Friday, May 21, 2004

When grief clouds judgment 

It's a difficult thing to pick on a grieving person and point out that they are delusional, but sometimes it has to be done. Michael Berg, the father of the beheaded American hostage, Nick Berg, is experiencing a rare new psychological condition: the post-mortem Stockholm Syndrome by proxy. He speaks out on why he blames George Bush more for his son's death than he blames the actual killers:

"I am sure, knowing my son, that somewhere during their association with him these men became aware of what an extraordinary man my son was. I take comfort that when they did the awful thing they did, they weren't quite as in to it as they might have been. I am sure that they came to admire him.

"I am sure that the one who wielded the knife felt Nick's breath on his hand and knew that he had a real human being there. I am sure that the others looked into my son's eyes and got at least a glimmer of what the rest of the world sees. And I am sure that these murderers, for just a brief moment, did not like what they were doing."
This is a sorry stuff. I don't have any better idea than Michael Berg what his son's assassins saw and felt, and what went inside their heads as they held Nick down and slowly cut his head off with a knife, but I'm willing to guess that it wasn't warm and fuzzy feelings about our common humanity. More like, "Die, you American swine." I hope that one day we'll capture al-Zarqawi, and we'll be able to ask him about it. And I'm willing to bet Michael Berg that I'm right.

Michael Berg goes on:

"George Bush never looked into my son's eyes. George Bush doesn't know my son, and he is the worse for it. George Bush, though a father himself, cannot feel my pain, or that of my family, or of the world that grieves for Nick, because he is a policymaker, and he doesn't have to bear the consequences of his acts...

"Even more than those murderers who took my son's life, I can't stand those who sit and make policies to end lives and break the lives of the still living."
And yes, it gets even worse after that. Read the whole thing.

I didn't know Nick Berg, and most probably neither did anyone else who's reading this blog, so no, I can't grieve for him the way his father, family and friends do. But I can say for certain that naively exculpating Nick's murderers does nothing for his memory.


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