Issue: "Year in Review 2004," Jan. 1, 2005

The beheadings started in May, ostensibly in retaliation for the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Nick Berg, a 26-year-old civilian from Philadelphia, was the first victim. A grainy videotape showed him sitting on the floor in an orange jumpsuit, calmly reciting the names of his family members before a hooded executioner sliced off his head.

As the year wore on, such images soon became sickeningly familiar, though never less shocking. If Mr. Berg's name is remembered the longest, it is only because he was the first. Shosei Koda, a 24-year-old Japanese backpacker, was the latest victim, though probably not the last.

The name of Margaret Hassan will likely be remembered though she escaped the fate of many of her fellow captives. Perhaps in recognition of her 30 years of work on behalf of poor Iraqi children, the local chief of CARE International was merely shot in the head by her kidnappers at point-blank range.

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