Nick Berg: Who's to blame?

(Author’s note: the following piece is being written while extremely angry, and I am already planning on using some rather strong language, both profane and racially insensitive. I’m not apologizing for it now, will not later, but if Kevin chooses to delete it, that’s his call and I won’t protest.)

Update: I’m closing comments on this thread. It’s degenerated into pointless profanities and juvenile rants for attention. If Kevin, Paul, or any of the other posters disagree, feel free to reopen it or mail me and I will.

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I first started becoming aware of politics and current affairs in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I was outraged by Iran’s seizure of our embassy, and strongly influenced by New Hampshire’s far-right-wing newspaper (we have exactly one statewide newspaper and exactly one network TV station, both very conservative), so I grew up pretty conservative. I didn’t even meet an openly gay person until I got to college, in 1986.

One of the bigger issues of that time was South Africa. The apartheid government was universally despised, of course. The main difference between the liberals and the conservatives was that the liberals were pushing for a complete boycott on the nation and an immediate change of government, while conservatives were calling for ‘constructive engagement’ and a gradual transition to a more democratic government.

I was on the conservative side on that issue. I was concerned that after years of oppression the black majority, if suddenly given power, would rise up and retaliate against the white minority. I had visions of brutal oppression and slaughter. I also didn’t want to see an embargo against South Africa. I figured that if we completely cut off the South African government, we’d be throwing away any influence we might have with them.

I was wrong. As painful as it was to admit, the liberals were right on South Africa. The apartheid government was wrong, and needed to change. It needed to change completely, and it did – eventually, and after the US divested.

Today after posting the Berg video, Kevin told those of us he’s granted guest privileges to feel free to post to this site. I had three ready to go, but after seeing the video, I’ve decided to hold those off until the weekend. I’m in exactly the wrong mood to discuss lighter matters right now.

Once I got home from work, I started surfing around to see the reactions around the ‘net. On the liberal side, I saw a lot of blame being put on the Bush administration for Berg’s death. They said that Berg’s killing was a predictable reaction to the Abu Ghraib prison abuses, as the killers proclaimed in the video. It was Bush’s fault for the Abu Ghraib prison abuses, and Berg’s death is entirely on his hands.


The attitude behind this belief isn’t liberalism, it isn’t partisanship, it isn’t even knee-jerk Bush-hating. To blame anyone besides the people who kidnapped Berg and killed him is racism. Racism, plain and simple – just like my attitudes towards South Africa was.

David Gerrold, spent most of his classic book “A Matter For Men” developing a political thesis (disguised as a heavy science fiction story) that concluded with one simple definition. “Freedom is the right to be held responsible for one’s actions.” A stunningly simple and brilliant conclusion.

George Bush didn’t kidnap Nick Berg. The morons from Abu Ghraib didn’t kill him. Al Qaeda did that, and bragged of it. They chose to do that, and therefore the responsibility for his death rests surely on their shoulders. To try to excuse them, to pass on the burden for their actions is racist. It’s saying the poor little darkies can’t be expected to do any better.

It’s the same thing in Israel. Palestinian terrorists are excused as “doing the only thing they can to resist the brutal occupation, and it’s Israel’s fault for causing the climate of oppression.” That’s racist bullshit, too. Why is it OK to blame the Israelis for both their misdeeds and those of the Palestinians? It’s because the Jews are better than the Palestinians, and they have the White Man’s Burden to make things right while the dumb sand niggers can’t be expected to know or do any better.

The people who killed Nick Berg were perfectly free to not do so. They willingly chose to kidnap and brutally kill – on camera – someone who had absolutely no connection to their stated motive (which was a crock of shit, anyway – this was simply a re-run of the Daniel Pearl murder, with freshened dialogue). This was about them trying to show they still have power. This was the Islamist version of the insecure man buying the big sports car to compensate for insecurities in other areas. And it’s all the reaffirmation we should need to continue this War on Terror (or, as it’s less politely but more accurately called by some, War on Islamism) and win it – because there is no peaceful settlement possible.

(Afterword: some people might object to my use of “Islamist” and “Islamism” in the last paragraph. There is a difference between Islam – the faith – and Islamism – the radical form of the faith. I’m painting with some broad brushes here, but not that broad.)

A Partisan Beheading?
About The Nick Berg Video


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