We stand at an ethical threshold.
The ethical choices and challenges that have faced U.S. forces for the last four years are unlike anything we have confronted in at least a century. If our officer corps fails to prevent a hardening of the hearts of our strategic corporals, we as a military and a nation risk losing the moral imperative from which true U.S. power stems. This source of U.S. power is hope, hope that all of the tiresome prejudices of the Old World, indeed the rest of the world, can be forgotten, and embraced in competitive toleration in a multicultural society.
The allegations, events, facts, and falsehoods that have been reported from Bagram to Baghdad, Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo Bay, all have one strategic factor in common: regardless of the truth, they seriously erode the image of the United States, and the cumulative effects degrade the ability of U.S. forces to accomplish their broader cultural mission in the war on terror.