First off, before we go anywhere else, let's get this straight - What happened to Nick Berg is one of the most horrendous things that could happen to a human being. To say that the people who killed him are animals is not even close to the mark. (not to mention being an insult to animals everywhere)
What I am finding fascinating, is the reaction of the mainstream news media, or possibly lack of reaction of the mainstream news media is more like it. And the "facts" about Nick Berg that are now leaking out and causing speculation about the man and why he was in Iraq. It is an interesting chain of events starting with the original outright horror expressed by all right minded people and progressing now into the analytical stages as the initial horror wears off.
First we have the news media. I suppose we must call them that since there is no other good descriptor coming to mind at the moment. They have their agenda and it's very clear, even to the most simple minded - they don't support any story that does not put our current government and our troops in a bad light. Period.
This is being exemplified by the fact that today - we find little or no mention of Nick Berg outside of the blogosphere. Just a headline sample (I'm not going to link to the stories, that's not the point)
From Yahoo headlines:
U.S. Tanks Thrust Into Cemetery in Iraq Holy City
Accused Soldier Reportedly Describes Abusers Laughing, Joking
Human Rights Group: Afghan Prisoners Abuse 'Systemic'
From USA Today headlines:
U.S. missed chances to stop abuses
U.S. tipped to Holocaust in '42
Lawsuits target alcohol industry
Notice - not one mention of Berg - but 3 mentions of the prisoner scandal! 3 out of 6 headlines!!! Not to mention the other one about US Tanks in a Cemetery - hint - it's very likely they had a really good reason to be there, but the tone of the headline makes it look like a bad move. (those insensitive Americans!!!)
Many people are calling on the mainstream news media to show the video, such as Rather Biased. Putting forth the argument that the video of Nick Berg's death (and some even mention Danny Pearl) is as important for people to see as the prisoner abuse photos.
I am ambivalent, I have NOT seen the video. Only the stills that John of Argghhh!!! posted yesterday. Even those make my stomach turn. But the news media's effort to squash the story may have exactly the opposite effect of what they intended. People aren't stupid, they realize there is a vast difference between abuse and a most horrific murder. The video NOT being shown may be the catalyst to make many people very angry. It may sway people who were sitting on the fence in a more conservative direction. Hard to say right now.
But the effort to discredit Nick Berg began yesterday - and I find this more interesting than anything else. Starting yesterday with Al Jezeera's vague claims that the video was not authentic. And has escalated in the last 24 hours to include stories of Mr. Berg being investigated by the FBI, his odd behavior in Iraq, his arrest by the Iraqi police, and then his disappearance after he refused US aid to get him out of the country.
Whether or not it is meant. These types of stories eventually work on people's perceptions. They begin to think... well, he brought this on himself, what was he doing, what was he thinking... I am NOT saying that this is what Paul had in mind when he posted the story, he is simply putting the information out there. Al Jezeera on the other hand, DOES have an anti-American agenda. The cumulative effect of these stories, whether intended or not, is to cast doubt on the credibility of the victim and a lessening of sympathy. It might not bother me as much, if the Iraqi prisoners were being given the same treatment - in other words, if the media was publicizing all the things they had done to end up in jail in the first place. So, once again we have a double standard at work. Not surprising at all.
In the end, regardless of any new stories about Nick Berg, the fact remains that he died in an inexcusable horrific manner. I hope that isn't forgotten in the total analysis. May the men who did this soon be roasting in hell and may the Berg family eventually find peace.