Go read some columns on David Hackworth's web page. http://www.sftt.org/hackstarget.html Hackworth - "the most decorated" military man in US History - is an outspoken critic with bipartisan credibility. (He was scathing about details of the Balkans intervention, while grudgingly admitting that it went pretty well, overall, under difficult conditions.) (See: http://www.davidbrin.com/neocons.html)
Hackworth quotes DoD Sec. Rumsfeld saying that draftees who fought in Vietnam were of "no value to the US military." At least as egregious an insult to Vietnam-era vets as any criticism John Kerry leveled in the 1970s, and far less accurate.
Unlike many liberals opposing the Iraq War, I believe that events like Abu Ghraib are exceptions to a generally high level of professionalism among our soldiers. What Abu Ghraib proved is that two things are absolutely necessary. Imperatives that fell apart in Vietnam and that are being deliberately undermined by Rumsfeld today.
* Policy at the top that insists on behavior that reflects well upon America and proves our high moral standing.
* Relentless supervision to ensure that bad apples do not spoil the barrel.
While Rumsfeld is dismantling both of these, I believe that senior officers desperately want them.
No, the US Officer Corps must be seen for what it is... our greatest and final bulwark against rationalizers and would-be tyrants. Following traditions of maturity and excellence laid down by the great George Marshall, the Officer Corps is the third best-educated clade in American society, after college professors and medical doctors! Their dedication to Constitutional government and citizen sovereignty is fierce and under-appreciated by most civilians. A majority would die protecting us from tyranny, either imposed from without or creeping Big Brotherdom from within.
Which helps explain the appointment of new CIA Director Goss, a right-wing political operative who had the gall to tell a passive, GOP-led Senate that he would be neutral and bipartisan upon taking over our Intelligence Community... and who then proceeded to fill dozens of top CIA slots with dedicated neoconservative shills. Several of whom have been heard in the halls gloating that "a hundred heads will roll" at CIA after the election.
The blatant politicization of the CIA began with the scandalous way that intelligence was misused to stir a frenzy over "weapons of mass destruction", exactly replicating the kind of lying pretext we saw in the Tonkin Gulf Incident. It now continues according to plan. First a complete housecleaning at the top, plus an "emergency" reorganization of the intelligence community that subjugates the Pentagon and removes any diversity of opinion. Next, purges of those who will not toe the political line. Then everyone who is sick of the lying. Then more.
Read Hackworth. He is a famous American curmudgeon and a bit of a drama queen. But he is also a bona fide American hero and has proved to be RIGHT, far more often than anybody can count.
And he can recognize a repetition of Vietnam stupidities better than anybody.