I KNOW why you wear ski masks.

I know why you tied up Nick Berg, leaving him unable to fight back.

I know why the odds were 5 to 1.

You say your unspeakable act of barbarity was retaliation for what happened in Abu Ghraib prison.

What a convenient excuse: A bunch of untrained Americans hazed and humiliated Iraqi detainees.

But if that hadn’t happened, you’d have found a different justification.

Maybe because we captured your fearless leader, Saddam, cowering in a rat hole.

Or maybe you’d have just fallen back on that old standby – Israel.

I can see right through you.

You wore those ski masks for two reasons.

Number one, you’re afraid you’ll be identified by the coalition and forced to answer for your atrocities. And number two, you shamed your fellow countrymen and fellow Muslims – and just maybe, you’re also afraid of them.

You and your wimpy, terrorist brothers around the world are getting your butts kicked. In Baghdad, you’re facing Iraqi soldiers who could beat you with water pistols.

So what do you do?

You kill an American when his arms are tied.

You blow up Iraqi cops with bombs because you can’t do anything face-to-face.

You mutilate four Americans and hang them from a bridge.

I can’t even remember what excuse you used for that one.

But this country won’t forget that stomach-churning outrage against humanity – or this one.

Then there was the assassination back in 2002 of Daniel Pearl by some of your brothers in Pakistan.

Well, he was a Jew, you said. Any reason is better than the truth: You hate freedom.

But there’s one piece of good news in all of this.

You have as much brains as you do guts – you just pulled the rug out from under soft-headed liberals on Capitol Hill. This will get even them pissed off.

But if you think this ultimate act of barbarity will weaken the resolve of the coalition – and the decent people of Iraq – you are wrong.

The overwhelming majority of the Muslim world wouldn’t waste their spit on your graves.

I know why you wear ski masks. It is because you are cowards.

But hear this: Ski masks or not, you and your brothers in terror will fall soon enough.

Steve Dunleavy

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