I'm just going to tack this on...
Other people have been beheaded since, and so mostly people have stopped talking about Nick Berg (even the ones who used to bring him up every time someone else brought up Abu Ghraib). But there were all kinds of strange features to his story, which I saw mentioned separately, never all in one article. So, just for the record, without any theory of my own, I would like to collect these facts into a single post:
1. Berg was arrested by Iraqi police and detained by US forces before he fell into the hands of terrorists -- his parents were suing.
2. He had been investigated by the FBI earlier because suspected terrorists (including Zacarias Moussaoui) were using his e-mail account. The FBI were apparently satisified that he had no way to know the man to whom he gave the password might be a terrorist.
3. It is possible that they killed him before beheading him and the video was edited to make it look as though he died more brutally than he did. I have no idea what purpose this would serve, especially in light of later victims, but then, I don't understand much about what was going on here.
4. His father passionately opposes the Iraq war and has lent his support to peace groups.
5. He was interviewed by Michael Moore for Fahrenheit 9/11 months
before his death. The footage was not used in the final cut, and Moore has no comment about the story.
So who was this man? Not a lot older than myself. He wasn't assigned to Iraq by the government, the military, or Halliburton. He was there alone, on the chance that he could find work building radio towers. Why did he go? Why were so many people so interested in him before his death made him famous? Possibly, probably even, there really is no connection between these stories. The fact that he was in Iraq for personal reasons might explain Michael Moore interviewing him, and him getting picked up by the military, and a conversation with an Arab man on the bus which led to the use of his computer, and eventually his e-mail address. But still... It feels like there is a mystery here.