Also, the Marines are good guys in their annual Toys for Tots campaign (I avoid mentioning the holy day they insult with this). For Iraqi kids, they have high-speed bullets that actually tear entire small bodies to shreds, exploding the little figures as President Bush once did to frogs. By an incredibly sick turn, they then give dolls to American children.

Of course, U.S. Rep. John Murtha -- a Democrat war hawk who sent the Marines to the killing ground of Iraq and who fawns over people like Marine commandant Peter Pace, his special confidant -- says the troops were put under tremendous stress, but that they "murder" if they kill civilians with premeditation. However, in America, stress is practically unheard of as a murder defense for using assault rifles on children.

The likes of Rush Limbaugh and Fox News make Murtha, military hawk that he is, the issue. He is going too far, they say, in calling Marines murderers. They haven't been charged yet, though Marine commandant Pace has magnanimously admitted to Murtha that his troops did, unfortunately, enjoy a little child plinging in Iraq. Some are calling Murtha "the first ex-Marine," surely a classic unintended compliment.

No "bad apples": The core / Corps is rotten.

President Bush, is "troubled" by the Marine hate-crime murders in Haditha. (Well, at least he is no Polonius.) He notes that these 24 killings are not up to the Marines' usual "high standards" of killing, which usually are restricted to Iraqi patriots defending their own soil and, as it turns out, their "tots." The killings are not up to the "high standards" of killing unarmed civialians who approach too close to a convoy or too fast toward a checkpoint, or combatants who have been taken down and are writhing in pain -- whom Marines finish off with machinegun bursts as other Marines cheer. The Marines joined The Proud for a college education they couldn't ever afford, not to take any risks to spare civilians. So they always shoot first, ask questions never (Marine OFFICERS covered this story up until Time Magazine recently exposed it in print), and take less risk than US ground forces ever have in war.

10,000 HADITHAS

Official estimates from various sources place the loss of civilian life in Iraq at 40,000 to 100,000 -- "collateral damage," the Marines, Army, Air Force (my former branch), and Navy call these. Human beings, formerly living, I call them. Even the lower figure represents over ten thousand Hadithas.

Of course, one must not forget Fallujah, a city the size of Cincinnati, essentially destroyed by the Marines as Lidice in Czechoslovakia was by the Nazi army, along with thousands of its people -- after the armed men, who could have defended the women and children, had left. They just "didn't get it" (the point of US military intimidation), as one US general put it.

THE REMEDIES

DISBAND

One remedy is to disband the US Marine Corps, to add an "e" to its name. Obviously it is not even worthy of the name "military force" any more, since good order and military discipline have completely broken down. It has become sort of an Expeditionary Force of the Ku Klux Klan, a successor to Hitler's SS. There never was any reason for the Marines to exist in the first place, since their functions duplicate some that are necessarily part of the US Army (which of course has had its share of atrocities against civilians in Iraq, Vietnam, and even in the United States, in the Indian wars).

No "bad apples": The core / Corps is rotten.

Every time US forces commit an atrocity, we are told that it was actions on the part of "a few bad apples." Actually a large part of the problem with the Marines is their tradition as The Elite of sanctioned killers. They are dehumanized by their basic training, more than perhaps any other military force in the world. We do not expect armies to be debating societies. We know what armies are chartered and designed to do -- to kill people and occupy land. We know that America needs military forces in order to survive. However, the Marines, like the German Nazi SS, however, are different. They are trained to kill reflexively, with almost no concern for civilian life and property. They kill civilians close up and personal, in cold blood, often merely to intimidate. Rep. Murtha should not be surprised at this, as a former Marine. This is an inseparable part of the Marine culture, which basically makes the Marines hopeless. They should be disbanded, and outlawed like any terrorist organization.

IMPRISON OFFICERS TOO

The training and culture are no excuse for the Haditha massacre, of course. At least seven Marines apparently might be charged with capital murder. If convicted, they should be executed. So much for the triggermen.

The officers over the triggermen have another level of culpability, possibly not rising to the level of capital punishment. However, if they are responsible for the missions of their men, they are responsible for atrocities by their men. This time, for a change, some officers above the lieutenant level need to take the fall, too, along with the enlisted murderers, and do some serious time in prison.

As for Marine Corps Commandant Peter Pace, ratting his men to John Murtha is not enough to absolve him of responsibility for Haditha. Pace should be relieved of command, retired from the payroll of the US government, and not replaced. There should be no Marine Corps commandant.

TAKE AWAY THE "WELFARE HUMVEES"

One would expect every nation on earth to be buying or building nuclear weapons and delivery missiles, if they want to keep the Marines and US Army out. As North Korea has demonstrated, even a suspected nuclear capability is enough to prevent a US Blitzkrieg.

However, there is a more realistic approach for nations wanting to throw a wrench into the gears of the US "Wehrmacht" (German for "war machine"). That is for oil-producing countries to begin accepting payment for oil sales in euros instead of dollars, and for major creditor nations like Japan and China to stop buying US Treasuries and Dump the Dollar.

Do you remember reading in history about War Bond drives to sell US government bonds to finance World War II? It makes no sense for Iran, Venezuela, China and other possible targets of US military and CIA aggression to finance their own destruction. Those Abrams tanks and Humvees are Welfare Abrams and Welfare Humvees. The world can take the US military-industrial complex off welfare by dumping the dollar. George Bush's Wehrmacht will grind to a halt as another one did when the Allies cut off Hitler's oil supply.

Iran, especially, needs to avoid giving the Bush Administration and Israel a pretext for attack (they may concoct one anyway). Inflammatory statements by Iranian officials about nuclear weapons and wiping Israel off the map should be replaced by diplomacy and by economic measures that obviously will work and will not justify military action. Patience, Iran, patience.

When the Bush administrations exits, and assuming that Hillary Clinton (war hawk) does not succeed Bush, the foreign investment in US Treasuries might make sense again, if the Bush administration has not placed it -- and us -- at risk of hyperinflation.

THE REAL THREATS

The only immediate real, huge threats to the United States are:

--Not foreign terrorists. Some Americans are so fearful of this they approve just about any action supposed to counter it -- as long as some other Americans have to do the fighting. It is easier to display yellow ribbons than to wear military ones. Our Army, as least persons of good will in it, are among the biggest victims of US military adventurism. A president can do no worse than President Bush has done to our armed forces.

--The destruction of the US economy by the twin deficits the demagogues have used to stimulate the economy, in turn, to finance the war machine.

--The threat of the overthrow of the US Constitution by George Bush, who has referred to the Constitution as "just a piece of paper" (a threat not as far-fetched as we once thought, as we see the executive branch having the FBI invade a Congressman's office and seize documents -- unprecedented).

--Another huge threat is terrorist attacks by representatives of victim cultures that to non-Americans around the world seem justified, and conceivably some that our 100,000 members of the Intelligence Community might somehow allow to slip by. The so-called war on terror actually encourages terrorism by foreigners.

--A law-of-the-jungle world armed with nuclear ICBMs instead of tooth and claw, justified on a country-by-country basis by the threat of US aggression.

The US military, necessary as it is (except for the Marines and the CIA's and DIA's covert-action people), is useless to protect us from ourselves as we elect leaders like the ones we have now -- Democrats and Republicans, not one of whom has effectively and sacrificially opposed converting the US into an aggressor nation. I urge all Americans to think for themselves instead of having the happy-talking newsmen and Beltway pundits on TV do it, and to "ask what they can do for their country" besides blindly supporting bellicosity.