US lawmakers outraged at beheading of American contractor

Published on May 12, 2004 12:52 PM IST

US lawmakers reacted with outrage to the beheading of an American, shown in video on an Islamist website linked to Al-Qaeda, and demanded Arabs condemn the killing as strongly as they had condemned abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US troops.

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PTI | ByAFP, Washington

US lawmakers reacted with outrage to the beheading of an American, shown in video on an Islamist website linked to Al-Qaeda, and demanded Arabs condemn the killing as strongly as they had condemned abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US troops.

"I am eagerly awaiting public apologies and condemnation from leaders in the Arab world expressing their own personal outrage at the barbaric murder of Nick Berg, an innocent civilian," said Representative Tom Tancredo of Colorado yesterday. "And if such an apology is not forthcoming from the Arab world, their silence should be condemned by the civilized world."

Berg, a businessman from Pennsylvania who had been missing in Iraq since mid-April, was decapitated with a large knife by a group of masked men, according to US news reports.

"The image of these murderers is a shocking reminder of the people we're up against," House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay said. "They are not soldiers. They're monsters, they're terrorists, and we will not rest until every last one of them is in a cell or a cemetery.

"Nick Berg's murderers are going to pay -- them, their partners, their allies, their cells, their suppliers, and their sponsor states."

Added Senator John McCain: "They have no regard for humanity or decency. That's why we have to win in Iraq."

There also was a backlash among some lawmakers to the furor over the prisoner abuse.

Senator Wayne Allard said the high-profile Senate hearing on the case should have been held behind closed doors to forestall a backlash.

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