In a perverse way, the terrorists in Iraq have done the U.S. a favor by beheading the American contractor.
All of the world's attention had been directed to the inhumane treatment of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. forces. Admittedly, this is not America's finest hour. Nevertheless, the abuse, although sick, did not include indiscriminate murder, captured on video and shown to the world. The terrorists, however, chose to murder a man on video and proudly show it to the world, announcing that it was payback for the U.S. treatment of Iraqi prisoners.
It is one thing to abuse and humiliate a prisoner. It is another entirely to film an execution and publicize it.