"I hate what's going on"

Alnajar's father, Bassam, declares himnself "100 percent against the war," but he says he told his son: "You must do the best you can. You are an American soldier."

The story is familiar, almost trite. But the Alnajjar family lives with complicated layers of feelings because its members are Muslims and Arabs and Palestinians.

While a son, a Navy airman aboard the Abraham Lincoln, has just ended his duty in the Persian Gulf, the family feels keenly the horror suffered by Iraqi civilians. First it was images of civilian carnage via Al Jazeera television, which they receive on satellite, and lately it is scenes of looting and chaos.

"I'm really scared now, more than I was scared before," Suad Abuhasna said yesterday. "God only knows what is going on with all these killings, the burning of the buildings."

Yet she said she is proud that her son, Airman Bashar Alnajjar, 22, took part in the war. "He did his duty to help the people liberate themselves from the Iraqi regime," Ms. Abuhasna said. "I'm very happy he's not there anymore. But what about the people?" Asked whether the regime's removal was worth the military effort, she said, "I'm not Iraqi."

Her husband, Bassam Alnajjar, declares himself "100 percent against the war," but says he supports in equal measure his son's "fighting for democracy."

"I have 250,000 sons and friends and brothers there," he said of the American forces. "I have 26 million Iraqi brothers dying. I hate what's going on."