The treatment of the captives at the Abu Ghraib prison pales in comparison to the public execution of Nick Berg [front page, May 12]. Being humiliated without being identified, as in the case of the hooded prisoner, does not compare with being publicly beheaded so your family and the world can see. It's outrageous that the president apologized to the families of the captive Iraqis for their treatment.

If the prisoners' treatment resulted in, or could result in, intelligence that could lead to saving American lives, then it is justified in my opinion. We as Americans may play at a higher level of morality, but nevertheless, let's not sacrifice our men and women just because we don't want to humiliate a few prisoners. After all, it could be worse for them.

JOSEPH J. BARBANO

Fairfax Station

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I am an Arab American and a veteran of the U.S. Army. I could not find the words to condemn the coldblooded murder of Nick Berg. These are the acts of misfits and animals and are far from what Islam stands for. Not only the United States but also the world, and in particular the Muslim world, must declare a relentless war on these terrorists.

Humanity has no place for the likes of al Qaeda and men such as Osama bin Laden and Abu Musab Zarqawi. They have declared war against humanity, and humanity must declare war on them.

My condolences go to the parents and family of Mr. Berg. We are all saddened by his murder.

SAMI JAMIL JADALLAH

Fairfax

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The beheading of Nick Berg should put our treatment of Arab prisoners into perspective. The barbarity of the act far exceeds any excesses by the West.

Our pundits and self-flagellators should attend to this fresh evidence of the degraded and decivilizing quality of Islamic extremism.

THOMAS P. LOWRY

Woodbridge