The death of American civilian Nick Berg (who actually was a civilian, not a mercenary) in Iraq at the hands of decapitating lunatics is sad.
It doesn’t, however, matter in the slightest in wider terms – and the commentators using it as a counterexample to the prison brutality in Abu Ghraib are incredibly wrong.
Of course the decapitating lunatics will murder civilians: that’s what they’re there for. The US Army, however, is not. The fact that American soldiers don’t (so far) appear to have recorded videos of themselves *murdering* prisoners is not something to feel terribly proud about.
It’s as if I were to try and justify the worst excesses of the British empire by using the vilest actions of anti-colonialists. In other words, offensive to all concerned, and an extraordinarily stupid thing to try and do.