Nick Berg was in Iraq on his own looking for work. He was arrested and held first by Iraqis, then turned over to US military, who held him incommunicado. The FBI visited his parents. They finally went to court to get him released, which he was. They never heard from him again.

From the Left Coaster comes this cogent analysis:

Why was Nick Berg held by the US military?

There are several obvious questions:

1. Why was Berg stopped at Mosul in the first place and then kept in custody by the American military?

2. Why was the FBI asked to find out from the parents why their son was in Iraq, when he was in the custody of the US military at the time?

3. Third, why was he quickly released by the military when his parents filed a federal suit?

4. In what part of the country was Berg released and with what provisions for finding his way home?

5. Why was Mrs. Berg unable to get any help from the Bush Administration in finding out where her son was in April?

6. Why was Berg still in a military prisoner orange jumpsuit when he was killed?

7. If Berg was killed late last week or sooner, why was this tape only released today as the Administration was dealing with the prisoner abuse hearings?

8. Why was Fox News seemingly ready with its talking points that such an atrocity makes the prisoner abuse acceptable?

From those who executed him

“For the mothers and wives of American soldiers, we tell you that we offered the U.S. administration to exchange this hostage with some of the detainees in Abu Ghraib and they refused,” one of the men read from a statement.

Did the US not want him back? If so, why would they not want a POW returned? Also, since the US must have know he was missing, why wasn’t this reported until after he was murdered?

Some of the comments on Atrios

This war is spinning so totally out of control that I can’t even keep track of atrocities anymore.

How exactly went Nick Berg from being illegally detained by US forces to be held by Zarqawi? I mean, how did that happen?

I think we’re in the throes of destiny. We’re going into a vortex of evil that nothing can stop. It’s a dark time, the end of the Roman Empire once again. Nothing makes sense and it feels like a tsunami — brace yourselves because I don’t think there’s anything that can be done. But, hell, I’m still voting for Kerry!

The simple fact is this man didn’t have to die, and the US military allowed it to happen.

I think it was Lenin who said that the sole purpose of terrorism is to elicit a brutal response, thus exposing the oppressors for the thugs that they are and in turn generating more recruits for the revolution (resistance, etc.)

No one deserves to die like Berg did or like that Iraqi prisoner in the photos who was beaten nearly dead, packed in ice, then left to die. I don’t care if the person is the evilest torturer on the planet. “Torturing a torturer makes you a torturer.” If it’s a wartime situation, a bullet in the back of their head when they don’t expect it will suffice. Give them a quick, merciful death even if they don’t “deserve” it.

Having said that, I will also say it was a brilliant piece of propaganda, far better than anything the US has done. Barbaric, savage, but it instantly made headlines worldwide and got their point across quite clearly.

“So we tell you that the dignity of the Muslim men and women in Abu Ghraib and others is not redeemed except by blood and souls. You will not receive anything from us but coffins after coffins … slaughtered in this way.”

Does anyone expect they don’t mean it?

The US has lost the propaganda war and the respect of much the world, and is losing the military war. Bring the troops home now. Before things completely careen into the abyss.

PS Beheaded man’s family blame army, Bush

Update: The US is now claiming Berg was never in their custody, a bizarre statement considering his parents filed suit in federal court to have him released.