One of the things for which the Iraqis were condemned as barbaric, in the leadup to Gulf War I, was the shooting of animals at Kuwait's zoo.
Our soldiers are capable of being just as brutal and uncivilized as anyone else's. (Ask the Vietnamese. Heck, ask some of our own vets!)
One of the few things I agree with the neo-cons on is that we don't need a particularly large fighting force these days. Our technological and training edge, as far as the part of a war where we kill people, is so vast that numbers really aren't all that big a deal. However, the neo-cons have totally failed to comprehend the difference between war and post-war situations.
We need a nation-building corps, a permanent, standing body of peacekeepers, administered jointly with the UN. This corps would be higher-paid (because it will require people who are more educated) and better-trained in diplomacy, local languages, etc, as well as having training in both the kind of fighting our current military uses, and less lethal techniques.
Has anyone on the national stage had the courage to propose this idea, clearly?