Butterflies. So what? And you expect mass murderers to target prostitutes. You do NOT expect them to target families and children. The fact that they sometimes do never stops people from being shocked. You expect soldiers in a foreign country to target other soldiers. You might even expect them to target each other.
Maybe you can empathize with brainwashed racist soldiers, but I find it a lot easier to empathize with terrified, unspeakably traumatized children raped and murdered by fucking Nazis. Sorry, I meant Americans. Empathize with the goddamn soldiers… do you have any idea how bad that sounds? There's no justification for it and there's no understanding required. These merely are war crimes.
I find it offensive that ordinary people have more empathy for criminals and small animals than they do for children and families. Maybe it's just too complex and horrible for people to process completely, or maybe it's become too commonplace. If the death of a little puppy is the only thing you haven't been desensitized to, maybe we need to see the military massacre a pet store. It still wouldn't be nearly as horrible to me as the story about a little girl. At least those soldiers didn't rape the puppy or burn its fresh, not-entirely-deceased remains with kerosine. At least the puppy didn't feel the terror of watching its family slaughtered. The puppy only died. There are worse fates than death, and I'm all for animal rights, but have some fucking standards for your fellow humans. Especially children.
If we're just talking about senseless murder, the eight-year-old strikes me as a lot worse than a dog or a hundred prostitutes or butterflies or whatever. I sorta get where you're coming from, and I know what "empathy" is. I just think you're wasting it on the wrong people.