Matters have come to a head. Iraqi souls, whether killed by Americans or non-Americans, are now worth nothing. As a result of the reckless salvos of these "friendly" forces, Iraqis are being killed in droves.

When these "friendly" forces landed in our midst, their declared purpose was to introduce democracy and establish a state of law in our country, in which there would be no room for oppression, summary arrests or mass killings.

But in the years since the 2003 invasion, we have seen very little of their democracy and very much of their oppression. Only God knows what's in store for us in the days ahead.

Conditions as they stand today are horrific. Iraqis can be arrested or killed for no reason, their houses demolished on mere suspicion. And you can imagine the horror that accompanies a situation like this.

Today, U.S. Marines have the right to abuse Iraqis without contrition or fear of punishment. What is generally referred to as "human conscience" has no place in the Marines' dictionary.

U.S. marines have nothing to worry about, no matter what they do in the country. They are immune from prosecution in Iraq and their leaders provide them with the necessary cover to justify the atrocities, crimes and errors they commit against the Iraqi people.

The way the Pentagon has treated revelations of U.S. marine atrocities in Iraq can be likened to the carefully orchestrated chapters of a play.

First, U.S. spokesmen express sorrow and extend their condolences to the victims and their families. They order "fair and independent" investigations and vow that the U.S. military courts will punish the perpetrators if found guilty.

Second, the investigations for the most part take the side of the Marines, despite confirmed reports of abuses, torture and killing, as what happened at Abu Ghraib and at Haditha. And if there is any punishment, it is extremely lenient and touches only the very low-ranking Marines who have no say in the operations.

Third, the Pentagon denies that its troops have committed any wrongdoing, despite eyewitness accounts. It justifies the atrocities by the fact that the Marines were following the "rules of engagement." And it doesn't matter if women and children are killed, so long as you follow the Pentagon's rules.

The U.S. Marines Corps is said to be an elite force of which the Pentagon is extremely proud. They are supposed to be highly accurate and efficient when using their guns and performing their duties, as Hollywood's movie industry shows. Or at least that's what their commanders would like us to believe.

It is tragic to see the Pentagon issuing orders to have its troops educated in morality and good behavior in dealing with Iraqis.

Is this decision not overdue? More than three years after the "liberation" of Iraq – which for many has become the "extermination" of Iraq, the Pentagon discovers that its troops need to undergo "ethical training."