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The revealing case of Nicholas Berg - Ed Brock

You know you've done something truly evil when even Hezbollah and Hamas disown you.

But it's always been Al Qaeda's weakness, to go too far, and while the man responsible for Nick Berg's beheading, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is not actually a member of that terrorist group he seems to share their psychotic lack of judgment.

It goes without saying that sawing off a man's head with a knife is nothing more than demented. I have seen the video and it is as hideous as one would imagine.

However, if there is a positive to be found in Berg's death, it is that it may well mean the end of Osama bin Laden's insanity.

You see, terrorism is supposed to have a purpose, and Al Qaeda's purpose is far too extreme and unachievable for that group to survive. And Berg's beheading, perhaps, may even lead to a schism between Iraqi insurgents and the foreign instigators like al-Zarqawi who have been whipping up the flames of the rebellion against our occupation.

The strong condemnations issued by Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Palestinian group Hamas show the difference between terrorists with an achievable purpose and maniacs like Al Qaeda.

Calling Berg's execution "brutal" and "cruel," Hezbollah also pointed out that it "has caused great harm to Islam and to Muslims." Hamas representative Osama Hamdan said he sympathized with Berg's family and, like Berg's father, put some of the blame on President Bush.

It's also important to note that both groups condemned the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks as well, and that's a key point.

Hamas and Hezbollah have an achievable goal, that being the creation of a Palestinian state. I'm sure they would also love to see the destruction of Israel, but at this point in the game they know that's not going to happen.

But they also know that, one day, they may just win, or at least achieve partial victory, and at least some of their leaders seem able to see past that day and realize that they will have to make friends with us some time in the future. After all, we do have all the money.

The same thing happened with the IRA. They had an achievable objective, the liberation of North Ireland from Protestant and English rule. Heck, they even formed Sinn Feinn, essentially their public relations arm, and now that their goal is gradually being realized they can let that side of their movement take over.

Now, Al Qaeda and al-Zarqawi, their only purpose is the destruction of the United States and the creation of an Islamic world.

That, my friends, is just crazy, and that's why only nuts join Al Qaeda. The only reason they've made it this far is because bin Laden is rich and I'm sure other people in that neck of the woods donate money to them because it's good to have a wild card to play.

But not that wild, nobody wants it that wild.

This includes the Iraqi rebels. They have an achievable objective, the expulsion of United States forces from their native country.

But after the war they are still going to need our help someday. They're going to want to trade, and you can bet that many of the Iraqi resistance leaders realize this.

Here's a case in point. Do you remember the Japanese civilians who were recently taken hostage by Iraqi insurgents who threatened to burn them alive if Japan didn't withdraw from Iraq? Well, I recently learned that those hostages were actually treated well and asked to act frightened for the camera in the videotape the insurgents made to list their demands.

And let's remember that even our favorite prisoner of war Jessica Lynch was treated fairly well by her Iraqi captives, and before the pictures of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse started coming out hostage Thomas Hamill was at least not tortured or beaten.

They even operated on his injured arm, even though they also caused the injury to that arm. But it is a war.

So the Iraqis are as civilized as we are, despite what we saw at Fallujah, and they want us to go. So why would they endorse Berg's killing when it is not only brutal and uncivilized, but a really good way to make America want to keep fighting.

By the way, as I've said before, that is just what Al Qaeda wants, for us to stay in Iraq, slowly bleeding to death and giving Al Qaeda a wonderful recruiting program.

Thus, I think that even at this very moment a few smart Iraqi insurgency leaders are very, very displeased with al-Zarqawi. If they have any sense, they'll cut his head off and drop it off in front of one of our bases. But I'm not sure they have that option.

Still, I wouldn't be surprised if the Iraqis begin pulling further and further apart from their foreign "supporters." And that can only be a good thing for us.

Perhaps Berg's death was not in vain.

Ed Brock covers public safety and municipalities for the News Daily. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 254 or via e-mail at ebrock@news-daily.com.