War is Hell and it should not be surprising that Marines have killed innocent civilians (I should say "allegedly," but it is looking bad). Ultimately, the individuals who are involved will/should be punished. But, I am sure this happens with regularity, but let's consider the incident in a broader context.
1. Many soldiers and Marines are working on their 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th tours. They have seen some of their buddies killed or injured by a largely unseen enemy.
2. Insurgents do not wear uniforms so they look like civilians.
3. We sent over too few troops that were not well equipped for an insurgency - unarmored Humvees, a shortage of body armor, etc.
4. Typical job of a Marine - go into town (Falluja, Ramadi, Basra, Samarra, Haditha, take your pick) and clean out the insurgents. They do battle for a couple of days/weeks and clean out the city, but they cannot stay because there are too few troops in Iraq and too many hot spots with growing insurgencies. So after taking dozens of casualties and cleaning out a city they move on to the next city. Six months later they have to return to the town they cleared out and do it again because the insurgents just move back in when the Marines leave.
5. Bushie has no plan for winning other than "Freedom is on the March." On top of that he has authorized torture, suspended the Geneva Conventions, and in the process sent the message that there is no governing law.
6. There is no improvement in Iraq - just the opposite - it continues to worsen. A growing civil war that is resulting in more death, mayhem, destruction, and hopelessness. That is why middle class and upper class Iraqis are leaving. You need these folks to build a democracy but anyone with means is leaving.
What we have left is a ridiculously bad situation for 20-year old American troops. It seems to me that Bushie will not be happy until every American soldier comes back in a flag-draped coffin, or without a limb or two. or having committed atrocities such that they will have to face criminal charges and jail time.
Why are people surprised that some Marines and soldiers do not have the respect for life and innocent civilians? The Commander-in-Chief doesn't because if he did he would actually put in a plan that could actually lead to success.
We have FUBAR'd Iraq thanks to THE DECIDER. And in the process we have shattered the lives of thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.