LONDON – The father of an American beheaded in Iraq said Tuesday the handover of sovereignty there was a sham and accused President Bush of causing immense pain to thousands of people by going to war.
Michael Berg, whose 26-year-old son, Nicholas Berg (search), was decapitated by militants, said at a news conference organized by the Stop the War Coalition (search) that the transfer was "nothing more than another nut-and-shell game."
"We know that the Iraqi people have not had an election yet, so we do not have a democracy over there, we just have a dictatorship of Bush and [Prime Minister Tony] Blair," he said. "What kind of stability is there in Iraq when we have to sneak the transfer of power in two days ahead of time for who knows why?"
The transfer of sovereignty in Iraq was scheduled for Wednesday, but came two days early in an apparent attempt to foil insurgent attacks.
Berg said Bush's decision to go to war had caused immense suffering to those who had lost loved ones there. He estimated more than 11,000 Iraqis had died and said their families had suffered just like his own.
"People like George Bush and [Defense Secretary] Donald Rumsfeld (search), they don't see the pain that people have to bear, they don't know what it feels like to have your guts ripped out, and there are so many people," he said.
Berg, of West Chester, Pa., accused the American media of failing to convey the human cost of the U.S.-led invasion by not sufficiently reporting Iraqi deaths and suffering. Reporters have also insufficiently covered anti-war sentiment at home, he charged.
Nicholas Berg, who owned a communications equipment company, disappeared in Iraq in April. Last month, an Al Qaeda-linked Web site broadcast images of his beheading.
Nicholas Berg supported Bush and the war. His father, who spoke out against the invasion of Iraq even before his son was killed, said the two had "agreed to disagree" about it.
"I didn't agree with his political reasons for going [to Iraq], although he was only there to help, and I certainly was worried about the danger," he said. "But ... my son was 26 years old and he was a man and you don't stop him from doing what he feels is right. I couldn't have stopped him."