I believe we have to be careful not to make too great a distinction between "atrocities" and "acceptable" acts of war. The only way to stop the mass killing of children and women is to stop the war. As long as Americans continue to maintain large troop levels in Iraq, the slaughtering of civilians will continue.
On a daily basis, American air force or army pilots bomb civilian targets and whether they intentionally or unintentionally create "collateral damage," guerilla wars are fought in and among civilian population areas such as Falluja, Ramadi, Baghdad, Tikrit etc.
I believe the Iraq War in and of itself is unacceptable and is an atrocity. It is not enough to merely publicise blatant acts of cruelty as if the rules of engagement in which ground forces "sweep" through "suspected" insurgent areas is not raining death and destruction on Iraq civilians. What we are doing on a daily basis is creating horror, fear and anxiety for Muslim peoples. American soldiers cannot protect civilians because they either cannot differentiate between them and insurgents, or they simply shoot indiscriminately whenever they are under fire. They break into homes all the time. They shoot at cars at the slightest pretext with abandon. They bomb, strafe, target urban areas to root out the insurgents.
What makes the constant murdering of Iraqi innocents even more criminal, is there is no point to it. The insurgency cannot be defeated militarily. Every civilian and American death is pointless. "Victory" is beyond reach. The Bush administration knows this and the Pentagon knows this. Yet the compulsive nature of American violence and imperialism is predicated on the notion of fear. If America continues to engage in military action, it will show the world we are fearless warriors. It wil enhance our capacity to sustain a hegemonic role in global politics. Iraq is lost. The brutal invasion and continued fighting there is a gratuitous exercise in brinkspersonship. The daily carnage is known to be without military advantage or purpose. So why are we there? It is not to win militarily; that is impossible. It is in part a "what do we have to lose" mentality on the part of the Bush administration. We can't look weak. We can't appear to be susceptible to defeat on the battlefield. We must carve out geostrategic influence in the region.
What kind of country would wage an immoral war without justification, use immoral tactics during war, continue fighting even though victory is utterly and totally beyond reach, persecute many Americans who protest this war and lie through coverups and repeated campaigns of disinformation? This country is the perpetrator of these horrid deeds and must be held accountable for such egregious and wanton state terrorism. There is a moral equation between the tactics of al-Zarqawi and the Bush adminsitration. If we do not allow ourselves to engage in honest reflection on our behaviour as we arrogantly attempt to distance ourselves from the "terrorists," we will abandon the possiblity of constructive self-reflection which is essential for healing and correcting the sins of this nation.