In an interesting twist on the alleged Haditha abuses it is being reported that both the military video of the events that day and the CNN version broadcast on national TV were doctored and spliced to mislead observers as to what really happened. Nevertheless, so far it appears that the marines' statements have been compelling enough to convince a military court that they acted appropriately under the circumstances.
It's tough call to make from another part of the world. Statements by marines that "civilians" acted in a manner to suggest they were detonating a bomb, and that insurgents held women and children hostage to prevent shelling of their hideout are reminiscent of the stories my dad used to tell of young children forced by North Korean communists to carry to U.S. soldiers bombs hidden in baskets of food. In those cases, it was kill the child or allow an entire platoon to die—not a pleasant position to be in. Even if circumstances had been such to allow a lengthy period of time to debate the decision (which wasn't the case), it wouldn't have been any easier to make. My dad was never tried for killing such civilians—he paid a price far worse that he carried with him the rest of his life. Although most of us would say he did what he had to, it didn't make it any less painful for him.
Nobody wants to see civilians killed, and nobody wants to see inappropriate actions on the part of U.S. troops. But nobody wants to be in their shoes making the same decisions under the same circumstances, either.
Shame on CNN for exploiting the marines involved for tabloid sensationalization. That should be a crime of defamation not tolerated by the general public.