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The Devil Made Them Do It By: Shawn Macomber
FrontPageMagazine.com | Saturday, May 15, 2004

The Left has finally found a movie it can condemn almost as strongly as Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”! That film is “Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi slaughtering an American,” the film posted on a militant Islamic website showing a Pennsylvania contractor, Nicholas Berg, being mercilessly beheaded. The Chomsky types, perhaps feeling a nagging sense of latent guilt, could not wait to make it clear to everyone how horrified they were by the whole scene. However, their hatred is not motivated by a disgust of the hideous practice, nor the brutality of our Islamist enemy; it stems from the fact that the terrorists' action makes it harder for the Left to place the blame for Berg's death where it belongs”: on the United States of America.

For example, on the popular Daily Kos leftist blog (around 2.5 million hits a month), Markos Moulitsas Zúniga posted an entreaty entitled, “Why Berg Was Murdered.” It started off harmlessly enough with a rote denunciation of the terrorists. Naturally, that doesn’t last.


“The lesson (of Berg’s murder) is that not finishing the job in Afghanistan and invading Iraq with no good rationale gave Al Qaida and similar groups time to catch their breath, reorganize, and direct their efforts against a conveniently near target – Iraq,” Zúniga writes. “This is the neocon ‘flypape’" theory in all its glory. It's working. The neocons WANTED it this way. And they got it. Congratulations.”


But Zúniga doesn’t just say “congrats” at the conclusion of his rambling conspiracy theory and go on his merry way. He keeps flailing away in barely controlled anger.


“The prison abuse didn't cause Berg's horrific murder,” Zúniga writes. “Bush's (inept) War, in all its glory, did. The Neocon agenda, in all its folly, did. The war cheerleaders now trying to use this for propaganda purposes, in all their idiocy, did. Congrats. Your war spirals ever out of control. Good luck trying to wash the blood out of your hands.”


As usual, today’s peaceniks cannot maintain a single thought for very long if it doesn’t directly concern themselves or their fight against George W. Bush. Berg cannot be a tragedy; he has to be an indelible product of neo-conservatism, an amorphous catch-all boogeyman that arguably has no meaning, especially in the context of Bush himself.


“Everyone thinks it’s just horrible that someone could cut someone else’s head off; only a ‘barbarian’ would do such a thing,” Eli writes over at Left I On the News. “So what kind of person is it that could fly overhead and drop an oh-so-cutely named ‘Daisy Cutter’ or ‘Mother of All Bombs’ or maybe just a nice simple 500-pound bomb or a laser-guided missile and blow dozens of people to smithereens? Is it more ‘civilized’ because they're not looking their enemy in the face.”


A few more spastic paragraphs and then the swan song, where Eli admits Berg’s “blood is on the hands of those who killed him.” But he can’t let it lie at that, adding that Berg’s blood “is also very much on the hands of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the lot of them, who sent U.S. soldiers into another country to illegally overthrow their government, and who also put into motion the illegal detention and torture of prisoners around the world, from Bagram to Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib, which triggered this particular act of killing.”


The folks over at alt.Muslim.com seem angy that al-Qaeda has robbed them of a stick to beat Bush with.


“Just as American officials were grappling with the aftermath of the Iraqi prison abuse scandal, just as more Americans than ever before think that invading Iraq was a mistake, just as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld came tantalizingly close to losing his job, and just as Bush's popularity hit an all time low, al-Qaida ruins it all and grabs the moral low ground with a dramatic videotaped beheading of Nick Berg,” an unnamed editor writes. Yes, yes, what an inconvenient death indeed.


Max Sawicki contributor to The American Prospect and Dissent tried to spice up his anti-Americanism with a heavy side of sarcasm.


“If I could, I would write a letter of protest to the U.S. Department of Beheading Facilitators, but of course there is no such place,” Sawicki writes. “There is nobody for me to appeal to who is beholden to me in any way, has a conscience, or has some responsibility for this heinous crime. Evidently, the outrage should motivate some response, but what? We took a country governed by a despot and handed it over to terrorists. Another fine mess, Ollie.”


Kevin Drum, blogging over at The Washington Monthly attempted a sage comparison between the crimes of al-Qaeda and those of America.


“Barbaric behavior doesn't win wars, it just makes your enemies more dedicated to their cause,” Drum writes. “This is why it's so important to eliminate the kind of barbarism exhibited by our own side at Abu Ghraib: because it just makes our enemies stronger. If we don't purge it root and branch, we've as good as lost the war. In more ways than one.”


Tim Horne over at American Samizdat thought it was “worth noting that Mr. Berg was not military personnel, but was in Iraq seeking work in the rebuilding process.” Perhaps this makes him a more sympathetic figure than the terrible American soldiers? At any rate, the thought turns out to be just a small footnote in the Bush bash: “In the video, his captors claim to have offered the U.S. Berg in exchange for Iraqis held at Abu Ghraib, but the U.S. refused,” Horne writes. “How many more videos like this will it take before the current administration realizes they can't fix the mess they have created?”


Later in the day, the conspiracy theorists began coming out of the woodwork, contending that the group that killed Berg was left to flourish in Iraq because Bush didn’t want to kill terrorists; he wanted to kill Saddam. Their message is clear: Bush killed Berg.


“Think about that: as a matter of policy, the Bush Administration refused to take out a terrorist cell – a cell that has now killed an American citizen,” the blog Lean Left posited. “And the press doesn't think that's worthy of discussion. Perhaps the decision not to strike was justified, perhaps the former members of Bush's National Security Council were wrong about the quality of the opportunity or the motive for not striking. But shouldn't someone ask? Because if there is no good reason, then the Bush Administration did not do everything in its power to protect the world from a known terrorist organization. In a sane world, that would be the very definition of outrageous.”


Suddenly the pacifists have become the world’s biggest fans of the preemptive strike doctrine. That, to me, is the “very definition of outrageous.” Undoubtedly, this leftist supported a pre-9/11 strike on Afghanistan? Please….


Shortly after that, other bloggers citing Sawicki’s post enlarged the scope of the conspiracy investigation. Now Bush was in it with the folks who post over at the Free Republis. (They prefer to be called “Freepers,” but that’s neither here nor there.) Back in March somebody posted an “enemies list” composed of “signatories to an anti-war petition,” one of whom was supposedly Nick Berg's father, Michael.


“The CPA now wants to paint a picture that it was the Iraqi police forces who arrested and held Berg for thirteen days, not the American military,” a writer at The Left Coaster posts. “Who do the Iraqi police forces report to? If the FBI was visiting an American citizen in custody in Iraq, why did we allow a citizen to stay in the custody of a police force that we control? And if we didn't control the situation, then why was Berg released so quickly after his parents filed a federal suit April 5 alleging he was being held illegally by the American military? Oh, and the Iraqis in Mosul can't confirm that Berg was even detained by them.”


“I don’t think we really know who killed Nick Berg,” another wrote, ignoring the fact that the terrorists produced a graphic video of the crime, then hurried to claim responsibility.


Dave Johnson over at See the Forest thought it might be worthwhile to give his take on American foreign policy.


“The beheading is an attempt to provoke Bush into doing something else stupid, like he did with Fallujah, and draw us even deeper into Iraq,” Johnson writes. “Every penny spent and every person sent to Iraq is one less resource with which to battle al-Qaeda. And the more al-Qaeda can provoke us into seeing Iraq and Islam as the enemy, and the more they can promote tribal thinking of us against them – the better for their cause.”


Huh? This makes as much sense as anything else the Left has to say about the brutal murder of a young American civilian.


It’s worth reviewing one final denunciation of Berg’s murder. See if you can guess the author:


“----- condemns this horrible act that has done very great harm to Islam and Muslims by this group that claims affiliation to the religion of mercy, compassion and humane principles. The timing of this act that overshadowed the scandal over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in occupation force’s prisons is suspect timing that aims to serve the American administration and occupation forces in Iraq and present excuses and pretexts for their inhumane practices against Iraqi detainees.”


That was the statement released by Hezbollah on the decapitation of Nick Berg. If you can find one whit of difference between that and the commentaries coming out of the leftist blogosphere, you’re a better man than I am. The parallels are ominous, indeed.

Shawn Macomber is a staff writer at The American Spectator and a contributor to FrontPage Magazine. He also runs the website Return of the Primitive.

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