War is hell. It's violent, brutal and very very messy. It should be treated that way. The limitations we place upon it is solely because we, as the nations, can do so. Those we fight, especially those who are from movements and ideas like Al'Queda) are a LOT harder to fight than a nation. With enemy nations, you can have rules of war, exchange of prisoners and such.
You cannot have that with an ideology. They NEVER ever follow any 'civilized' rules. All wars are normally fought with the tactics of the enemy. If we do not adopt some of their tactics, we lose. This is one place having a media has hurt the ability to make and fight a war. Seeing the images of death and destruction sickens many people because they are seeing the brutal and violent face of war for the first time in the comforts of their homes. If that stops people from wanting to fight, it puts us at a severe disadvantage since the enemy has no problem causing such death and will attempt to capitalize on it to weaken the will of the enemy public.
The hiding amongst civilians, human shields and such. It works against the US public. Some among us whine and moan because civilians were killed and say we shouldn't be fighting and killng innocents. To those people (through out the world) I say 'Grow up" We minimize as many casualites as we can. That is ALL we can do, but there will be casualties. Unless we give up and refuse to fight for fear of killing innocent civilians. In which case we might as well slit out own throat.
Another part of the problem is that we might punish the individual, but the body of his movement and supporters will take it personally. Which does make it difficult to deal with them. I would not have minded if they'd treated his corpse like they have ours, but they will be unable to separate the individual punishment from themselves. As it's happening now. Promises of revenge are already being shouted.
I've always found it ironic that we have rules and laws governing how we can kill people during a War. 'XX round is too big, so we can only use X round, to kill people'. Its just seems a little...moronic? If the object is to kill the other side, I am not quire sure how limiting the size of the round you are using accomplishes that. Dead is dead isn't it?
The problem with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that its not a traditional war. There aren't two sides lining up, fighting each other. The US Military is clearly marked, but the enemy is not. They look like Civilians and hide amongst the Civilians. They know they are vastly overpowered by the US, so to limit their own losses they use the Civilians as a Shield. That is why so many Civilians are being killed. Its very hard, in the heat of the moment, to identify a target when everyone looks the same - aka no uniform.
Or cases where the Military does exist, but their HQ is in the basement of a Hospital...if you want to take the HQ out, you have to take the Hospital out as well. Civilian Shields again. Warfare is evolving...much like the difference between WWI (Static Defense, Trench Warfare) to WWII (Mobile Warfare, Air Power, greater distances). Success depends on how well one adapts to this Warfare.
The US is relatively doing a good job. As Osamas death indicates, precision strikes are the way to go about it. No US Casualties, Target Identified and Eliminated, minimal collateral damage. Quick, surgical strikes are the best way to fight against an Insurgency that masks itself as Civilians.