Skip to main content International
The Web      Powered by

Powell: Arab world should be more outraged

'No excuse for silence' after American's beheading

more videoVIDEO
CNN's Dana Bash reports on what Powell told Arab leaders.
• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide
Colin Powell
Amr Moussa

DEAD SEA RESORT, Jordan (CNN) -- The Arab world should be showing "a higher level of outrage" over the death of an American businessman whose beheading was posted on an Islamist Web site last week, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday.

"There's no excuse for silence on this kind of murder," Powell told NBC's "Meet the Press."

"I would like to have seen a much higher level of outrage throughout the world, but especially in the Arab world, to this murder," he said.

"What we saw with this horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible murder should be deplored throughout the Arab world."

Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates condemned the killing of Nicholas Berg, 26, who made his second trip to Iraq in March to work on communication towers.

His family said they last heard from him on April 9, and they notified the State Department he was missing four days later.

Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League, said Sunday that "decent people" cannot tolerate such treatment.

"We are against such acts of extreme violence and despicable actions towards human beings," he said on CNN's "Late Edition."

Powell said that there was "no comparison" between Berg's killing and the revelation of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison by American soldiers.

"All this kind of behavior is unacceptable in the modern world," he said on "Fox News Sunday." "Torture of any kind is unacceptable."

"Arab leaders need to look at what's happening in their own societies," he added. "They need to reform their own societies. Torture is torture is torture. It is unacceptable. It is not the way you treat human beings."

In the video posted Tuesday on an Islamist Web site, Berg is shown sitting in an orange jumpsuit in front of five armed, hooded men. A man standing behind him reads a statement, and Berg is then pushed to the floor.

The man who read the statement pulls out a machete-like knife and decapitates him. One of the captors then holds up the severed head to the camera.

Berg's body was found May 8 in Baghdad.

The CIA has said there was "a high probability" that the killer was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of an Islamist terrorist group that the United States says has close ties to Osama bin Laden. Agents made their determination by analyzing the video and the voice of the man who read the statement.

Linguists who listened to the tape questioned that conclusion, saying the speaker does not have a Jordanian accent.

Story Tools
Click Here to try 4 Free Trial Issues of Time! cover
Top Stories
Iran poll to go to run-off
Top Stories
EU 'crisis' after summit failure

On CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNN AvantGo CNNtext Ad info Preferences
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.