The hunting down and killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi a world away has brought the spotlight onto Delaware through the comments of Green Party candidate Michael Berg. Berg, whose son Nicholas is believed to have been beheaded by Zarqawi himself, has been quoted by publications around the world as saying President Bush “is more of a terrorist than Zarqawi.” “Zarqawi felt my son’s breath on his hand as held the knife against his throat. Zarqawi had to look in his eyes when he did it,” Berg is quoted as saying in an AP wire story. “George Bush sits there glassy-eyed in his office with pieces of paper and condemns people to death. That to me is a real terrorist.”
In Berg’s world, there is no difference between Zarqawi and Bush. However his characterization shows an ignorance of both men, and is unfair to the President regardless of your support or opposition to the war in Iraq.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi spent his entire life murdering people in cold blood, and as the head of al Qaeda in Iraq sought through the murder of civilians to sow fear and terror in order to achieve power. The goal of al-Qaeda in Iraq was to ignite a civil war in which one religious group would systematically wipe out another.
His group is implicated in the Feb 22 attack on a Shiite shrine that nearly tipped Iraq into chaos. On November 9, 2005 he claimed responsibility for a triple homicide bombing in Amman Jordan that killed 60 Sunnis. On May 7, 2005 two cars filled with explosives ploughed into a US military convoy killing 20 Iraqis. On February 28, 2005 a bomber under his command killed 125 Iraqis – mostly Shiites in the city of Hillah. 205 Muslims dead. How many Americans did he kill during that same time period? Just two – in the attack on the convoy.
Americans, blinded by the drumbeat of the characterization of the Iraqi conflict as Vietnam by many on the political Left, have failed to see the reality that the conflict is not Iraqi against American: it is Sunni against Shi’a, Shi’a on Shi’a, tribe against tribe – and Extremist vs Secular – all occurring with Americans in the middle trying to keep the sides from killing each other. To that end, the conflict is more like the efforts during the 1990s to stop the genocide in the Balkans than it is Vietnam. Zarqawi was never a great military leader or strategist like Ho Chi Minh. In one of his last videos he is shown needing help handling a machine gun. Instead, he is more like Jeffrey Dahmer and John Wayne Gacy – a psycho killer elevated by the politics of the region to the level of “holy warrior.”
Zarqawi called for jihad not only against Americans and Jews, but against Shiite Muslims the world over. His last statement, which some military analysts on the website StrategyPage predicted would lead to his “martyrdom” by elements within al-Qaeda, was a rambling screed calling for the destruction of Shiites in Iran and in Lebanon. No one in the region is sad to see him go – including al-Qaeda which is celebrating his death on jihadi websites on the Internet.
Only Michael Berg is saddened. His moral equivalence between a psychokiller and a president, a man who has used every power he had to kill indiscriminately and another who has the power to destroy the world but not used it – is an insult to those of all religious faiths who strive to improve the world. His belief shows a nihilistic disregard for the difference between saints and sinners, between Mother Theresas and Hitlers, throughout history and our needs to champion the former while protecting ourselves from the latter.