Michael Berg, whose son Nick was beheaded in Iraq in 2004, told ABC News' Aaron Katersky on Thursday that he abhors that the U.S. military has killed al-Zarqawi.
"I will not take joy in the death of a fellow human, even the human being who killed my son," said Berg, who blamed President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales -- and not al-Zarqawi -- for the death of his son because of what Berg said is their role in making possible the torture of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.
Zarqawi, al-Qaeda's top operative in Iraq, is believed to have orchestrated scores of killings since the U.S.-led invasion. U.S. military officials say the insurgent leader personally beheaded American captive Nicholas Berg in a gruesome, videotaped execution that shocked the West.
"Revenge is what killed my son," said Berg. "My son died in a perpetual cycle of revenge that goes on and on, forever. It's got to stop somewhere. As far as I'm concerned, it will stop with me."
Berg, who said he begged the United States government not to kill al-Zarqawi so that Berg could reconcile with him, worries that only more death will come out of his killing.
"I wish the Iraqi people, and the U.S. soldiers who mistakenly believe they are protecting us, good fortune in weathering the upcoming violence," said Berg, who was propelled by the death of his son to run on the Green Party ticket for Delaware's at-large congressional seat against Republican Rep. Michael Castle.
Berg is staking his long-shot congressional bid on a call to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East. He is also calling for the creation of a single-payer health care system and for policies that would reduce global warming.
John Atkeison, Berg's campaign manager, told ABC News that Berg was urged to run for Congress against Castle as a Democrat by a member of a local peace organization that was acting as an intermediary for the state Democratic Party.
Berg opted to pursue the Green Party's nomination instead of the Democratic Party's nomination, despite the reported entreaty, according to Atkeison, because "the Green Party has a very firm, long-standing opposition to the war against Iraq, as well as other U.S. military adventures, and the Democratic Party does not."
"Either you are playing along with a permanent presence in Iraq with the huge installations that the U.S. is building," said Atkeison. "Or you say: 'Let's go ahead and get out now.' Anything other than that ends up playing into the hands of the permanent occupation."
Delaware's Democratic Party is expected to nominate Dennis Spivack, a Wilmington lawyer and Vietnam veteran who supports a more gradual withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, as its congressional nominee at its Friday convention.
Alexander Snyder-Mackler, a spokesman for Delaware's Democratic Party, disputed Atkeison's claim that the Democrats approached Berg.
"No one from the party leadership either spoke to him or directed someone to speak to him," said Snyder-Mackler, who joined other members of his party in calling the killing of al-Zarqawi "a step forward" in an otherwise "botched" and "mismanaged" war.