At the end of the Vietnam War the US Army stood abashed and dismayed, destroyed as a fighting force by their reckless adventurism, the ranks filled with soldiers who would as soon shoot their officers as the enemy.
The soldiers took the brunt of the criticism, but the higher up you went, the less discipline was displayed. Lieutenants rotated through for career reasons, coming and going so quickly that only the non-coms actually knew how to fight, colonels and majors jockeyed for perfect records in jobs that might lead to generalship, and the generals cooked the books, lied to the Congress and the public, and subsequently insisted that this stinking mess of corruption would have "won" if they hadn't been "stabbed in the back" by the American public and their strategic commander, Richard Nixon. In reality there was no reason to be there- we left, and no dominoes fell.
Today, new cooks are re-concocting this toxic stew, with a piquant added fillip, George Bush firing any general who disagrees with him, while he solemnly swears he's just "listening to the generals". The enlisted ranks are filled with rapists- over a quarter of our women in uniform report being assaulted by a fellow soldier- and the officers are engaged in an equally insubordinate assault on the American tradition of civilian control of the military. To be blunt, the officers are afraid to discipline criminals in their ranks- it might jeopardize their careers.
This isn't an army, it's a loose collection of criminal gangs who will not deserve our respect until discipline is re-established. Sympathize with their victims, the 60,000 soldiers who have returned home as casualties, but when the crisply uniformed soldier appears, hold your applause- they're probably lying to you. They've earned our contempt by repeated crimes and, like any criminal, need to rehabilitate themselves to earn our respect. It's just that simple.