In Defense of Michael Berg and a Rebuttal

Regarding your article:

Michael Berg Never Looked Into a Terrorists Eyes

I’m sure you’ll accuse me of a ‘liberal disconnect” but I’d like to know your thoughts

regarding why the islamofascists are angry with the US and the West. Do you not figure into your geo-political-religious equation the fact that the US has been projecting itself into the middle east for at least 60 years? Can you say “blowback”? I know that to bring up the topic is taboo in rightwing circles as it is inconvenient, but let’s just take Iran for instance. Was it not the US that overthrew an elected leader there in the early ’50’s, thus setting the stage for the Islamic revolution there, that of course set the stage for US support for Saddam and his war on Iran in the ’80s? I give an oversimplified example, i know. For instance i’m leaving out how we supported the torture state of the Shah. If he’d not been such a bastard, the Iranians might have forgiven us somewhat.

A person doesn’t have to agree with everything Michael Berg believes to understand that he is a pretty evolved human being who has withstood a terrible experience. His son, btw, was a Bush supporter. Maybe he didn’t do such a good job inculcating in him the pacificism that would have kept him out of Iraq. Speaking of ‘in Iraq’, i’ve yet to receive an answer from anyone on the right under the age of 50 who can explain to me why they themselves aren’t over there fighting this ‘necessary and all-important’ war in Iraq. Do you have other priorities? It’s not too late, i regularly read in the paper of US casualties over the age of 40. And as a staunch democrat, i strongly support full funding for veteran care after they get back from the Bush war in Iraq.

Michael Berg for Congress!

best regards,

William Rosenthal

Dear Mr. Rosenthal,

First of all, I want to thank you for your informed response to my opinion. I also want to thank you for arguing your point of view without disparaging or belittling me. My perception of Liberals and/or Democrats, both publicly and personally, is that they base their arguments on personal attacks rather than the issue and/or repeatedly stating opinion as fact until it has become, at least in the media, a fact. You are unique in that aspect.

As for my thoughts on the rise of Islamofacism, I do not pretend to be an expert of Middle East history in any way, but I do think the roots of the virus that is prevalent in the world today is the arbitrary carving up of the Ottoman Empire after World War I.

Bringing up Iran is not taboo in my circles and I take umbrage that you suggest that it is. In the geopolitical world, you choose your friends with convenience as necessary. You have brought up the tired example of the U.S. supporting Iraq when they went to war with Iran, but at the time when that war started in 1980, Iran had become our enemy when they revolted against the Shah in 1979 and by invading American territory when they stormed the U.S. embassy and taking American citizens hostage.

I wholly agree with you, Mr. Rosenthal, that the Shah’s rule was one of excess and cruelty, yet his reign is not remotely close to the crimes against humanity that both the current regime of Iran, who boast loudly and without impunity, the destruction of Israel, the one true free democracy in the Middle East as well as our ally, and the brutality of Saddam Hussein. My point being was that, in 1980, Saddam Hussein was most definitely the lesser of two evils at the time we made nice with him.

We also supported Osama Bin Laden when he took up arms against the Soviet Union when they invaded Afghanistan in 1979 to repel the anti-government Mujahideen insurgents that were fighting to depose Afghanistan’s Marxist People’s Democratic Party government. Why would we do such a thing? Of course the answer was obvious at the time: He was fighting our common enemy, the U.S.S.R., and we did not know, then, that he was a religious psychopath. Like you, my short explanation of recent history is simplified, but it shows that, in the ugly world we live in, we do have to make deals with the devil from time to time to ensure the best interests of the United States.

Remember, it was Democratic presidents that inserted American troops into foreign affairs that, one could argue, we had no reason to take up arms in Korea, Vietnam and Kosovo. Unlike the Taliban in Afghanistan or Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the North Korean, North Vietnamese and the Serbian leaders did not openly threaten America or her citizens.

As for Michael Berg, he has indeed suffered the worst kind of Hell, the loss of a child. Truly, my heart is heavy for him, but for someone you claim to be “highly-evolved” his philosophy is remarkably short-sighted, mean-spirited and completely naive. Like Cindy Sheehan, from my perspective, to use the loss of their children to progress their own political agenda is revolting! It cheapens those, civilians or serviceman, who lost their life while trying to make Iraq a better place to live for the Iraqi people.

As for my own situation, I served as a public school teacher for thirteen years. During that time I was also an athletic coach for eight of those years. I suffered a life-threatening stroke in 1998 when blood clots entered both of my lungs and then shot to my brain. I was given a 5% chance of survival. Obviously, I beat the odds. It did slow my life up quite a bit and I struggled to keep teaching for the next four years before retiring due to disability. These were the cards I was dealt and I am just now able to say, emotionally, I have turned a corner in my life. I can proudly say my brother served four years in the 101st airborne during the 1980’s.

Finally, I love how Liberals keep referring to the invasion of Iraq as the Bush War. It is laughable, really, considering President Bush twice went to the United Nations asking for and getting approval for all events leading up to and including the invasion. That Saddam Hussein failed to comply with UN weapons inspectors and relied on the Oil-for-Food scandalized Western European countries of France, Russia and Germany to intervene was a gamble he took and lost.

It was never a “War for Oil.” We have yet to declare the oil fields of Iraq as American property and we have yet to hand over the oil fields to American oil companies. And if you dare mention Halliburton, please know that it was Halliburton, during the Clinton Administration, who were contracted to be used in Kosovo because they are the only company in the world that can do what they do on a wide scale basis, which is to add value through the entire lifecycle of oil and gas reservoirs and provide and integrate products and services, starting with exploration and development, moving through production, operations, maintenance, conversion and refining, to infrastructure and abandonment. (

I don’t know what else to say except it is disheartening that one side dislikes the other so much that they are willing to undermine, to a debilitating level, the leadership of our country at one of the most crucial times in human existence. It is one thing to disagree and, with intellect and reasonableness, to win elections. It is quite another to actually destroy the pillar you hope to one day sit atop.

With Kindest Regards,

Richard Barrett

Richard L. Barrett III

Richard L. Barrett, III is a writer with a BA in English Literature, who loves to write about the human condition