Saturday, June 10, 2006

Zarqawi / Goldstein

At Reverent and Free, Craig has a post -- well worth your time to read -- which led me to an account of Soledad O'Brien's interview with Michael Berg. Mr. Berg's son, Nicholas, was killed on videotape -- "probably," says CNN by the late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Given the volume of lies and deceptions about the whole Mesopotamian adventure that the American public has been fed, I tend to think that "probably" means "our interview will certainly have the poignant symmetry" ... but never mind; let's say that Zarqawi in fact did it. It's irrelevant: although Zarqawi's killing is the occasion of what we're looking at here, it isn't really about Zarqawi at all.

Mr. Berg -- a very, very bad boy -- says that Our Wartime President is no better than that personification of evil, Saddam Hussein:
O'BRIEN: There's a theory that a struggle for democracy, you know...

BERG: Democracy? Come on, you can't really believe that that's a democracy there when the people who are running the elections are holding guns. That's not democracy.

O'BRIEN: There's a theory that as they try to form some kind of government, that it's going to be brutal, it's going to be bloody, there's going to be loss, and that's the history of many countries -- and that's just what a lot of people pay for what they believe will be better than what they had under Saddam Hussein.

BERG: Well, you know, I'm not saying Saddam Hussein was a good man, but he's no worse than George Bush. Saddam Hussein didn't pull the trigger, didn't commit the rapes. Neither did George Bush. But both men are responsible for them under their reigns of terror.

I don't buy that. Iraq did not have al Qaeda in it. Al Qaeda supposedly killed my son.

Under Saddam Hussein, no al Qaeda. Under George Bush, al Qaeda.

Under Saddam Hussein, relative stability. Under George Bush, instability.

Under Saddam Hussein, about 30,000 deaths a year. Under George Bush, about 60,000 deaths a year. I don't get it. Why is it better to have George Bush the king of Iraq rather than Saddam Hussein?
This, of course, is supposed to be the cue for patriotic outrage: imagine this traitorous wretch saying that Dubya's no better than Antichrist Saddam!

Well, I don't exactly and completely agree with Mr. Berg about this. Bush probably is, in fact, a little better than the deposed-and-soon-to-be-executed Iraqi strongman. But to compare them is like arguing about which is more venomous: a hooded cobra or a coral snake. I'm sure they're not exactly equally venomous. One is very likely more dangerous than the other. But the difference is a matter of degree, not a fundamental difference in kind. Was John Wayne Gacy any "better" than Ted Bundy, or vice versa?

Not in any important way. They are varieties of the same creature.

Back to Michael Berg:
O'BRIEN: Mr. Berg, thank you for talking with us again. It's nice to have an opportunity to talk to you. Of course, I'm curious to know your reaction, as it is now confirmed that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man who is widely credited and blamed for killing your son, Nicholas, is dead.

MICHAEL BERG: 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 ...

O'BRIEN: I have to say, sir, I'm surprised. I know how devastated you and your family were, frankly, when Nick was killed in such a horrible, and brutal and public way.

BERG: Well, you shouldn't be surprised, because I have never indicated anything but forgiveness and peace in any interview on the air.
I don't know that first thing about Mr. Berg -- what his spiritual ideas or position might be. He certainly talks like someone who is familiar with the words of Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 5:38-48:
You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," but I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. And whoever shall force you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

You have heard that it was said, "You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy." But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
As I say, I know nothing about Mr. Berg's beliefs, or lack thereof. I only wish that some of the evangelical cheerleaders for Bush and his wars, who've cackled so gleefully over another dead raghead, would display some similarity to -- some of the signature of -- my redeemer, as Mr. Berg has with his words. Instead, they sound like junior Outer Party members, screaming at Goldstein's image during the Five Minutes' Hate in 1984.

1 comment:

TW said...

I have a hard time with some aspects of Christianity. If Matthew 5:38-48 in total context means to let your enemies saw your head off and/or the heads of your progeny and then go ahead and love them anyway....well, like I said.

Mr. Berg makes some erroneous statements and is of course not challenged on any of them. Saddam was known to have pulled the trigger quite often in his illustrious career. I'm convinced that he probably took part in rapes and many torturing sessions as well. He certainly raised a couple of sons that were well versed in those practices.

Iraq did have al Qaeda in it as well. From what I've read, it's pretty well documented that al Zarqawi was there a good year before we attacked. You wouldn't have to twist my arm too hard to get me to believe a guy like Saddam, that did much to support and encourage terrorism, was involved with al Qaeda even more than has currently been revealed. Comparing him in relative likeness to Bush seems to be a practice only seriously engaged by the fringe elements IMHO.

The democracy in Iraq may be a little primitive at this point, but it's infinitely more democracy than was there before. Let's hope it continues to grow.

It's nice that Mr. Berg can go on national television and from the comfort of an armchair say all he wants about the war and the President and such. He wouldn't have been able to say those types of things in his own neighborhood let alone on national TV in Iraq with old Saddam in power.

It's kind of amazing the rather far out attitudes and philosophies one can easily adopt in a country like the United States. For some strange reason you don't see these Mr. Berg types in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, and other troubled parts of the world that don't enjoy the freedoms our more advanced form of democracy affords us. Probably because they are eliminated from those societies in rather short order.

As you know which side of the fence I'm speaking from, you may of course feel free to write them off as the incoherent ramblings of a warmonger.

BTW, I do see some merit in Mr. Berg's comments and in your blog in general. Just want to be clear on that.

After browsing though your blog a bit, I've decided that you seem to be in a bit of a rut here E. I've stumbled onto a nice little blog that I've really enjoyed reading and that you might want to take a look at as well. It's written from a conservative standpoint, but regularly gets off the political end of the spectrum and touches on God, religion, physics, and a number of other subjects. Give it a try! Here's the link: