here in Washington and I’ve been in King Prussia in Philadelphia and one in Westchester, uh, every time I went he would come up to me and touch my shoulder and say dad I don’t agree with what you think about this war, but I respect you for going out and standing up for what you believe.” So no, it doesn’t hurt me at all..."
At this point, I jumped in; I really wanted to get a fair give-and-take with Mr. Berg, but it was much harder than I had anticipated.
INDC Journal: "Your son agreed with intervention in Iraq, correct?"
Michael Berg: "Yes, he did."
INDC Journal: "And you said that, you mentioned that 11,000 (civilians) have died, I believe is the number in Iraq that have …"
Michael Berg: "That’s what I’ve heard."
INDC Journal: "Yes, I’ve heard that number too. Before the invasion of Iraq, UNICEF said that 36,000 Iraqis were dying a year, so it would … seem that the number of innocent Iraqi deaths have been reduced as a result of the occupation. You don’t agree with …"
Michael Berg: "Well, I have heard that 11,000 Iraqis have died as a direct cause of the war - been shot, killed, blown up, that doesn’t say that the 36,000 who weren’t dying before aren’t still dying! How many thousands of Americans die every year that have nothing to do with the war? What kind of statistical nut and shell game is that question?"
INDC Journal: "Yes, but …"
Michael Berg: "(Becoming slightly animated) I’m asking you a question, what are you trying to do with that?"
INDC Journal: "And I’m trying to answer. No, what I am saying is, that because oil for food money …wasn’t put into the right hands … that 36,000 were dying a year … (it’s also been) said that over a million were killed because of war, genocide and the murder of political prisoners in Iraq. My question to you is, from someone on the other side of this …"
Michael Berg: "Let me ask you this, I get your question now …"
INDC Journal: "How would you have ..."
Michael Berg: "Let me ask you this …"
INDC Journal: "… changed that …"
Michael Berg: "If it’s the American presence that is preventing these other deaths, because of the security that we’re supplying, and it’s the American presence that’s causing the 11,000 deaths because of the insult that it is to the Iraqi people, and those that are associating themselves, why not put in the international force that can keep the same security without all those insults? Without those 11,000 deaths?"
INDC Journal: "I might agree … but the problem is, how can we do that?"
Michael Berg: "Why can’t we do it? We can do it if we want to do it."
INDC Journal: "Well, you think that we need to pull troops out now, correct?"
Michael Berg: "Yes."
INDC Journal: "Without providing some sort of alternate security?"
Michael Berg: "No, I think we need to … I think we need to trade our troops for a truly international …"
INDC Journal: "And how should they go about doing that?"
Michael Berg: (Becoming animated) "I don’t know how to do it! I’m not a politician! I’m not a militarist! I’m not a strategist! I don’t know how to do it, but I think that it can be done if … I think that if the American people let their will be known, that that’s what they want to be done, get out of there now, stop the killing now, that’s what will happen!"
INDC Journal: "And you think that the United Nations will be willing …"
Michael Berg: "I don’t know that the UN would be any more accepted than the United States. I think that it has to be a truly international peacekeeping force. I think it has to include Middle Eastern countries."
INDC Journal: "So someone would have to put that force together to take the place of United States troops before they left …"
Michael Berg: "Yeah, but I think it can happen a lot faster than people think it can happen if we just leave …"
Mr. Berg was done taking questions from me. According to Mr. Berg, if American troops leave Iraq immediately, the security vacuum would be quickly filled by a yet-to-be-determined international security force that includes Middle Eastern nations ... one that doesn't need weapons. Because he wasn’t "a politician," "a strategist" or "a militarist," he didn’t feel comfortable outlining how such a force would come to exist, but he was perfectly comfortable in making the demand that US involvement cease, even in the face of certain Iraqi civil war.
At that point I was replaced with another fawning reporter who asked why Mr. Berg referenced Dr. Martin Luther King in his speech.
Michael Berg: "Because I’ve always admired Dr. King, because I think that that Dr. King, of all of the protestors, Dr. King … he’s the prototype. He’s what we all need to do, I mean, I know that Dr. King got much of his philosophy from Ghandi, but … and did such a … follower, he was a wonderful follower of Ghandi, and look what Ghandi did and look what Dr. King did, and Dr. King made such a difference in this country, a difference that people thought could never happen. And the questions that this young man here has been asking me (points to me), has been asked of many freedom fighters back in the 60’s. “Oh you can’t change people, you can’t do this, you can’t do that,” but Dr. King made it happen."
At what point did I mention anything even remotely analogous to something that might have been asked of representatives of the civil rights movement? Mr. Berg seemed uncomfortable with logistics or political realities that demand a security force in Iraq; he preferred to stick with vague platitudes about love and understanding. Imagine if the US left Iraq tomorrow, leaving a note that said, “Hey Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, Ex-Baathists, Moderates and Extremists – please love each other. We’re sure that you can work this out; just wait for the magical international peacekeeping force (without weapons) to quickly coalesce and help you keep the peace." Moving on …
Michael Berg: "... and I was also struck by the analogy between Dr. King in Birmingham jail … and my son in the Iraqi jail … and Dr. King being murdered by … people full of hate, by a hate train, and I think … I’m not sure if these are his words or not, it just sounds true to Dr. King … and, and my son was killed, run over by this hate train and I believe … you want to turn that off for a second?" (points at my tape recorder)
Respecting his wishes, I switched off my digital recorder and immediately turned on the one in my head.
Michael Berg: "Let me put it to you this way, I don’t think that Dr. King’s murder was solved, and I don’t think that my son’s murder was solved, if you know what I’m saying ..."
No, Mr. Berg, what are you saying?
After a brief detour into Nick's humanitarian background in the third world, the Q and A session was concluded.
After the interview, Berg took a quick picture with some ... Zapatistas? Mexican Nationalists? ... suited up and ...
... led the march to Rumsfeld's house. Dizzy from the day’s circular logic, I went home.
My impressions of Mr. Berg? His arguments lacked any logic, logistical depth or detail, and he's visibly and understandably caught up in acute grief for his son. To his credit, he is very honest about the fact that his son completely disagreed with his views; he’s in no way misrepresenting Nick Berg. I'm not going to painstakingly read into his cryptic non-recorded statements about who he thinks killed Dr. King and/or his son; I'll let you draw your own conclusions. But let's be clear on one thing: Michael Berg isn't merely a grieving father driven to criticize the Bush Administration by his recent experience; he has well-established political views, and his antiwar statements should be examined in this appropriate context. Or not examined at all ...
In tomorrow's installment, we'll examine some of the political views of Mr. Berg's fellow members of ANSWER.
UPDATE: Citizen Smash interviews one of Michael Berg's fellow travelers.
Posted by Bill at June 7, 2004 01:12 PM | TrackBack (50)
As of this moment, I am officially over feeling sorry for Michael Berg. Nick's death shows us how far people are willing to go to defeat the US. And I'm not talking about the terrorists, I'm talking about Michael Berg using his own son's detatched head to promote his radical agenda. I'm surprised he didn't play the video in the background and chant "Bush paid for the knife".
Posted by: Marble at June 7, 2004 01:24 PM
You don't have to read anything into his comments about Dr. King's death, Bill, I'll do it for you:
Michael Berg is a first-order moonbat who refuses to see any good motives, let alone any good results, in anything a non-Socialist U.S. Government does. Towards that end, he makes cryptic remarks about killings that lead me to believe he needs nothing more than a good spanking (like any misguided child) and a tinfoil hat (like any conspiracy nut).
The free pass I gave him for his idiotic remarks immediately after his son's murder is officially over.
And great work, as always.
Posted by: Chris of Dangerous Logic at June 7, 2004 02:05 PM
And to the hippie punk in the first picture with the "Hey Bush try drafting me!" sign (and the black 'anarchy' beret, so Moonbat-chic):
If there were a draft, you'd be categorized 4-F. Forget having to escape to Canada; we'd pay your way there and be glad to be rid of you!
Posted by: Chris of Dangerous Logic at June 7, 2004 02:07 PM
Did you notice the "try drafting me" hippie is wearing a "Hobbit" cape complete with the Elfin broach? Well, it appears to be anyway.
Bill, you never cease to amaze me with your serious pieces. Have you ever dabbled in journalism?
Posted by: Gordon at June 7, 2004 02:41 PM
The occult, but not journalism; you're looking at it.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at June 7, 2004 02:43 PM
The really important question hasn't been answered. Were any new species of moonbats sighted?
Posted by: jrdroll at June 7, 2004 02:47 PM
Serious post. Serious. Blooper reel will come later.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at June 7, 2004 02:48 PM
Outstanding reporting. Too bad we can't get that interview on Fox News. In a couple of minutes you managed to document Michael Berg as a) a communist and b) an idiot. Do you wonder if maybe there was a bit of glee in his heart when news of his son's murder arrived? Just a bit?
(I've linked and quoted this interview on my blog. If you don't permit quotes, let me know and I'll take it down.)
Posted by: Bill Hennessy at June 7, 2004 03:34 PM
It appears that Nick died a better man than his Father ever was, or ever will be.
Posted by: FH at June 7, 2004 03:34 PM
Quotes are fine, just use proper identification/attribution. I may agree on certain points, but Michael Berg feels little but sorrow and anger for the death of his son; that was very clear - his emotions are sincere. I'm positive that there was ABSOLUTELY no "glee" in his heart - I think suggesting the possibility is wildly off the mark.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at June 7, 2004 03:42 PM
"The signs of the Vietnam War protestors said "Make Love not War!" It didn't seem to me that they were capable of either."
Posted by: Flea at June 7, 2004 03:48 PM
Lets put on the psychiatric hat for a moment...
The man lost his son and his socialist world view took a hit at the same time. That is evident in his completely incompatible beliefs regarding what the Bush administration should have done for his son and his strained logic regarding the solution in Iraq (although he is in the same logic box as all the rest of the war opponents).
I believe that he needs extensive counseling to work through his immature world view in light of his recent life experiences. Without this counseling I would expect him to attempt to fabricate a 'cause' for his son's death that is compatible with his anti-war and socialist beliefs. He appears to have a very loose connection to reality right now and unless something is done he is likely to need clinical assistance.
Posted by: Mahatma at June 7, 2004 04:21 PM
Michael Berg is the dad from "Dharma and Greg"!
Posted by: Bonzo at June 7, 2004 04:23 PM
I think I'm most disturbed by his "hate train" imagery!
Posted by: dan at June 7, 2004 04:37 PM
Typical response from the anti-war manifesto moonbats.
"Make the killing Stop!"
"Pull the troops out!"
But then MORE killing will start.
"Put the UN in charge, with middle eastern reps!"
But then you'll have baathists from Syria mixed with Mullahs from Iran and god knows who else, pretty much garaunteeing more killing.
"The US are the REAL killers!"
Then why were the regular Iraqis pleading for us to invade?
"11,000 deaths from this war!"
Less than a bad month under Saddam.
What gets me is the way that Mr Berg tried to manipulate the question you asked Bill, when he answered with -
"Well, I have heard that 11,000 Iraqis have died as a direct cause of the war - been shot, killed, blown up, that doesnít say that the 36,000 who werenít dying before arenít still dying!"
No dumbass, the systematic genocide of the Iraqi people under Saddam has ended. They aren't dying under a totalitarian regime anymore. Why is this so frigging hard to understand?
Nice work as usual Bill.....
Posted by: Tman at June 7, 2004 04:45 PM
Bill: you are absolutely right to point out that if 11,000 people have died because of this war, but Saddam is gone, then that is a net game of millions of lives saved if UN and Amnesty estimates are to be believed -- do you know of anyone who has compiled specific numbers?
Posted by: Mud Blood & Beer at June 7, 2004 04:54 PM
The True Believers have always been required to put The Party first. If that means enthusiastically pimping the death of a loved one, then that's your duty.
Posted by: Richard Aubrey at June 7, 2004 04:57 PM
Mud - There are links.
Richard - I have little doubt that Mr. Berg is acting of his own free will.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at June 7, 2004 04:59 PM
Bill, you just go from strength to strength. I chuckled when you wrote a few weeks ago, "Reynolds! I'm coming, Reynolds!", but I no longer doubt that you're headed for the top.
Posted by: Brainster at June 7, 2004 05:32 PM
Aw, shucks. Thanks.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at June 7, 2004 05:37 PM
How to Think Like a Moonbat, Lesson #14:
The UN and Amnesty International are always absolutely right when they criticize the US. But when they criticize America's enemies, a true Moonbat must stick his fingers in his ears and say "LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU."
Posted by: just another face in the crowd at June 7, 2004 06:44 PM
I dislike groups like this -- they give the more rational case against the Iraq invasion (and its current execution) a bad name.
Posted by: pennywit at June 7, 2004 07:35 PM
Love the post, great pictures. As for the elf-like moonbat with the poorly written cardboard sign (did he actually misspell, then correct the first letter in the word "drafting"?), there is no draft. No draft, period, so stop waking up nights in a cold sweat, okay?
Posted by: Diggs at June 7, 2004 07:50 PM
More proof that the video of the folks sawing off Nick Berg's head should be required viewing for all Americans over the age of 12.
Seriously... if the tin-foil-hat brigade can create a conspiracy theory when there is actual video-taped proof...
We have our idiotarian award nominee.
Posted by: DANEgerus at June 7, 2004 07:57 PM
My questions got answered and I'm glad that he told the truth in responding to them, (no, he and his son didn't agree and he didn't try to stop him because he respected his son's wishes).
"I think...I think...I think..."
Good G-d, we learn in jr. high science that you don't just come up with the hypothesis, you also collect data and have a conclusion. It appears Mr. Berg is only interested in hypothesizing but not doing any of the work, rather, falling back on excuses as to what he isn't. Tell us, Mr. Berg...then what ARE YOU besides someone just blowing out unresearched ideas that would get more people killed?
Mr. Berg is yet another individual who cannot accept reality.
"This is the way it is....what do we do with it?"
To him it's:
"This is the way it should be, you figure it out but make sure you do it to my specifications...of which I will not be outlining for you."
Excellent piece AGAIN, Bill! You are so good at this! Thank you for stomaching all these rallies and gatherings and protests and asking them the "hard" questions. It really brings out their selfishness in full light.
And yah, my compassion for Mr. Berg is completely, totally erased.
Posted by: Serenity at June 7, 2004 09:25 PM
Bill from INDC. You may be right, in a sense.
Posted by: Richard Aubrey at June 7, 2004 10:01 PM
Amazing post Bill. Thank you for venturing into the puppy-den and allowing us to catch a deeper glimpse into Michael Berg's Stalinist A.N.S.W.E.R. inspired feverswamp.
The ommision of such questioning in the elite media's party narrative is glaring and indeed a good indication of where their hearts and minds lie.
Which is to say, firmly entrenched in the ass of tyranny and within the camp of our enemies.
May his son Nic rest in the sort of peace his father will never know.
Posted by: Rtfm at June 7, 2004 11:36 PM
Hey, Mud? Regarding specific figures, a call for input went out about 2 weeks ago on The Corner on National Review Online. Peter Robinson asked for information, and got some. He compiled some of the facts here, but there are other specific citations in the Corner archives if you don't mind skimming to find them.
Posted by: Jeff Harrell at June 8, 2004 12:07 AM
Nice work. When was the last time Instapundit got off his ass to cover anything? Indeed.
Posted by: Iraqi Intelligence at June 8, 2004 12:10 AM
WE must stand up as a nation and derail the "Hate Train" now uh which railroad was it? ..uh hate train? was that the Harry Potter train? uh no, dang ok will some moonbat please tell me what train it is so we can go to the train depo and protest it?
Nick I respect, sorry poppa get a new bag
Posted by: Sir Knight at June 8, 2004 12:26 AM
FOr a minute I thought I stumbled on to the funny pages section.
I linked this one Mr. Bill. Excellent write up.
Posted by: BloodSpite at June 8, 2004 12:37 AM
thanks, this is the reason i read blogs, great work
Posted by: ra1kmjn1 at June 8, 2004 04:05 AM
Here's the thing that bugs me about Michael Berg: He admits that he and Nick differed on the war. Now, most people, confronted with the death of a loved one think, "What would so-and-so have wanted me to do?" But Berg is out there using his son's death in a cause that he *knows* his son would have disapproved of. That's fundamentally disrespectful of his son. Whether or not his grief is genuine - and I think it is - his actions are more approriate to someone who had no personal knowledge of Nick Berg whatsoever.
Posted by: Farmer Joe at June 8, 2004 09:36 AM
Well, M Berg believes (as he mentions in the interview), that his son respected his wildly different views, and that he approved of him standing up for what he believed in ... so, if that's true (I have no reason to believe otherwise), he feels that he is doing exactly what his son would expect.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at June 8, 2004 09:59 AM
I understand your argument, but if Michael really wanted to *honor* Nick, at the very least shouldn't he "agree to disagree" with his son's memory and say nothing?
Posted by: Farmer Joe at June 8, 2004 12:57 PM
That's one way of looking at it, sure. But given Mr. Berg's other views ... (shrug)
Posted by: Bill from INDC at June 8, 2004 01:02 PM
All due respect, Bill, for following through with the Berg interview.
I think the context "...he's visibly and understandably caught up in acute grief for his son" may, in part, account for the lunacy.
Your account brought my attention to the fact that I, too, have been channelling grief and anxiety into an unrealistic worldview. After a series of deaths in my family and my sister's deployment to Iraq, I adopted a sort of "anti-suffering" approach to political advocacy. Where perceived, suffering was to be denounced. I suppose you could say I had internationalized the chip on my shoulder. Of course, my attention followed US military intervention and I fixated on the negative consequences, in spite of the conditions that may have necessitated action in the first place.
As for Mr. Berg, I'd imagine he typifies a hippie father whose son was beheaded on national television. He's an open wound and his beliefs are his bandage for the time being. I personally hope he is wrong, that our country is not so sinister as the alienated believe...and I'd gladly trade mild embarassment and relief for the paranoia that has distorted my thinking these last couple years.
Posted by: Damon at June 8, 2004 02:59 PM
Nice piece. I appreciate your calm approach and rational demeanor during all of your dealings with Mr. Berg.
Too many people on our side seem to follow the same playbook as the lib moonbats (ad hominem, vitriol, etc.) in their dealings with the opposition.
Well done indeed.
Posted by: J at TAotB at June 8, 2004 03:03 PM
I wonder what Sr. Berg's Views were before his son was brutually murdered by Jehadis!
Posted by: Rajesh Gooty at June 8, 2004 06:29 PM
Does anybody have any hard evidence as to how many of those "11,000" Iraqi dead were killed by Coalition troops, vs. those that were killed by insurgents/Saddam loyalists/terrorists?
A rough statistical sample should be possible, as the difference in weaponry should allow for a forensic determination of the type of weapon that killed the person in question.
A guess, made by a marine in field, is that almost 3/4's of the "civilian dead" (just how many of those "civilians" were in reality terrorists, is another interesting question) that died by small arms fire were killed by terrorists.
Also, a fair number of those civilians killed by "explosive devices" (mortar rounds, grenades, RPG's, etc.) appear to have been killed, again, by terrorists, not American troops.
This makes sense, as our soldiers are taught fire-control (hit what you aim at, and make as sure as possible first that you know what you are aiming at!), while of course amateurs don't have that training, and in general, terrorists don't care nearly as much about who they hit.
Posted by: John at June 8, 2004 06:38 PM
Bill, with all due respect: This is a father forced to deal with the very recent, public and horrific death of his son. Not in a very good state of mind to make critical decisions or a good time to be speaking in public. Emotions are just too raw to be able to be rational. Not sure if he is a willing pawn or being brokered by some opportunist. Very sad to see. My condolences to him and his family.
Posted by: Louise D (Canada) at June 8, 2004 08:00 PM
He protested with many other people with carbon copy views that have felt no loss, and my interview indicates that he was actively protesting (4 times in DC) with the same belief structure. This is not temporary insanity. I can also say with absolute confidence that he acted of his own accord.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at June 8, 2004 09:11 PM
... didn't know Boy George had a little brother (see pic).
Posted by: kobekko at June 10, 2004 02:00 PM
It seems that Berg was noticeably aware that his words were being tape recorded and, as a result, he appeared less than totally candid in his responses. That fact alone makes me question the depth of his sincerity.
Posted by: Interested-Participant at June 11, 2004 08:23 AM
Yeah, but what's really funny is that he still totally couldn't help himself from saying the things that I've presented. The only thing that strikes me as insincere is the fact that he is consciously downplaying his more radical beliefs and affiliations.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at June 11, 2004 12:23 PM
Absolutely fabulous reporting--thank you.
Posted by: Athena at June 11, 2004 06:42 PM
Two aspects strike me in this interview. First one is the fact that father is totally deranged as most of true believers are. I do not think it happened after Nick's death. The other one that logic of his son killers is more unedstandable than his one. The only thing that I can say about him are words of Jesus Christ "G-d forgive them becuase they do not know what they are doing".
Posted by: Levkoyeff at June 12, 2004 12:51 PM
Geez, I can't believe that guy. Sounds like he's had these beliefs for a while, I can't imagine Nick having to grow up around this man. How difficult that must have been for him, having his own father disagreeing with him on the most fundamental of views. Maybe this is his father's way of grieving, but to me, it sounds like he was a loon even before his son was murdered. Crazy, crazy man, and very interesting that he's in with the ANSWER goons.
Posted by: Bob at June 12, 2004 06:31 PM
Goodness gracious! Michael Berg, a Jew, supports ANSWER, huh?...an organization whose goal it is to support the right of return of Palestinians to Israel, which would basically obliterate Israel. He is supporting an anti-semitic organization. So, I guess all his hatred against "bigotry" only applies to bigotry against non-Jews. It's like we're in a war against the Nazi's, and he's on the Nazi's side. Bigotry is OK when it kills Jews, which is what he and his family are, but let's not use "racist language" against muslim fundamentalists who would to exterminate Jews, That would be wrong. What the hell is the matter with this guy?
Posted by: Deborah Weiss at June 12, 2004 10:58 PM
Mr.Berg is a Bush hater like all democrats and is using his son's good name to spread his propaganda. He is so like Michael Moore. He claimes today 6/29/04 that the 9-11 Com. said there is no links to AlQuada and Iraq. He was not listening when the 9-11 Chairmen disputed his claim.
Posted by: nancy coshatt at June 29, 2004 03:36 PM
I am sorry for your son's death Mr. Berg. But blaming the U.S. administration is misguided and misplaced. It was that very administration that tried to send your son out of harms way and your son refused. His choice, not anyone else's. When will you, and the rest of the leftists start taking personal responsibility for your actions? I am an adult who has the capability of making my own choices about how to live a productive and healthy life in a free America without the help or interference of ANY government administration. Any success or failure or consequences of my actions are my own. I will not now, or ever blame the government for anything that happens in my life because I have free will and the liberty to express that will, just as your son did when he decided to stay in a war zone, knowing and accepting the risk involved. If you really believe that the killing is going to stop when/if the U.S. military leaves Iraq, then you are living in a fantasy world. War is never a popular choice, but sometimes, and I am not sure if this is one of those, it is a necessary choice.
Posted by: J. Thompson at June 29, 2004 03:37 PM
Mr. Berg is a pimp, pimping his son's death to propaganda and making money from the left. This is bigotry on his part. He was killed because he was available, as is the Muslim/Arab they are holding and threatening to kill next. They call this a Jihad, religion has nothing to do with this war. They only want to kill Americans, and stuupid Democrats can't see that, because they only have a left eye which is partially blind. Mr. Berg now has only a left eye himself. I despise a traitor!
Posted by: daniel at June 29, 2004 04:47 PM
Sounds like they beheaded the wrong Berg, when are you guys going to wake up it has nothing to do with our US Policy they want us all dead and if it wasn't for our Veterans and we lived under them you would not be able to speak up against them why do you blame America for the tortue that these people inflict on others
Posted by: D P Walker at June 29, 2004 06:06 PM
I couldn't stomach reading all the responses to this article that pretty much verify this country is full of hate mongers. Bill, why can't you report his statements without your comment? I would like to read your comment at the end, instead of this ersatz debate that your try to pull off. Berg is not a tin-foil hatter, no matter how much you stretch. some specious argument that how many people died is total bull. What are your sources? Did you know the military deaths are distorted, because they only count people who die in theater, not on the way to germany or home in a coma for their families to pull the plug? War is hell and there is no way we belonged there in the first place. Many people said this and Guess What? they were maligned then and they are being maligned now... because they were right. Bush and Crew can only be described as "Total Failure" and "Ruined Credibility"
Posted by: r woodruff at June 30, 2004 09:03 PM
"unidentified reporter"? That is the worst chicken-**** I've ever heard. Shame on you.
Posted by: john r. giovannoni at June 30, 2004 11:46 PM
"unidentified reporter"? That is the worst chicken-**** I've ever heard. Shame on you.
Posted by: john r. giovannoni at June 30, 2004 11:47 PM
Posted by: a Cicogna at July 1, 2004 10:38 AM
Posted by: photos of paris hilton at July 2, 2004 07:43 AM