"I see more death coming out of al-Zarqawi's death," Michael Berg told The Associated Press after learning a U.S. air strike had killed the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Zarqawi is believed to have beheaded two American civilians in 2004: Nicholas Berg, a 26-year-old businessman from West Chester, Pa., and Eugene Armstrong, a 52-year-old contractor from Hillsdale, Mich. Jack Hensley, a 48-year-old engineer from Marietta, Ga., was abducted at the same time as Armstrong and also killed.
Armstrong's family didn't want to discuss Zarqawi Thursday morning.
"An evil man is dead, and what more can you say?" said family spokeswoman Cyndi Armstrong, the wife of the slain contractor's cousin.
Nicholas Berg's father, a pacifist who is running for Delaware's U.S. House seat on the Green Party ticket, said Zarqawi's death is likely to foster anti-American resentment among Al Qaeda members who feel they have nothing left to lose.
He dismissed the notion that Zarqawi's death might bring him closure.
"First of all, I'm not even certain that al-Zarqawi even killed my son," said Michael Berg, who doesn't believe the videotape of his son's execution or what he's been told by the FBI any more than he believes conspiracy theories suggesting his son was killed by the U.S. government.
"I think the news of the loss of any human being is a tragedy. I think al-Zarqawi's death is a double tragedy," he said. "His death will incite a new wave of revenge. George Bush and al-Zarqawi are two men who believe in revenge."
Berg said "restorative justice," — such as being forced to work in a hospital where maimed children are treated — could have made Zarqawi "a decent human being.
Zarqawi was killed by a U.S. airstrike on a remote area 30 miles northeast of Baghdad. Al Qaeda in Iraq confirmed his death and vowed to continue its "holy war," according to a statement posted on a Web site. The group has taken responsibility for numerous mortar attacks, suicide bombings, beheadings and other violence against U.S. and Iraqi targets in the past few years.
President Bush, speaking outside the White House Thursday morning, said Zarqawi's death was "a severe blow" to Al Qaeda but the war on terror would continue.
"This violent man will never murder again," Bush said.