In the 1800s, officers tried to reat soldiers as severly as they treated underclassmen at West Point. That worked well in creating stellar officers who deeply cared about "God, Honor, and Country," but as we have always had "citizen soldiers" who came forward to leave civilian life behind to help with the military mission at hand, this was changed in the twentieth century to a more moderate treatment that took the citizen rights of soldiers more into consideration.
I was often told that the strenght of our soldiers who dared ask questions and sometimes bickered and complained was that they could be counted on taking charge if superiors were killed and they were called on to make sure they and their fellows accomplished the mission.
I'm sure this was more transitory and situational then indicative of a wholesale breakdown of unit cohesion and a lack of respct for the chain of command.
They should have their 'Richards' slapped. And if they did this again, then whether or not more stringent measures were implimented could be revisited.
I have faith that these are basically good men who care about their job. And I would fel better if they were given the oppertunity to prove this.
Creating deep fears of reprisal is no real way to run any army.
Fear of reprisal is better than losing control of "good order and discipline". It's hard for civilians comprehend the sacrifice in terms of rules and rights that military men willingly accept as second nature.
A good soldier (or sailor, airman, or Marine) respects the chain-of-command, and that includes the Secretary of Defense and President. In fact, I cheated a bit during the Clinton years and went to an "inactive duty" status to get away from the corruption he brought to the military. Probably blue a 15 year career, but I couldn't stomach the gay Asst. Secy's of Defense & Navy I had to deal with. I nearly upchucked after every indoctrination meeting.